Tweet Tweet! Twitter Turns Nine

Tweet Tweet! Twitter Turns Nine

Tweet, tweet! Twitter turns nine today, March 21, 2015.

Twitter has connected people during times of war, elections, and tragedy, as well as, entertained us and bridged the divide among businesses, charities and the general public.

By far it’s inBLOOM’s favorite social networking tool and has produced real results for us from securing sponsorships to attracting the media.

It’s a huge platform for creating awareness for personal brands, organizations and businesses. Hashtags like #SocialGood, #CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), Nike’s #makeitcount, and #tweetchat have brought millions together and sold billions in products and services.

Read here for the history of Hashtags.

To celebrate the big occasion, here are some of inBLOOM’s top Twitter posts:

4 Reasons You Should Be Tweeting

10 Tips to Organically Grow on Twitter

Attract Publicity with the Right Strategy on Social Media

How the Media Uses Twitter and Tips for Tweeting Them

Gabriel Stricker, Twitter’s Chief Communications Officer, shares a look back at some of the landmark moments followers have created – moments that have defined our history, and perhaps yours. Read it here.

Listen to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo on StoryCorps as they share memories of their first meeting 9 years ago.

Happy Birthday Twitter! Enjoy your time on the platform and let’s follow one another at @inBLOOMbuzz.

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Charitable Marketing: Which Charities Make Good Partners?

Charitable Marketing: Which Charities Make Good Partners?

Most businesses, both large and small, want to generate the most profit possible. But in order to gain, sometimes you have to give. Partnering with a charity or non-profit organization is a smart marketing strategy to grow your business. Even if your marketing campaign involves donating a portion of sales to the partner charity, your business will surely benefit.

Charitable marketing not only builds goodwill for your business and establishes positive associations for your brand, it’s also a great way to gain exposure for your business. By leveraging the audience and trading on the recognition of the charity, you’ll broaden your reach. You’ll also increase traffic to your website and place of business as your promote the charitable activities on social media, and through email marketing and press releases.

When people know certain businesses share their values and support a cause that means something to them, they will often choose to support those companies. According to the 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study, 89% of U.S. consumers are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.

Some people will even pay more for products and services that support a cause they care about. According to the Nielsen 2013 Consumers Who Care Study, 50% of global consumers said they would be willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services (44% in the U.S. and 38% in Canada).

Lifestyle brand Alex and Ani has established a great charitable campaign, Charity By Design, to sell charm bangles supporting different causes. They work with non-profit organizations on an international, national, and local level to support causes by building brand awareness. Charity By Design supports philanthropy in many ways, from donations and in-store events to the creation of symbolic, creative designs. On their website you can either shop by charity or bracelet. Twenty percent of each charm bangle’s purchase price goes directly to whatever charity it’s associated with.

After four years of giving back through Charity By Design, Alex and Ani has donated 20 million dollars to the thousands of charities. The considerable amount of money they’ve been able to raise proves just how much people care about giving to the charities they care about.

Now that we’ve encouraged you to partner with a charity that supports a meaningful cause, how do you know which one would make good partner? From a business standpoint, here are five qualities good partner charities possess:


Similar to a marriage or friendship, if your business and your partner charity don’t value each other’s work, then the relationship just isn’t right. It’s important that your business supports the charity’s mission, and also that the charity cares about your product/services and employees.

Our client Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts and the non-profit United States War Dogs Association have an outstanding partnership because they both value each other’s work tremendously. Purr’n Pooch chose to partner with this organization because they support their mission to educate the public on the history of military war dogs, honor the memory of those who sacrificed their lives, and assist the military dogs and handlers in need today. The United States War Dogs Association appreciates all the work the business does through the Purr’n Pooch Foundation for Animals.

Throughout the holiday season, Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts collects donations for U.S. Military Working Dog Teams who have been deployed to the Middle East. They also host a volunteer day to write letters to the military dog handlers overseas and prepare packages for shipment. Former and current U.S. military dog handlers join them for the day to give presentations and assist the volunteers. The event is covered by many media and attracts all ages from around New Jersey, bringing attention to both Purr’n Pooch and the United States War Dogs Association.


Trust is key with any kind of partnership. With a partner charity, you want to be able to trust that it is financially stable, meaning that it is able to stay out of debt and fund its current programs. You also want to make sure the organization isn’t hoarding money. A charity that hoards rather than spends the donations it receives is not operating in line with the goals of most donors.

Rather than just taking their word for it, refer to the charity’s IRS tax Form 990 to see financial statements. If you aren’t comfortable reviewing financial statements, there is an alternative way to find out if a charity is in financial trouble. Check the “Independent Auditor’s Report” (IAR) to see if the charity has a “Going Concern” audit. If so, this means the outside accountants who audited the charity believe the organization may not be able to continue its operations for more than one year due to the charity’s debts and other factors.


When your partner charity is involved with the local community or multiple communities, your business will be able to directly reach those community members, broadening your exposure.

inBLOOM works with the non-profit EarthShare New Jersey (ESNJ), which is greatly involved with communities and environmental causes throughout New Jersey. ESNJ supports the work of both statewide and national non-profit organizations as well, and many businesses partner with the charity because they appreciate the organization’s community involvement.


A strong online presence will allow you and your partner charity organization to both further broadcast your relationship. Check to see if they maintain a well-designed website, blog and social media accounts.

Just like with a business, having a good website is extremely important for any non-profit or charitable organization. The organization’s website should be informational, updated frequently and include a portal for online giving that is supported on mobile devices. The organization should also be blogging often.

Social networks provide a central place for charitable organizations to connect with donors and the media. Frequently posting, conversing, maintaining relationships and building new ones on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ are all signs that the organization values lasting connections.


