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Words of Advice

Stress and the City

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Helpful Information, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | One Comment

I’m writing to you from my couch – currently unsure of if I’m actually becoming fused to the cushions after how long I’ve been here. The tail-end of a holiday weekend can be tough, especially when you’ve used it to do everything except relax. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Chicago and everything it has to offer but we owe it to ourselves to take some time, get away and relax in a way that’s just not possible living in the city.

Normally over a long summer(ish) weekend, I would look forward to cooking out, consuming one too many adult beverages (sorry mom), soaking up some sun, and so on and so forth but this weekend I found solace in the bridesmaid duties I had to tend to in my hometown. I’m originally from a small suburb about 45 minutes north of the city and now live smack dab in the middle of Wrigleyville. Seriously, I couldn’t get any closer to the field if I tried. On a daily basis, 24/7 – 365, I get all the good (Cubs, close to the CTA, close to the lake) and downright awful (bar crawls, bros, noise) that Wrigley has to offer.

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I typically don’t go to the suburbs unless I need to but I used this weekend as an excuse to go and just simply relax. People don’t realize how nice, and almost therapeutic, it can be to get away from the city and all of its little quirks, even if it’s only for a day or two. Don’t get me wrong – my heart beats to the buzz of a busy city, but there’s something about grass (real grass!) under your feet and a wide open sky (what’s a skyscraper?!) overhead that allows you to clear your mind in a way you wouldn’t be able to with car horns honking and drunk people screaming outside your window at 3am.

Next time you have a free weekend, I highly recommend spending time somewhere where you can completely shake off the city weight, even if it’s just the suburbs. It’s my not-so-expert opinion that you’ll come back feeling more refreshed, revitalized and ready to take on another week in the city of dreams. You can thank me later. 😉

Has Social Media Replaced PR?

By | Helpful Information, Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

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One of the many reasons I love social media marketing, is it enables a company to broadcast its own messages to a target audience. It gives brands more control, compared to depending solely on, for example, traditional media to tell your story.

I come from a PR background but increasingly focus on social media marketing. I used to always depend on journalists to gain exposure for my clients. Then, along came social media and blogging, and how refreshing to be able to use these channels to broadcast news myself!

Sometimes prospective clients are unsure whether to invest a limited budget in PR or social media and my answer is that both play an important role in the marketing sphere.

At Gossip Genie, we’re focused on using social media to create more buzz and generate sales for clients – for example, by running a targeted Facebook ad, by sharing engaging organic content that goes viral and by talking directly to their customers. And, it really works!

But never underestimate the power of your brand appearing on a news website that receives millions of unique visitors a month or in a magazine with thousands of subscribers. This type of content looks awesome on your social media channels and website, too.

Social media and PR are so closely connected. Social Media Managers must possess PR skills to do their job responsibly – they need to be ‘on message’ otherwise their activity could be detrimental to a band. Yet PR Managers would be foolish to not embrace the promotional power of social media to do their job as effectively as possible, too. For example, a lot of influential journalists are on Twitter, giving PRs access to them in a way that might not have been possible before.

I still come across companies that are clearly ploughing more of their budgets into traditional PR and almost ignoring or having zero understanding of the potential of social media. Believe me when I say that both are equally as important and brands need to understand that if they want to stay ahead of their competition.

Did you know Gossip Genie manages PR for clients, too? We work closely with local, national and industry media outlets (online, print and broadcast) to generate positive press coverage about your business. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to learn more…

New Music Streaming Service, TIDAL: Fair Concept, Awful Launch

By | Uncategorized, What's Trending, Words of Advice | No Comments

Earlier this week, some of the world’s most famous music artists – including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna and Kanye West – gathered to launch TIDAL, an artist-majority owned music streaming service to rival the likes of Spotify and Pandora.

It’s an effort to give artists more control over their music, as well as (let’s be honest) to make more money, with TIDAL expected to pay double the royalties offered by other music streaming services.

TIDAL will offer music fans high-fidelity audio and video – including exclusive content – but there isn’t a free version. Users will have to pay a monthly fee of $10 for a compressed format or $20 for CD-quality streams.

