The Problem with Wishing

Have you ever been wish slapped?

When I worked in nonprofit, people would say, “I wish I had a job helping people.”

When I worked for a marketing agency, people would say, “I wish I worked in a cool office.”

When I started working from home, people would say, “I wish I could do that!” (pre-pandemic days)

Now that I have my own business, people say, “I wish I could be my own boss.”

That’s wish slapping. It stings a bit, because it makes it sound like you got lucky. For me, it felt like people assumed I won some sort of job lottery – not that I worked my a$$ off, often working two jobs, to gain the experience I needed. While I appreciate those comments meant as small talk or kudos, I knew the hearts of those who spoke those words with real truth. Many, many people do not like their current career situation. They wear those wish statements like a straitjacket. So, I decided that I want to turn those wish slaps into something less painful for all.

My friend (and frequent mentor) Pete Smith, told me the best way to hold yourself accountable is to broadcast your goal. With so many folks dealing with unexpected career tests and trials lately, I feel it is the perfect time to announce that I’m writing a book. Correction: I’m finishing a book by November 26, 2020. Insert sweaty pits. It is a self-help book titled, “Wishes are for Wussies: Finding Success without Luck, Chance or Circumstance.” I want to help people who are unhappy, stuck or lost in their career journey to write that next chapter of their story, so that they find fulfillment and success on their terms.

It will be a collection tips and interviews with badasses who ditched the wish for a new reality (specifically those working for themselves). Thanks to a writing contest I won, I already have an outline with a stamp of approval from a book editor. I just have to get to writing! You can help – I’m looking to hear more stories of those who struggled with something in the life (addiction, money, home life, career, grief, etc…) and managed to pull themselves out of a state of wanting into a state of doing. Reach out if you or someone you know would be willing to share their journey. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

4 Content Tips from Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

The celebrated Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement during the 75th Golden Globes Awards. It is no surprise that she brought the crowd to their feet. The loud applause filling the theater and tears from those watching at home illustrates the power of her words.  As social media managers and content creators, the craftsmanship of her speech should inspire all of our copywriting in 2018.

Forget Simon Says, let’s play Oprah Says! Here are five content creation tips you can borrow from the master herself.

1. Make a strong opening.

Oprah says…

“In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards.”

Why it works…

The opening line of her acceptance speech immediately pulls you in. It creates a timeframe, a setting, and a feeling in one sentence. Scroll through Facebook right now and see how many brands are actually succeeding at this. I challenge you to write one-sentence stories and test them on your brand’s social media channels.

2. Don’t make it all about you.

Oprah says…

“In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.”

Why it works…

A common miss I see is brand’s making it all about them. By telling a story of her idol, Sidney Poitier, and the full circle moment she may be having with other little girls somewhere in the world is an emotional human connection. The fact that she is the first black woman to receive this award took somewhat of a second seat to the potent story she was telling (which is hard to do!). How can your brand subtlety show their achievements without making it all about them?

3. Be respectful and brave in the face of controversy.

Oprah says…

“I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Why it works…

No matter where you are on the political scale, the press has been under a lot of criticisms and scrutiny. You’ll notice, she doesn’t weigh in on the matter, she simply acknowledges it and uses it to make a powerfully positive statement. Sometimes going dark on social media is the smart move when controversial issues are trending, but next time see if there is an opportunity to inspire or inform your audience instead.

4. Say something familiar in an unfamiliar way.

Oprah says…

“Their time is up. And I just hope — I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man who chooses to listen.”

Why it works…

Oprah knew the Time’s Up movement would be the center of every red carpet interview and acceptance speech. Her award is given late in the show, so she couldn’t very well say the same thing that everyone had been saying all night. That just isn’t her style. And it should be what brands do either. How many times do you practically see the same tweet from 15 different companies on Taco Day or National Best Friend Day? They all start to sound the same. Instead, Winfrey took the opportunity to tell a story about Recy Taylor, then tied it into our past history and history in the making.