It’s a great sign if you see a lot of news about an organization in newspapers, magazines on the radio and TV because it means they have a good relationship with the media. There are many things a charity might like to inform the media about, including major donations, new projects, and partnerships.

Keeping the media up-to-date with what’s going on is essential to the charity because it can help promote its work, which in turn brings in donations and ultimately allows the charity to continue its mission. Your business will also benefit if the news is about your partnership and goodwill.

If you need advice on whether or not a certain charity would make a good partner for your business, or you need guidance on how to go about searching for a partner charity, feel free to comment on this post or contact us. We’d be glad to help set you on the right track.


Don’t Judge a Not-For-Profit by Its Profits, Charity Watch

Statistics Every Cause Marketer Should Know, Cause Marketing Forum

photo by gfpeck

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4 Reasons Why You Should Be Tweeting

4 Reasons You Should Be Tweeting

Have you ever attended a networking event where you felt the excitement in the air? You eagerly moved around the room making small talk and swapping business cards. You made the most of your time introducing yourself and your services. You hopefully also did a lot of listening.

This process is similar to the excitement I experience daily on Twitter, but without the business attire and handshake.

Following thought leaders, starting or jumping in conversations, listening, sharing knowledge, and taking action are key strategies to successfully networking on Twitter. Like any in-person cocktail party or conference, you can use Twitter to get ahead in your career.

Yes, Twitter can be a powerful and exciting space if you understand its benefits and how to harness its potential. Everyone should carve out time to tweet.

Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year. Surely, a few of these tweets resonate with you and can help you to succeed in business?

In order to tweet with a target, set goals for your time tweeting and have a purpose for spending the 20 minutes to one-hour a day on the social networking site. At a cocktail party, you wouldn’t watch from afar as people communicated, so don’t waste your precious time on Twitter pushing out content without purpose or watching from the sidelines.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before getting started.

Do you have a story or recent news to share? Then you’ll want to focus your efforts on getting to know the media on Twitter and connecting with them. Read our blog for more on this topic.

Maybe you’re looking to connect with like-minded experts in your industry and learn how to position your business or organization? Twitter is a great resource for research.

Or maybe you want to grow revenue via Twitter. Yes, it can be done. You need to be strategic when tweeting like any marketing campaign. Attract others with professional content in the form of blogs, infographics, pictures, special offers and contests. People relate to a good story, creativity and an approach that resonate on personal and emotional levels, not hard sales tactics. Same goes for your approach in person or on social media.

No matter how you use the tool, connect with people who add value to your life and help you to further your professional or personal goals.

Here are four reasons you should be tweeting.


Twitter is a great place to stay on top of relevant news and trends in your industry. Follow thought leaders, trade publications, groups, reporters, editors and news sites for updates that can help you gain a sense of your relevance in the world. You won’t know what you have to offer others until you know their wants and needs.


Social media marketing and SEO are two tightly integrated strategies for increasing your search rankings. Both are organic, inbound strategies that focus on building an appealing identity that naturally attract visitors. Since social media relies on high-quality content and a visible, strong brand presence, the efforts you spend on SEO can improve your social media reach.

The total number of followers and connections your social media profiles contain does have a significant influence on your rankings. A company with 100 Twitter followers won’t receive nearly the ranking bonus of a mega-corporation with a million Facebook likes and a million Twitter followers.

Don’t despair if you have a low number of followers on Twitter though because by participating in the conversation on the site and using it as a networking and sales tool are more important. Concentrate less on numbers and communicate more with your Twitter followers.


According to ING’s 2014 Social Media Impact survey, 57% of journalists consider social media to be ideal for contacting PR professionals and vice versa. Use Twitter to build relationships with journalists and bloggers to gain a better understanding of what they write about, when they need resources, and how they prefer to work with you.

According to a 2014 report from the Indiana University School of Journalism, 40% of journalists said social media networks are very important to their work. Twitter was the most popular type of social media used by journalists, and over half of those surveyed said they regularly use the platform for gathering information and reporting stories.


Although you shouldn’t excessively tweet about yourself, Twitter is a great tool to promote your blog content, news, videos and events every so often. When you tweet about yourself or your business, do it in a way that entertains and educates. If it’s your latest blog post, avoid saying things like “Check out my latest blog post about……” or “My business is hosting this great event next week – you should check it out.” Let them know what you’re tweeting about and how it will benefit them, then link to your post or event.

Overall, your tweets should include a healthy mix of self-promotion, conversation, information sharing, etc. Make all your Twitter updates interesting and useful. Share links to articles and blog posts you enjoy. Retweet interesting updates. Join conversations and answer questions. Twitter success is rooted in conversations and reciprocal relationships.

If you need help managing your Twitter account, advice on what you should be tweeting or tips for building relationships on social networks, feel free to comment on this post. Connect with inBLOOM on Twitter @inBLOOMbuzz.


6 Social Media Practices That Boost SEO, Forbes

Twitter Usage Statistics, Internet Live Stats

photo by Viktor Hanacek 

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TEDx Inspires 3 Lessons in Self-Promotion 

TEDx Inspires 3 Lessons in Self-Promotion

Looking to jump-start your career? Attend or organize a TEDx event in your community.

Started 26 years ago as a conference in California, TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It has grown to support world-changing ideas with many initiatives. At a TED conference, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. Three major TED events are held each year: in Los Angeles, California; in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada; and in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Today, TED’s TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual events are self-organized. At these events, live speakers combined with TEDTalks video spark deep discussion and connection.

Since 2013, community members from across Monmouth County, N.J. have come together to organize the TEDxNavesink conference. Each year, a different theme is chosen to build the day of non-fiction theater. In 2015, speakers and attendees will explore how accelerators are shaping our emerging and upcoming future. TEDxNavesink: Accelerators will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.