Now then, I understand why Jay Z and co wanted to introduce TIDAL. It’s true that artists don’t get fair returns when it comes to streaming (Aloe Blacc revealed in this Wired article that it takes roughly one million song plays on Pandora for the songwriter to earn just $90 – he earned Pandora royalties of only $4,000 for his huge hit ‘Wake Me Up’).

However, when I watched the video about the TIDAL launch, I found myself getting annoyed and hating it in an instant. Why? Because of the way it was launched. The video showed the artists sat around a conference table, looking incredibly serious and important, and it appeared as if they were coming together to cure world hunger, to fight social injustice, to save the entire world.

“Every movement throughout history began with a few individuals banding together with a vision, a vision to change the status quo” – led the declaration signed by all the artists. “Together we are unstoppable” TIDAL tweeted dramatically alongside its hashtag #TIDALforALL: 1I took to Twitter to see if my response was being felt by others too and there was (and still is) a lot of backlash. Check out these tweets:

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TIDAL appears to be a fair concept but the launch felt inappropriate and tasteless. Hopefully going forward, the brand will tone down the ‘greater-than-good’ messages and focus on what’s in it for the consumer.

See Who Opens and Clicks on Your Emails

By | Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

If you use Gmail and Chrome as your browser, downloading this new Chrome extension by HubSpot is pretty much a no-brainer. The extension, Sidekick, tracks emails by alerting you when the recipient(s) open it, how many times they viewed it and which links were clicked. It is super helpful for increasing productivity and a welcome ‘sidekick’ to my other latest Chrome extension obsession, Momentum.

Once installed, you can choose which emails to track by clicking their logo which will be on the bottom right hand side of the email you’re composing.

Not tracked: 

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Tracked:

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You can also use Sidekick to pre-schedule emails: 

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Additional facts: Free users can receive up to 200 notifications per month. Sidekick offers a paid version that includes more details, reporting features and analytics for the price of $10 per month, per user.

To download Sidekick for Chrome, CLICK HERE.

Sell Your Photos On Picfair

By | Helpful Information, Words of Advice | No Comments

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A couple of a years ago, I heard about Picfair, an online marketplace for amateur and professional photographers to sell directly to buyers.

Its UK-based creators decided to launch Picfair to enable photographers to retain control over the prices of their images, set up in response to a ‘$6 billion professional industry controlled by agencies and middlemen, who fix the prices and take, on average, 74% of the fees’.

Now, I am no professional photographer, but I decided to upload a couple of my favorite photos from my travels when it was launched. I didn’t really think about it at the time and haven’t used Picfair since, until I received an email from them earlier this week congratulating me for having one of my photographs (below) licensed to appear on the Rough Guides website in an article entitled ‘The best photography on Picfair: Romance‘.

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I took the photograph of a couple looking out over the Bosphorus, the strait of water connecting the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara in Istanbul, Turkey in March 2011. In my mind, this stranger couple is blissfully happy.

Sadly, and rather stupidly, I had priced the photo for 1 pathetic British Pound (the equivalent of $1.52). But, hey – I felt a momentary sense of pride, and that’s priceless right?

Whether you’re new to photography or a pro, I encourage you to check out Picfair. You’re probably not going to make a living from it – the average photo sells for around $7 – but you might be able to make a little extra cash with photos you’d usually only post on Facebook.

Stay on Task with Chrome Extension ‘Momentum’

By | Helpful Information, Words of Advice | No Comments

My job requires multi-tasking, and a LOT of it. With my ADD, this means I need frequent reminders to stay on track. I open hundreds of new tabs on a daily basis which is why this pretty much amazing Chrome extension called Momentum was a game-changer for me. Every time I open a new tab in Chrome, I’m reminded of my to-do list tasks, which can be found in the lower right hand corner. One way to knock out your to-do list? Complete one item from the list every time you open a new tab. My productivity has improved, and I’m here to spread the love.