If you missed the speech, I encourage you watch it online. It truly was a message we should all listen to, and for more reasons than to be inspired by her speech writing.

Holidays on Social Media: Celebrate or Skip?

Reading tip for this one, click the hyperlinks to see effective holiday examples.

Billboards with Christmas ads in November. Magazine print ads for Independence Day sales. Radio spots from florists for Mother’s Day. Holidays and marketing have been BFFs for decades, but social media (being the rebel child that it is) flipped marketing on its head when it comes to holidays.

From National Pizza Day to National Best Friend’s Day (Jane & Lily 4-ever), there is a designated day for almost every thing and every interest. Does that mean that your business should to participate in every trending celebration day?

nothanks

A brand interjecting themselves in a conversation, especially a trending one, that isn’t a clear and relevant fit is one painfully obvious way of looking desperate for friends on social media. Making the effort to create copy and images for a holiday is time consuming, so the ROI should be worth the time invested. Let’s do a pop quiz to illustrate the point, shall we? Number 2 pencils not required.

Question #1:

Should a fitness club participate in National Ice Cream Day?

Answer:

Nah. Is there an opportunity to talk about burning calories after indulging in ice cream or rewarding yourself with ice cream after a tough workout? Sure, but it isn’t worth the real estate. Instead of fighting for space among businesses that have a clearer connection, use that day to share a fitness tip or showcase one of your members. That will have far more meaning with your followers.

Question #2:

Should a pet food company join in on Taco Day?

Answer:

Ah, if it includes a wiener dog in a taco costume, then 100% yes. If not, hard pass.

Question #3:

Should a small, local retailer plan social media content for Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday?

Answer:

A tricky one! The answer depends on whether your marketing goal for the season is foot traffic or online sales. Pick a goal and pick a day. Don’t do both – it would be like wearing your Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve outfit all at once. It’s too confusing.

Question #4:

Should a non-profit organization chime in on Martini, Pina Colada or National Beer Day?

Answer:

No, no, and no. Social media content for non-profits should always show donors what their donations are funding, and it should never be alcohol.

Question #5:

Let’s turn the tables here. Should an alcoholic company participate in National Nachos Day (November 6th)?

Answer:

Oh, yes! Actually, we should move International Beer Day (August 4th) to November, so they can be celebrated annually on the same day.

Questions to ask yourself before joining any trending holiday…

  1. What does my audience want to see?
  2. Is this genuine to my brand’s voice?
  3. Would this content fit into one of my content buckets?
  4. How can creating content for this holiday support my larger marketing goals?
  5. Can I provide sound rationale for spending time and effort of this holiday post should a CEO, board member, etc… ask?

Feeling a little unsure of your answers or ready for next steps? Let’s talk!

Mother’s Day Mishaps: Social Media Etiquette to Make Mom Proud

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that brands should be extra thoughtful and considerate in their social media content marketing. They should not allow themselves to be blinded by dollar signs when they find out that U.S. consumers spent a crazy $21.4B last Mother’s Day. I wonder how many runny eggs, cheap chocolates, and carnations that is.

Every year, people love to highlight the most powerful, creative, funny, and touching Mom’s Day ads. Check out these lists from HubSpot, Verily, and Campaign. All of these examples are different. Some are tearjerkers, while others are corny and hilarious, but there is one thing that they all have in common. Did you catch it?

Not one ad pushed their agenda. No hard sales. No capitalizing on the hundreds of hours mom busted her ass at work to put food on the table, countless dishes she washed or tears she wiped away. Let’s talk about how you walk the line between appropriately promoting your business and pissing off moms everywhere.

1. All moms are created equal.

This is the starting point for any Mother’s Day campaign. Mom does not mean stay-at-home wife and mother of three. Being a mother can look a million different ways and social media managers need to take this into consideration. From expecting moms to dog moms and moms who lost to moms who adopted, do not alienate or offend any of these amazing people.

2. It is the thought that matters.

I think I picked weeds for my mom as a kid for Mother’s Day and I’m sure she put them in a vase and gushed over them. I even recall trying to make a dollhouse for my stepmom one year and never finished it for her, but she never held that against me. Looking back, she was probably happy that I didn’t finish it!