For the past three years, inBLOOM has assisted TEDxNavesink with its public relations and co-marketing efforts. We love everything involved with promoting a TEDx event – the passionate conversations on and offline, meeting new and exciting entrepreneurs, sharing talk topics with media, and co-marketing with local organizations and thought leaders. Most importantly, it’s an energized event that motivates entrepreneurs and innovators of all ages to jump start their careers.

Here are inBLOOM’s three TEDx inspired lessons in self-promotion to inspire you to attend the conference of ideas worth spreading:


TEDx presents a wonderful opportunity to leverage the social networks of others in order to bring awareness to your personal brand. Take a look through the speakers list and do some digging to see which people are social influencers and part of large networks. Get on Twitter and follow the speakers. Tweet before and during the event, mention speakers and use hashtags to initiate conversation with a broader audience.

Read our tips for tweeting.


Something you must know before getting involved with a TEDx event is that it’s not a typical conference. It’s a known fact that every speaker giving a TED Talk gives the talk of their life, which is why the audience always has high expectations. Not everyone can captivate an audience; it’s a skill that takes time to develop. However, there are ways to instantly improve your speaking and presentation skills, which you will learn by watching the TEDx Talks.

TED and TEDx speakers make a good impression through body language –something extremely important during any presentation. The way you stand, move on the stage and interact with the audience are all factors that determine whether or not you will give a successful talk.  Even your level of mental alertness and preparedness are key to keeping the audience’s interest.

Not only are TED speakers in tune with their body language, they also wear their heart on their sleeve. There’s no need to worry about listening to an emotionless monotone voice – the speakers let their emotions show. By doing this, they create a meaningful and lasting connection with the audience.


One of the most rewarding things you get out of participating in a TEDx event are the connections you make with everyone involved: organizers, volunteers, speakers, and sponsors. Make time to establish relationships by conversing and connecting both on and offline.

Many of the people involved in TEDx events consistently blog, host podcasts, and communicate on social media. Stay in touch on social channels and comment and share their content regularly. This is an excellent way to stay top-of-mind and can open doors for potential work and collaborations. Most importantly, meet up every few months for coffee and conversation. These in-person meetings hold much value in a hurried, digital world.

 TEDx Inspires 3 Lessons in Self-Promotion

Make sure to reserve your spot at 2015 TEDxNavesink: Accelerators. Learn more about TEDxNavesink and purchase tickets here.

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8 Reasons To Work On Your Relationship with SEO

8 Reasons To Work On Your Relationship with SEO

Like an old boyfriend’s name, the term SEO pops up in conversation here and there. But unlike the old boyfriend, deep down you know you need to work on your relationship with SEO in order to improve your online ranking and reputation.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way of indexing content on Internet search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! SEO continues to play the starring role in any website development and content marketing plan.

When I meet with business owners, they often ask, “How can I improve my website ranking?” or “How can my business show up when people search the Web?” The answers to these questions have changed over the years as SEO experts have responded to the ways search engines value content and rank website authority.

Today, marketers and writers can access much of the same data used by SEO experts to create content that is loved by search engines and the people using them. Businesses can take control of their SEO with organic and paid marketing campaigns that include content marketing (blogs, podcasting, videos), Google analytics, and social media.

For years, web development companies have promised their clients better Google ranking with SEO tricks and schemes, but now the search engines have made it clear quality counts, not technology workarounds. Instead, marketers, writers, and publicists are drawing visitors to sites with consistent, optimized content, daily social media engagement, and inbound links from cross-marketing relationships, social influencers, and media coverage.

But please don’t disregard many of the helpful tools and resources available online, many for free, from SEO experts and software companies. We aren’t against a little help from the tech gurus. Together, the SEO community, marketers and publicists are helping their clients to share the most valuable and relevant content to attract site visitors and better rank results.

Here are a few of inBLOOM’s favorite SEO resources and tools:

Yoast WordPress SEO plugin

Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is the most complete SEO plugin available for WordPress. It offers everything you need to optimize your site. You can easily optimize your site’s titles and descriptions for Google and learn how to write better content with the built-in content analysis function.

Google Analytics

The SEO reports in Analytics provide Google Web Search performance data about the website that you have set up using Webmaster Tools. You can use this data to identify opportunities and prioritize efforts to increase the amount of traffic to your site. The Search Engine Optimization reports in Analytics use four metrics specific to Google Web Search data: impressions, clicks, average position and CTR (clickthrough rate).


Through this keyword tool and keyword software, you can perform advanced keyword research and keyword tracking to study what your competitors have been advertising in their adwords campaigns and other PPC campaigns. You can now get complete in-depth analysis, stats, budget, affiliates and ad copies of your competitors.

If you’re still finding it hard to fall in love with SEO, here are eight reasons why you need to work on the relationship:

  1. Businesses that focus on SEO without having a strong content plan in place will fail and will need to shift their focus to the creation and distribution of high-quality content in order to achieve significant search engine visibility.
  2. Search rankings will increasingly become more about building relationships and less about technical strategies. Businesses realize that focusing on merely creating content and optimizing its technical components for SEO just aren’t enough to achieve their goals. Businesses that humanize their brand are the ones who are standing out.
  3. High search rankings linked to blogger outreach campaigns, building relationships with brand advocates, reaching out to influencers and engaging on social media.
  4. Negative SEO will be a bigger threat than ever. Negative SEO is when dubious people build thousands of spammy links pointed at a competitors’ website with the intent of causing their search rankings to plummet.
  5. Inbound links are the most influential signal of trust and authority. This isn’t going to change — not in 2015 or anytime soon. The days of building links on irrelevant blogs and chasing large quantities of links to game the search results are over. Earning a single link on a high-quality relevant website is valuable for multiple reasons including SEO, attracting referral traffic, leads, sales and branding exposure. Look for traditional PR and SEO to work closer together in 2015.
  6. Studies suggest that the top organic and paid spots in the Google search results get about twice as many clicks as the second spots.
  7. Google Analytics is used by somewhere between 10 million and 25 million websites worldwide, and various surveys suggest over 50 percent of business websites (both large and small) use Google Analytics.
  8. Social media practices that boost SEO include growing your number of followers, encouraging external inbound links, optimizing your posts for searches, influencing social sharing, locally-optimized posts, and increasing brand awareness.