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Other great features:

The background photo changes daily with a photo taken from somewhere around the world. Think of it as the @natgeo for your browser. Today, the photo was taken by A.D. Wheeler in the Southern Appalachians.

In the top left corner there is a Google search bar (for those who think they’d miss opening up a new tab to the Google homepage) and you can add quick links to websites you visit most often.

Lastly, you can customize your main focus for the day. Today, I chose to have fun with that feature.

Momentum Chrome Extension

 DOWNLOAD MOMENTUM HERE.

Gossip Genie’s 5 Year Anniversary

By | Gossip Genie Blog, Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

In exactly two weeks it will be Gossip Genie’s 5 year anniversary! I cannot believe that on February 10th, we will have been in business for half a decade. I like the sound of half a decade because it makes me feel like we are no longer in the startup category but I know many people consider a 5 year old company to still be very young. I remember the day I decided to embark on this entrepreneurial adventure. I was with my mother in her kitchen discussing a business plan. We were brainstorming names for the company and I am so glad I didn’t settle on some we had thrown out there, such as: Monieson Media – I got married the following year and changed my last name from Monieson to Liberman. That would have caused all kinds of confusion and despite the occasional piece of mail we receive addressed to Ron Monieson, there was no negotiating on whose last name would be our family name.

Over the course of 5 years, I have managed 20 different employees, never more than 7 at a time. I have said before and I will say it again, good employees are hard to find. Of those 20 people that I hired, I think all of them had and have a lot of potential. The majority of the 20 people were with me over a year or close to it. Hiring, firing and key employees moving on to other opportunities is the hardest part of running my own business. You are only as good as your employees. I realized that a long time ago because when I started Gossip Genie, I was working 14 – 16 hour days doing EVERYTHING from account management, business development, accounting, prospecting, company marketing and everything in between. I couldn’t handle it and I knew I was going to burn out quickly. I do think it’s important for a business owner to do every job within their business before hiring someone else and delegating. After a few months, I hired a few interns to help with some administrative tasks. A year into the business, I hired someone full time and learned a hard lesson.

I was naive and hired this person without a non-compete or a contract in place. Finally, I had help from someone that knew the industry and knew how to service clients the way that I was doing for the past year. Fast forward to a couple of months of working together and she was unreliable, sloppy and lazy. I had to let her go. Little did I know she was going to make me pay for that decision. At the time, I had 5 solid clients, 3 of which this woman managed to turn against me. Overnight, she started her own social media company which automatically had 3 great clients. That’s all the detail I want to go into with that story but the moral is that I learned my lesson, I bounced back and rebuilt. Oh and no, she’s no longer in business.

When it comes to Gossip Genie, I really take everything to heart, losing clients is not something I take lightly. I always need a thorough explanation because I try to learn from it and apply it to the future. Often times, employees moving on is a natural progression in someone’s career but I still need to know why and if necessary adapt the way I manage to try to keep my team happy going forward. I am finally at a place where I can lean on my team and I know they have my back. I really feel that everyone is working for the betterment of Gossip Genie and that is a fantastic feeling to have going into year 5.

Here is a screen shot of my first website – which I built myself to save money through Wix…we have come a long way with the new Gossip Genie site we launched last month.

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What happens when you delete your Instagram account?

By | Social Media, Social Media Spotlight, Uncategorized, Words of Advice | No Comments

 

Things you should know before deleting

If for some reason you want to delete your Instagram account, there are a few things you should know.

 

  1. Once you delete your account, your username is GONE FOREVER. Repeat, not you, nor anyone else can ever claim your username again.
  2. You must login to Instagram.com because you are not able to delete your account within the mobile app. Here’s how: Sign in –> Click on your profile icon in the top right hand corner –> Edit settings –> Scroll down to the bottom –> Click on ‘I’d like to delete my account.’
  3. Unlike Facebook who allows users to go into a ‘hiding period’ where their profile doesn’t exist but the data and photos still do, once a user deletes their Instagram account, they will not have access to any of the photos previously uploaded on that account.