Either way, the thought was genuine and easily recognized as such. If your business wants to push some money-making deal, your audience will see the thought behind your BOGO or 20% off offer. Don’t try to make a buck off of mom. It should be a day of honoring and giving back to mom. Seventh Generation had a great example of this a couple years ago. Be respectful and the sales will follow organically.

3. Show your human side.

Regardless of the size of your business, what you sell or your marketing budget, be true to the human nature of the day. It isn’t appropriate to push a self-serving agenda. Your brand should treat moms how you want other brands to treat your momma.

Still unsure of your campaign? Scroll to the bottom of this list for epic Mother’s Day marketing fails. I mean, whoa, don’t do that. Even a little. Ever.

Need help with your Mother’s Day social media campaign? Email me at kristina@ littleenginesocialmedia. I’d love to make sure that you don’t muck it up!

 

Social Media Content for Nonprofits: April Tips & Topics

Sharpen your pencils, do-gooders! It’s time to write your social media content calendar for April. Like the pollen outside, time to let the ideas fly!

Social Media Tip of the Month

Video doesn’t have to be a huge, stressful production, but they can be incredibly engaging and rewarding. Here are some videos ideas you can do with your phone (just don’t forget to shoot it holding your phone sideways) in under 60 seconds:

  • Mini staff interviews
  • Behind the scenes look at a project or initiative
  • Office tour
  • Treatment/Efforts in progress
  • Mimi interviews with the people you support

April Social Media Content Ideas

April 2: Children’s Book Day

The theme of last month’s Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego was a refocus on being helpful to your community. Children’s Book Day is an excellent opportunity to provide resources to your followers by sharing book recommendations. You can do this with a blog post, quick video or even individual posts throughout the day. For example, the nonprofit I work for, MiracleFeet, will use Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories to show pics of our favorite clubfoot books for parents to read to their children.

April 5: Day of Hope

Started by Child Help, this campaign is to remember that every year millions of children around the world are victims of abuse and neglect. Remind your followers how they can get involved with your organization to help children in your community or beyond.

April 7: World Health Day

An event hosted annually by the World Health Organization and this year’s theme is depression. If your nonprofit is involved with mental health, today is an excellent way to join the conversation on social media to bring awareness of your efforts and how others can help.

April 10: Sibling Day

Always a trending hashtag on Twitter and a prime opportunity for sibling story telling. You could have one sibling interview the other or share a story of how helping one sibling helped the family as a whole. Endless possibilities!

April 11: Pet Day

Time to give some love to those service dogs! Oh, don’t forget to share any pics of the office dog (if you’re lucky enough to have one!).

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My buddies – Kevin and his service dog.

April 15: Microvolunteering Day

Besides being a crazy long word to type, your content on this day must showcase all the quick and easy ways your followers can make a difference without a huge time or monetary investment.

April 16: Easter Sunday

Don’t be that guy – you know, the brand that uses a religious holiday for self-serving purposes. Just saying.

April 17: Haiku Poetry Day

Who doesn’t love a haiku? Refreshing and fun way to share your organization’s message.

MiracleFeet Tweet
Similar example from World Poetry Day.

April 20: Volunteer Recognition Day

You should recognize your volunteers often and with sincerity and April 20th is no exception. Use social media to give your volunteers shout-outs. Just make sure they are ok with you using their photo and/or name.

April 22: Earth Day

Always a trending day! You could host an environmental campaign in your community and share live updates throughout the day on social media.

April 29: World Wish Day

In honor of the anniversary that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish in 1980 this is a day of granting wishes for sick children and thanking those who made wishes possible. If Make-A-Wish has helped any of the families you support, today is a great way to thank them and stories of their share their wishes.

4 Ways Brands Can Use Instagram’s New Slideshow Feature

Instagram launched a new feature this week that allows you to upload up to 10 photos in one post. It is a swipe-to-view slideshow. Personal translation: I can now show close-up shots of my beagle’s precious ears, eyes, whiskers, and tail in one post – oh boy! Hopefully brands will utilize this new update in a more productive way. Here are four ideas to get you started.