If you would like assistance running marketing and pr campaigns, contact us.


The Top 7 SEO Trends That Will Dominate 2015 by Jayson DeMers, Forbe

20 Google Facts & Stats that Every Marketer Should Know by Andrew Garberson, LunaMetrics

6 Changes Your 2015 SEO Strategy Must Focus On by Jonathan Long, Entrepreneur

photo by Viktor Hanacek 

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4 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Build Relationships

4 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Attract New Clients

If you’re looking to network, you’re most likely to turn to LinkedIn, the number one social media network connecting professionals. Today, LinkedIn users are more engaged than ever; however, it wasn’t always the case. LinkedIn has a come a long way! Remember when you first joined, and it was pretty much just a forum to make your resume visible to employers and your job postings searchable for recruitment? As you’ve grown with LinkedIn, you’ve seen the many great opportunities it’s come to offer.

As an active user, you probably take advantage of these opportunities every day. You’re frequently sharing updates, giving recommendations and endorsements, commenting on posts and networking through messaging. But there’s one opportunity you may be not be utilizing: LinkedIn groups.

Like some LinkedIn users, you might have joined a bunch of LinkedIn groups when you set up your profile and forgot all about them. Maybe you occasionally join one that looks interesting if you see someone else in your network has, but you never bother to check it out more than once. By now, you’ve joined maybe 20+ groups.

You may already know that with LinkedIn groups, your company or organization can keep in touch with members about current events and to discuss issues of common interest. But did you know that they’re also beneficial for boosting your business and attracting new clients? By continuously contributing to group discussions, you will successfully make connections with prospects, both businesses and consumers, while establishing yourself as an expert in your industry and promoting your company.

LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups but there’s no need to join that many. Search and identify groups with members who are experts in your industry, but also ones with prospective clients/customers. We recommend joining a max of 5 groups that fit this criteria.

Before you begin searching for groups, identify your goals. Are you looking to connect with consumers, businesses or colleagues? Is promoting your business what you’re after or is it building relationships?

photo: HubSpot

4 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Build Relationships


In order to find the right groups without doing too much digging, here are a few steps to take.

  • Perform a search in the Groups category based on keywords. If you’re looking for prospects, use the Advanced Search. You can filter by relationship, groups, location and industry.

  • Take note of whether or not the group is active with daily discussions and a minimum of 50 members.

  • When you see a group that interests you, click on it and read through the description. For example, if your business does social media marketing for non-profits, the group Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations may interest you for B2B relationships. This group is for anyone interested in how nonprofit organizations are utilizing social media. Members can post resources, share information and/or ask questions or seek advice.

  • Click on the Members tab and take a look at the Group Profile to see more information about the group and its members.

  • If the group is private, you will need to join and your request will be reviewed by the group manager. If the group is public, you can join without waiting to be accepted.

  • You can also search for groups from LinkedIn’s Groups You May Like page.

So now that you’ve found groups that are right for you, what’s next? It’s time to start connecting with members and get in on group discussions! The last thing you want to do is join a group and just visit from time to time without contributing. Whether connecting with colleagues, consumers or businesses, be an active member – let yourself be seen and heard.

Let’s review four creative ways to join Linkedin group discussions while boosting your business and building relationships (without over promoting or being too pushy).

1. Create and share content relevant to the group

The sole purpose of joining a LinkedIn group is to connect with members, and the best way to do this is by sharing information that will interest them. Maybe the group’s topic is interior design, and you’re a professional interior designer. If you have a blog that you update weekly (we hope you do!), share your latest posts when published. We recommend republishing the content on LinkedIn by writing a new post.

Another way to share your knowledge and establish your brand as an industry leader is to create how-to’s and guides. An easy-to-follow step-by-step guide will surely be helpful to members and show them that they can turn to you for assistance. inBLOOM created a free Checklist for Social Media Newbies with 14 tips that will help you to get started and track your marketing and networking efforts on social media. You must sign up to receive our guide, but you can share yours by publishing on LinkedIn or making it downloadable from your website.

Sharing your own content is an effective way to self-promote in the group without being so in-your-face about it. Rather than posting something like “Hey check out our products and services at this link,” sharing informational content will allow you to self-promote in a way that is natural and organic. This method is found to be much more effective.

Just as you do on your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages, you should also be sharing articles, infographics, etc. from other sources. Whatever articles interest you may also interest the group.

Here a visual artist shares a link to his free design resources for interior designers and decorators in the group ASID (American Society of Interior Designers).

4 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Build Relationships


2. Contribute to group discussions

If you are simply just visiting a group from time to time, maybe posting once in a while but not really commenting or participating in discussions, you’re not going to succeed with boosting your business and building relationships. According to LinkedIn, people who post or engage in group discussions get an average of 4 times as many profile views. And more profile views can lead to an increase in your network and possible inbound leads.

If someone posts a question, give an answer demonstrating your knowledge on the topic. Use your own experiences or resources for reference. Be professional but also friendly and relatable –you don’t want to sound like a know-it-all. Remember, you’re contributing to share your knowledge but also make connections and establish relationships with group members.