 

Special Tip: If all you want to do is change your username, you can do so easily by clicking on ‘Edit Your Profile’ and type in a new username in the second box from the top. Immediately following your name change, your old name will be up for grabs and available to the Instagram universe.

Can You Prove the ROI of Social Media?

By | Helpful Information, Social Media, Words of Advice | No Comments

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“I don’t do social media for my business because I can’t measure its return on investment.”

“Social media doesn’t work for us.”

I remember hearing these words at various networking events when I worked in the UK and I believe some business owners still have this mindset, because I continue to come across companies that don’t have a social media presence – or even worse, they have a presence but are doing it all wrong.

I have had the pleasure of living in Chicago and working at Gossip Genie for over a year now, and one of the most important things I’ve learned at this job is how to make money for clients using social media.

The Gossip Genie team actually led a presentation about how to prove the return on investment (ROI) of social media activity at Social Media Week in Chicago in 2013, showcasing client case study examples (get in touch if you’d us to show you this presentation).

Without giving away too many of our secrets, one of our tactics is to use Twitter to identify and build relationships with a client’s target audience. We’ve found many new customers and sales leads for clients this way – and these are often worth thousands of dollars to the client.

Another example is using Facebook properly by sharing the right type of content to appear in more newsfeeds, as well as investing in carefully-targeted ads and experimenting with engaging boosted posts.

Even without concrete examples of social media activity leading to direct sales, it would be foolish for business owners to turn their backs on the promotional opportunities that exist with social media. Social media channels are another opportunity for your brand to be seen by thousands of people in your target market and a great way to engage with your customer base direct.

If you would like to learn more about how your business could benefit from social media support, please get in touch. As well as managing social media for clients on an ongoing basis, we also deliver one-off social media audits for businesses. We’d love to help your company to grow!

#Sharethehonestlove & Why We Must Stop Pretending Everything Is Perfect

By | Social Media, Uncategorized, What Not to Post, What's Trending, Words of Advice | No Comments

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I think I just found my new favorite hashtag. #sharethehonestlove is a social media campaign launched by Laura Caudery who wished she had spent her wedding day focusing on the emotional significance of the day, rather than the practical arrangements. Her campaign encourages newly weds-to-be to enjoy every moment of their important day and not to get too caught up on superficial elements, like guest lists, color schemes and parking arrangements.

Laura realized none of this really mattered when her husband passed away just over a year after their wedding and she became a 32-year-old widow (read her heartbreaking story towards the end of this article here). She looked back at her wedding photos and noticed that only a small selection showed the true emotions of the day. Laura shared these photos (example above) with the hashtag #sharethehonestlove, encouraging other couples to share their most honest wedding photos. The response has been overwhelming (see examples below).

Laura, who organizes weddings for her day job, says: “I wish brides and grooms to-be could see more honest and real photos like this on blogs and in magazines; it would remind them of what’s most important. Whilst I think our Instagram and Facebook pages are filled with the prettiest of weddings, I’m going to make sure I share a lot more photos like this too. I love the wedding industry but I think sometimes the message gets a little lost. Let’s all remember and celebrate what a wedding day is really about: let’s #sharethehonestlove.”

I think this story is a reminder of the superficial nature of social media and the media. That we often strive to present not just weddings, but many elements of our lives, as perfect. I’m just as guilty of this as any other person – I have my own personal blog about Chicago life and tend to write only about upbeat, happy stuff. It’s human nature to want to appear in a positive light, but I am increasingly recognizing the importance of being honest, whilst increasingly lacking tolerance for things I see on social media that project an overtly perfect existence.

I’m realizing it is possible to be honest and not lose any self respect. In fact, honesty can bring people a lot of credit. Some of my favorite blogs and press articles are those that are truthful or brave. I follow the travel blog Waegook Tom because of this very reason. If he doesn’t like a destination/hotel/attraction, he’ll say it (check out his list of ‘Six satisfactory cities’), and I appreciate his balanced reviews.

Honesty can really resonate and build trust with an audience and we must keep this in mind at all times – not just as marketing managers for businesses and brands, but on a personal front too.

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