1. Before, During and After

You no longer have to rely on a video or collage to show your work in progress. This works beautifully for nonprofits wanting to show the progress of their good work. For example, as a Social Media Manager at MiracleFeet, I’ll be using this feature to show kids before treatment, during the casting, and the happy after photo with one upload. Love it!

India before and after TW

2. In the Making

Similar to the above, but with more of an emphasis of starting from scratch and ending with a finished product. I’d like to see a brewery use this idea for crafting a new seasonal ale. This would also work well for restaurants, cleaning services, contractors, etc…

3. Zoom Out

For a more artistic (and mysterious!) approach, take a series of photos that start crazy focused in on something and zoom out with each new shot. Envision a gorgeous, intricate flower at a nursery: at first you just see vibrant colors, then a hint of a petal, and finally the whole bloom to announce hydrangeas are on sale.

Flower collage

4. Events

You no longer have to worry about picking your 1-2 favorite photos from an event to share. Highlight your event by sharing photos in order, so fans can experience set-up to after-hours. We will certainly see this used by brands and celebrities this Sunday for the Oscars.

Add those hashtags and get posting. #Slideshow already shows over 70k posts. So, what are you waiting for? Get started, ‘Grammers!

5 Social Media Tactics to Boost Creativity

The dreaded blank page. All that white space. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

horror

Whether you are a content creator, community manager or author, it is your job to transform all that white space into a spellbinding, revenue machine.

Easy, right?

No. This is what turns my hair gray. Why do we put ourselves through this? Simple–the light bulb moment is unbelievably satisfying. This moment isn’t always going to happen at your desk or your usual writing spot at your home. Time to pack up and head out in search of your next ah-ha moment.

1. Hit the Gym

This could actually be going for a run, using the elliptical in your house or lifting weights at the gym. Fresh oxygen will flow through your noggin and breathe new life into your ideas.

TIP: Keep your phone handy with a notes app open or bring a notepad and pen, so you don’t forget any of your ideas.

2. Visit an Animal Shelter

This may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. All those furry babies have a story that is usually written on an info card or you can ask an employee or volunteer. Their history, attributes and quirks can be thought provoking for authors to big brand copywriters. If you’re looking to get away from a clinical or traditional approach to brainstorming, this option could be for you.

TIP: Be sure to leave a donation before you go! Better yet, if you’re a responsible human being, take a pet home and love them forever and forever.

3. (Nerd Alert) Go to the Library

Remember those big structures with shelves of books? Those are libraries and they are filled with light bulbs just waiting to be turned on.

TIP: Don’t immediately go to your genre. If you write for a realty company, hit up the fantasy section. Write romance? Grab a few pop culture magazines. This will force your brain to really think outside the box.

4. Word Race at a Coffee Shop

Grab a buddy for a fun brainstorming session over a cup of Joe. Come prepared with 8-10 questions related to the content you need to write on individual note cards. Let’s say you need to create content for a rental car company for a summer road trip campaign. Here are some sample questions you may ask:

  • What do people love about road trips?
  • How could things go wrong on a road trip?
  • Where did you travel as a kid?

note cards edited

Put your note cards face down on the table, set your phone to a 30-second timer, and flip over a card. You both write as many answers as possible per card. The person with the most answers at the end of the game gets a drink on the loser. Either way, you walk away with a stack of content ideas.

5. Go Camping

Ah, the great outdoors. Relaxing, but it also forces you outside your normal routine. You have to build a shelter, start a fire, and cook a meal on a stick. Think about your content needs and ask yourself how your brand could be used to help or what trouble your characters could get into while alone in the woods.

TIP: Take lots of photos. Take photos of your campsite and things you see when you go for a hike. You can reflect upon these images later for more ideas.

Get your butt out of your chair and go find your next light bulb moment. Be sure to share it with me when you do!