Encourage employees to contribute – it will make a bigger impact! When employees actively engage in group discussions, it builds your brand’s reputation. People will see that you’re all passionate about what you do and your company as a whole knows what it’s doing. You’ll also create a larger company presence and build industry awareness.

3. Connect with the group by asking questions

Sharing content and answering questions are fantastic ways to connect with members, but you know what’s even more fun? Asking questions! Of course, the questions you ask should be related to the topic of the group. Post content along with your question to give some insight, then see if it sparks any interest with comments. Even better, share an article or blog post written by you. This will establish your credibility, and also drive traffic to your website.

You don’t necessarily need to accompany your question with content though – I’ve seen great discussions with just a question. For example, a member of the group Social Media Marketing posted the question “Can you describe Social Media Marketing in one word?” and it received 3,605 comments.

You can even ask questions you need answers to or for feedback on something. Either way, you’re sure to get people talking and get yourself noticed. Feel free to jump right in the conversation, too!

Here a social media manager member in the Social Media Marketers group includes a link to her blog post to give insight to the question.

4 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Build Relationships
Here’s an example of an interior designer who simply needs advice. She reached out to the group ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) to get some feedback.

4 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Build Relationships

4. Continuously engage with the group

You don’t necessarily need to constantly keep tabs on your LinkedIn groups each day, but you should be continuously engaging in discussions with content, comments, questions and answers at least 2-3 times per week. If you’re not engaging several times weekly, it will be difficult to keep up with discussions and you’ll lose noticeability. You’ll also miss the chance to develop new business opportunities, as well as create and deepen connections.

Another reason to engage: LinkedIn will award you for your continuous contribution! LinkedIn has established contribution levels, a system that shows members how influential they are in a group. Top Contributors are group members who post the most interesting discussions and comments. On the right side of the group page you’ll see a list of those with this rank. You’ll also see Top Contributor underneath their names and titles when they post content.

Contribution levels are group specific and recalculated every day. To increase your contribution level, start interesting discussions and comment thoughtfully on other group members’ discussions. As people interact more with you, you’ll see your score go up. Your contribution level will go down if you are not active or your posts are promotional or inappropriate for the group.

Maintaining a presence on LinkedIn takes effort and time out of your busy schedule –time that you might not have. Hiring a social media manager could help you take advantage of all the networking opportunities LinkedIn has to offer you and your business. If you need assistance with maintaining your LinkedIn profile or have any questions about joining groups and contributing to discussions, comment on this blog and we’ll be in touch.

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The Future of Social: 9 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015

The Future of Social: 9 Social Media Marketing Trends 2015

It’s 2015 and sadly, many of Back to the Future’s predictions failed to come true. As the Hollywood Reporter mentioned, power shoelaces, Garden Center fruit dispensers, robotic dog walkers, mid-powered video games, food hydrators and size adjusting clothing just never happened. They were way off on the fashion, too! Two things that have come close though are flying cars and hoverboards, thanks to how advanced we’ve come with technology.

This year, we’re going to see more of 3D printers, context-aware security, smart machines, apps you can use simultaneously on multiple devices, smartphone technology advancements and technology embedded everywhere.

Along with these new technologies, expect to see big changes on social media – new features, new algorithms, and new trends. Change can be fun, but also overwhelming! This year you’ll need to change things up and think of new social media marketing strategies.

Although you might not have a DeLorean time machine to see how these new social media features and trends will affect your business, if you stay on top of your social game your business will thrive. Here are our predictions for social media marketing trends you can expect for 2015. Be prepared to get those creative juices flowing – these trends involve authenticity, originality, personality and creativity.

1. Visuals dominate social media 

Video marketing is expected to take off in 2015 in exciting ways that will allow you to be super creative. Regular video segments, like podcasts and blog posts, are expected to come into their own as a form of content. Short behind-the-scenes style videos which give audiences a glimpse at the people who are behind the product or company will also be trending this year.

Video is the preferred communication style for customers. By 2017, it expected that 74% of all internet traffic will be video. So now is the time to start taking text-based information and turning it into a video. Have fun with it and get creative, but also keep your audience in mind. Will they enjoy watching? Or maybe you’re trying to attract a new demographic?

In the past, when we thought of posting a video on the web, we would immediately think to upload it on YouTube and share the link. Now, video posting has moved away from YouTube towards Facebook, Instagram and other social media networks. Statistics show that in 2014, Facebook videos received significantly more shares than YouTube. Check out Buzzfeed’s Facebook Page and enjoy their many short, humorous and relatable videos.

Not only do we see more video on social, but also more photos and graphics. But because visuals are trending like crazy on the web, users expect higher-quality images, resulting in a lot of competition.

Here’s a tip: If you’re taking photos with your phone and posting them on social, make sure they’re not blurry, too dark or unclear – people will be less likely to share your photo if it’s unattractive.  Read our post on free photo usage for blogs and social media for a list of our favorite free photo databases along with guidelines for using them.

If your business is on Instagram, we recommend using Iconosquare. It lets you manage multiple Instagram accounts, browse your most important statistics, search for users and hashtags and monitor competitor and hashtag feeds. Iconsquare is also available on Hootsuite.

The Future of Social: 9 Social Media Marketing Trends 2015

 photo: picjumbo

2. Mobile devices used more than ever to access social networks

For several years now, a majority of internet users have been consuming most information via smartphones and tablets, but this year the percentage is going to increase. In 2015, being plugged in at all times is essential, and the easiest, most effective way is with a mobile device – especially for those with an on the go lifestyle. Not only are mobile devices the go-to for searching the web, checking email and recently for making in-store purchases, they’re also first choice for accessing social networks.

In 2014, 80% of users engaged in social media through a mobile device, and that number is set to hit over 90% by 2018. These statistics mean big adjustments for marketers. We will need to put mobile first in our social media campaigns, which means creating designs intended for mobile devices.

Even social media managers are using mobile devices to update social pages –it makes our job so much easier when we’re on the go! Social media apps are used far more than the mobile friendly versions because they’re user-friendly and convenient.

Speaking of social apps, if you’re having issues with updating your Facebook page, try out Facebook Pages Manager App. If you manage several Facebook Pages, you’ve probably noticed it’s not easy to update your Facebook Page from a smartphone or tablet –the app can be a bit glitchy. The Facebook Pages Manager app helps administrators manage their Facebook Pages from mobile devices a lot easier.

3. More content, less promotion on Facebook

On Facebook, 2015 is the year of authenticity, creativity and wit when it comes to content. No longer can you be too pushy or promotional with call to actions like “click to see more” “enter here” “download now.” As you may know, this month Facebook will begin showing less promotional posts on News Feeds. According to Facebook, these are some of the consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app

  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context

  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Pages publishing great content — content that teaches people something, entertains them, makes them think, or in some other way adds value to their lives — will reach their followers’ News Feeds. Be sure to monitor the reach of your Page posts by checking the bottom of each one to see how many people you’ve reached. You should also be checking Insights to monitor post engagement and organic and paid reach. All of this will give you an idea of what works for your Page.

You should also be avoiding content that is too promotional on your other social media networks as well. Your followers don’t want to constantly see your brand with logos, products, etc. Heavy branding just isn’t necessary, and it isn’t effective. Focus more on sharing experiences, interesting stories, high-quality visuals, and user-generated content.

4. Republishing updates grows your social reach

Between Facebook’s Newsfeed changes and the continued growth of social networks like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin, it’s not easy to always make an impression on your followers. In order to be sure content is seen, social media managers are republishing updates multiple times throughout the day, week and even month.

On Twitter and Linkedin, post several other updates in-between the original and republished update, otherwise followers will see that you constantly post the same thing over and over. On Facebook, you can change up the message a bit with different visuals when you republish so it’s not so repetitive.

We recommend using Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts and schedule updates. This way, you can schedule your republished updates so you won’t forget, and you can keep track of how often you’re republishing.

The Future of Social: 9 Social Media Marketing Trends 2015

 photo: HubSpot

5. More personal interaction with fans and followers

You’re business’ employees are not robots – they are real people with personalities and interests! In 2015, your followers are going to want to want to get to know the people behind logo and see who it is they’re engaging with. Companies who are one step ahead and have already gotten more personal see more interaction on their content and a higher level of trust.

This is where the video comes in. By hosting a podcast or video segment, you’re introducing your audience to the people that make the company. You can even have a video Q&A and create a hashtag for it so viewers can join in. By having a Q&A like this, viewers get that personal interaction as you read out loud and answers user-submitted questions.

Connecting with followers on your personal Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Google+ accounts are excellent ways to establish relationships. Sharing what you know about your industry and interests outside your company allow people to meet the person behind the logo.

Be sure to respond in a timely matter on both your business and personal pages. This is very important for keeping that personal connection by letting people know that you’re there, and you care.

6. E-commerce and social media integrate        

In 2014, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with a simple click without leaving the page. Be prepared to see e-commerce and social media integrate in 2015.

For customers, the payment experience will be safe and secure – credit and debit card information will not be shared with other advertisers. They will also be able to save payment information for future purchases.

With this integration, businesses will truly profit from the direct relationship they build with their followers on social media. It all sounds fantastic for both customers and businesses. Facebook and Twitter have said they’ll be sharing more information in the future. We’re excited to see what comes of this integration!

7. Facebook uses voice-recognition technology

Microphone check 1, 2… In 2015, you might  be talking to your Facebook Page rather than typing. Facebook has recently announced it acquired the voice-recognition startup that claims to “turn speech into actionable data.”’s technology could allow Facebook users to speak commands that could be converted to text as posts or messages. The technology could have other uses as well.

This move could give the social network more information for targeted advertisements. If Facebook integrates this technology into apps and home-automation devices, it would allow Facebook to gather more data. It will be interesting to see if there will be any privacy settings.

8. Businesses and organizations budgeting for paid media

With the drop in organic reach and less promotional content appearing in the News Feed, you may want to consider budgeting for advertising on social media for any content you want to push. The great thing about advertising on social media is that the cost can be as low or high as you want, and you can target people based on their location, age, interests and more.

Although it is possible to reach your followers still organically, creating advertising campaigns with objectives such as to boosting posts, promoting your page or raising attendance at an event will help you expand your reach.

The Future of Social: 9 Social Media Marketing Trends 2015

 photo: picjumbo

9. Public Relations professionals manage social media

As we enter 2015, you may be wondering if you should change your social media strategy. With all the new changes and things you should be doing in order to succeed, it can seem overwhelming. Maybe the person managing your social media pages is wearing many hats and doesn’t have enough time to focus solely on staying social online. So what are you to do? Does your business need a separate social media division? Who should be managing all of this? The answer: your PR team.

If you’re a small or medium business, you probably have many things on your plate, so developing a social media strategy may seem overwhelming. Your PR team is your best bet for managing your social media pages. They should know that social is different from traditional marketing/PR and how to leverage those differences.

Social media is extremely public and whatever is said can be seen the second it’s posted. When a customer posts a review on your page, good or bad, it will stay there. If someone comments on your post and you don’t like what they said, you need to respond in an appropriate manner. When managing social media pages, be prepared to respond to both positive and negative feedback consistently. A customer complaint can easily turn into a PR nightmare. Let your PR team take the reins and handle everything for you.

Who knows – maybe sometime this year you’ll see us riding hoverboards while we tweet!

Have any questions about the social media trends for 2015, please feel free to comment on this blog or contact us. Subscribe to inBLOOM’s blog alerts, and you’ll get Social Media Marketing and Public Relations tips for success emailed to you weekly.

If you thought this blog post was helpful, here are similar posts on the topic:

cover photo: Terrabass

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3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

In this digital age, it’s nearly impossible to miss local, national and world news in real-time. No matter where you are or what you’re doing chances are you most likely have breaking news in the palm of your hand via your smartphone. In fact, 30% of American adults get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.

Surely your heartstrings (and attention) have been tugged by all those feel good people and pet stories in your News Feeds. If you dig deep enough, you’ll discover similar stories within your own business or nonprofit. It’s just a matter of being open to listening and discovering the human-interest and news pieces that attract today’s busy editors, reporters, and producers.

After you write your story and take some high-quality images and possibly some video, you’re ready to post and share your news on social. Review these three ways to tell your story on social media:

1. Tweet to meet and engage media sources.

In addition to emailing a release, engage in dialog on social media to build your media network. According to ING’s 2014 Social Media Impact survey, 57% of journalists consider social media to be ideal for contacting PR professionals and vice versa. Use social media to build relationships with journalists and bloggers to gain a better understanding of what they write about, when they need resources, and how they prefer to work with you.

According to a 2014 report from the Indiana University School of Journalism, 40% of journalists said social media networks are very important to their work. Over a third said they spent between 30 and 60 minutes each day on social networking sites. Twitter was the most popular type of social media used by journalists, and over half of those surveyed said they regularly use the platform for gathering information and reporting stories.

Use your website blog as a home for your story, images and video to live and use a tool like to incorporate trending hashtags into your tweets for greater visibility.

2. Be in the know about Facebook’s new tools for media publishers.

Facebook recently introduced new and exciting ways for news accounts to target posts, remove posts that are no longer relevant and identify popular links that they haven’t shared. One widely anticipated and requested change is Facebook’s Smart Publishing tool, which identifies and publishes stories that are popular with people on Facebook. Once the setting is enabled, frequently shared links will appear more in the News Feed for people who like a publisher’s Page. Make sure to like news sites covering your industry and region to get a sense of the news stories being shared on their sites and thus popping up more in your News Feed.

Once you understand and follow how the media will be using the new tools, you can deliver producers and editors the type of content that’s being shared on social media. Facebook will regularly share announcements and tips on its News Feed FYI.

It’s wise to learn firsthand from Facebook and its content creators what’s trending in the news. Your research will give you a better chance of securing media coverage when pitching a story.

3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

3. Proofread your social media story teasers.

Make sure to proofread your tweets and posts for accuracy and working links. Check the spelling of key names (brands, people, etc.) as well as contact information. Editors may use your release or blog post for the facts and as a potential resource for larger features. If you spell a name two ways or a phone number is wrong by one digit, this will frustrate the contact who has to get ahold of you to double check.

Here’s an example of a tweet with a typo from Grub Street, a blog about the New York City restaurant scene from New York magazine.  Their fans were pretty accepting of the typo and appreciated the afternoon chuckle. I’m sure the editors, however, were pretty crabby about the error ;).

3 Ways to Tell Your Story on Social Media

Start engaging with the media on social and best of luck on your PR efforts in the New Year.

Have any questions, please feel free to comment on this blog or contact us. Subscribe to inBLOOM’s blog alerts, and you’ll get Social Media Marketing and Public Relations tips for success emailed to you weekly.


Pew Research Center: How Social Media is Reshaping News

ING 2014 Study impact of Social Media on News: more crowd-checking, less fact-checking

 The American Journalist in the Digital Age:  Key Findings from Indiana University.

 photo: picjumbo

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5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative Reviews

5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative Reviews

It’s inevitable, your business may be new or maybe it’s been around for years, but it will happen – eventually someone will take to the Internet and type those haunting words about their bad experience that you just can’t shake from your thoughts (or review sites).

It may be that they didn’t get a warm greeting at the door or maybe a dish wasn’t served to their expectations? No business (or customer) is perfect, so breathe a sigh of relief and cut yourself a break. As long as reviews matter to you, you’ll be armed with the right strategy to handle them and do the right thing.

Safeguarding your reputation by being on top of customer complaints before they rear their ugly head on Yelp, Facebook and Google should be a priority for your business.

There are many companies offering their reputation management services to cure your bad review woes. Be sure to do your research before entering into one of these relationships. Many of the times, these companies will attempt to clog the Internet with new directory listings, blogs and press releases that bring little value to your business. Although blogging and sharing stories with the media are excellent ways to boost your reputation and Google ranking, the work needs to be done strategically and authentically, not via a mechanical process of pushing out random keywords and fuzzy content.

There is great value in paying attention to these reviews and comments, and as a publicist, I always recommend responding. They may even help you to make changes within your business that address core issues you already knew you needed to handle.

A little goodwill goes a long way. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, of the customers who received a response from a company after posting negative feedback, 33% turned around and posted a positive review of the brand, and 34% deleted the original negative review.

For business owners who are dealing with negative reviews right now, let’s review a few steps you can take to respond appropriately and lift your spirits just in time for the New Year.

5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative Reviews

1. Regroup.

Before typing away, you’ll first need to meet with employees to discuss the complaint, hear from the key staff involved in the incident, and draft a response that takes the reviewer’s concerns / complaints into account.

2. Respond.

Address the complaint politely and with facts. Keep it short and sweet as people can become overwhelmed by a long response. Have a few proclaimed editors in your life review your response for grammar, punctuation and tone before posting.

3. Reach out.

If possible, attempt to contact the reviewer by email or phone if you have their information and offer them a reimbursement or ask about how else you could rectify the situation. They may even be appreciative enough to remove the negative review.

4. Rally.

If a review is completely false, you should try and resolve the issue through private messaging first. If you feel a public comment is necessary, present your case as simply and politely as possible, and do not attack the reviewer under any circumstances. Remember that potential customers will be reading your comment and you want to leave them with a positive impression of your business.

5. Reward.

You can also thank the people who left positive reviews. A simple “thank you” and “we look forward to having you back again soon” will suffice. Many review sites advise against telling a reviewer that you have a gift for them as a way to acknowledge their kindness. Note, however, what you do offline is your own prerogative and will be surely appreciated by your loyal customers.

On the flip side, asking your customers to leave reviews is good practice as well. Sometimes a simple ask is all it takes to motivate a loyal customer to take action. Just don’t run after them with your laptop asking for the review on the spot. You will come off as aggressive and desperate.

If you think you don’t have the time to respond to reviews, here’s a stat that may motivate you to find the time:

5 Steps To Take When Responding to Negative ReviewsGraphic: Help Scout

Now let’s review how to respond to negative reviews on Yelp and Facebook:

Responding to negative reviews on Yelp

Responding to reviews is a great way to learn from and build goodwill with one of your most vocal customers. Yelp allows businesses to respond publicly and privately to user reviews. Yelp recommends keeping your message simple: thank the reviewer for the business and the feedback. If you can be specific about the customer’s experience and any changes you may have made as a result, this could go very far in earning trust. Public comments are a way for business owners to add a helpful comment to a user’s review.

Responding to reviewers’ concerns shows that you value their feedback, you’re always striving to improve, and that you are hands-on in the daily operations of your business.

Note: Yelp requires business account users to upload a real photo before messaging customers in order to make the message personal. Photos should clearly show your face (no sunglasses please) and not include too many people.

Go to the “Reviews” tab after logging into your business account. From there you’ll be able to add a public comment to any review of your business. Your comment will appear directly following the review that you’ve commented on.

Responding to negative reviews on Facebook

You can report reviews that don’t follow the Facebook Community Standards or focus on the product or service offered by your business. Facebook will review your report and may remove reviews that don’t follow the guidelines. You cannot delete a rating or review from your Page. You can like and comment on reviews on your Page. To like a review, go to the review and click Like and leave a comment. The reviews that show on a Page may be different depending on who is viewing the Page. The order is based on a number of factors, such as when a review was posted, how much engagement it received, and whether someone visiting the Page is friends with someone who wrote a review.

A Page’s star rating is the average of all public star ratings that the Page has received. Keep in mind that when someone posts a rating, they can select an audience. For example, if they post a star rating and select Friends as the audience, only their friends can see their rating. Only star ratings that are shared publicly are included in a Page’s overall rating. To see the breakdown of a Page’s star ratings, go to the Page and hover over the stars.

Facebook recommends you handle negative reviews by responding privately and immediately. Handle negative ratings with compassion and brand integrity, no matter how upsetting the situation might be. Respond publicly after every attempt has been made to clarify the issue and resolve the customer complaint. Make a public response in the form of a comment on the star rating.

Subscribe to inBLOOM’s blog alerts and you’ll get Social Media Marketing and Public Relations tips for success emailed to you weekly. And if this post helped you, please consider leaving us a great review on our Facebook Page. Wink. Wink.

Cover photo: Robyn Lee

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New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business

New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business

As always, the New Year brings change as many of us make our long lists of resolutions. We hope to change our diet, attitude, exercise regimen and achieve personal goals. But this New Year, those of us who manage Facebook Pages can expect to add another resolution to our lists – to keep our Page posts on our followers’ News Feeds.

Beginning in January 2015, Facebook users will see less promotional posts on their News Feeds. Through an ongoing survey of hundreds of thousands of people, Facebook determined that people want to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. You’re probably thinking that means less ads, right? Well, Facebook actually determined that the content people see as too promotional are posts from Pages they like, and not ads.

News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Facebook is bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.

So what qualifies posts as being too promotional?

According to the results of Facebook’s survey, these are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app

  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context

  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Here are two examples, provided by Facebook for Business, of types of promotional posts that will keep you off your audience’s News Feeds:

New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business




New Year Brings New Changes to Facebook for Business

As more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. Because there is continually more and more content from your family and friends, as well as businesses, it’s becoming harder for any post to gain exposure in News Feed.

The good news is that Pages publishing 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, if your Page is posting promotional content, you should expect your organic distribution to fall significantly over time.

If you ever doubt the importance of your Facebook Page, remember that constantly maintaining your Facebook Page matters ALOT!

Your Page is an important destination for current and potential customers. Statistics show that very many Facebook users are still visiting Pages. In October, for instance, nearly a billion people visited Facebook Pages. Of those visits, more than 750 million happened on mobile devices.

Because of the large amount of traffic to Pages, Facebook is now exploring ways to build more features into Pages. A lot of this is in response to how they are seeing people interact with business Pages. Interactions include messaging to communicate with a business directly or browsing video and photo content. They’re also exploring ways to better customize Pages based on the industry a business is in, similar to how they rolled out menu sections for restaurant Pages.

Despite the News Feed changes, you can still reach your audience organically.  Monitor the reach of your Page posts by checking the bottom of each one to see how many people you’ve reached. You should also be checking Insights to monitor post engagement and organic and paid reach. All of this will give you an idea of what works for your Page.

You should also allocate some of your advertising budget towards boosting posts, as well as video ads. Both will enable you to target specific audiences with predictable reach. Learn more about video ads here.

If you have any questions about the changes to Facebook’s News Feed or need assistance with your social media efforts contact me.

photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo

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