2015 Social Media Marketing Planner

When it comes to your social media strategy? Pre-planning your posts is half the battle.

Having something ready to fire out on dates that you know to expect will help ease any last minute stress and help ensure that you are creating branded and shareable posts! We’ve created a list of dates that are guaranteed to pass this year (we couldn’t include EVERY holiday but you can find a list of Canadian holidays here: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/) We also included a post idea for each date.

Enjoy!

BROCCOLI--2015-Holiday-Infographic

FREE VECTOR SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

We hope that everyone had an amazing 2014 and are ripe and ready to take on 2015!

It’s important to have good quality print pieces and we believe that it is important to have them all as branded and cohesive as possible. That being said, we have an Illustrator file with a variety of vector social media icons that we would be more than happy to send you FOR FREE. You can alter their colour or size (without pixelation).

Email: info@broccoliconsulting.ca to request your .ai file today.

BROCCOLI

UPCOMING SEMINAR: Networking Bootcamp- Learn to Network Like a Pro

Networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. It takes two main approaches: virtual or face-to-face. It’s important to utilize both strategies to expand your professional network. Networking has risen in popularity alongside transparency and human interaction in the workforce because people are understanding the importance of relationships and are gravitating toward people they know or have met to assist them with their needs.

Marketing, advertising, social media… these are all great but a lot of business owners (If you are B2B) are too busy to stop and reflect on your efforts and too many customers (if you are B2C) are numb to traditional communications avenues due to an over abundance of “buy this”.

This seminar is set up to help you make your networking exchanges count and get you the results that you need to help push your business further.

We will cover the following areas:

  • Your business card
  • Your elevator pitch
  • How to find the right event for you/your industry
  • Your personal brand/image
  • Conversation starters
  • The importance of body language
  • Online Networking
  • Follow up

We will then demonstrate/practice with the group (so bring cards)

The cost to attend is $35 and that includes:

  • The 3 hour seminar
  • A take away package that contains the information that was covered for future reference
  • Some exercises to help build your networking confidence
  • Light Refreshments

THERE ARE ONLY 30 SPACES AVAILABLE so book early to reserve your spot.

Visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/networking-bootcamp-learn-to-network-like-a-pro-tickets-13909207815 for tickets!

You know what they say; it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.

 

YOUR SEMINAR INSTRUCTOR

CRYSTAL LENGUA: Founder and CEO of BROCCOLI Consulting

Crystal is a double graduate of both George Brown College and Humber. She is certified in Marketing Management, Corporate Communications (PR), Social Media Management and Event Management (with honours). With over ten years of branding, marketing, communications and sales experience she has developed and strengthened company recognition using a variety of channels. Through prioritization, infectious optimism, contingency planning and creative ‘transform the box’ thinking- She is known for her leadership, reliability and turn-around capabilities.

In the last year, she has been featured in ‘Mississauga Life’ Magazine as a forerunning Mompreneur. Crystal was also a main stage speaker alongside Toronto Argo’s Jonathan Hood. She is currently mid-way through her first non-fictional small business handbook which will be published in spring 2015.

What I have learned being an entrepreneur… so far.

CEO Crystal Lengua

Making the decision to become an entrepreneur wasn’t easy. There is a lot of risk involved, you lose the comfort net of corporate and I wasn’t sure how I was going to balance it all properly. Two kids, a house and a husband PLUS a company sounded like a lot of work but the flexibility I was going to have ultimately made me take the leap.

Entrepreneurship is EXACTLY what I thought it would be in some ways and NOTHING like I thought it would be in others. It really is an adventure and I thought I would share the top 10 things that I have learned in my (almost) first year of entrepreneurship.

  1. You need to keep a schedule

If you think that you can manage your own social media, blogging, marketing, sales, business development, life and anything thing else that comes along WITHOUT a schedule? You are in for a treat. It won’t be easy. I am luckily very much a “schedule” person but I had no idea that I would eventually have to schedule in housework to ensure it gets done on a weekly basis.

  1. You need to follow your gut

You know what the right move is deep down. If you are sitting across from a potential client and you don’t feel good about it/them? Walk away. You don’t have to take that job. Another one will come. It’s better to walk away (professionally) than to regret not doing it later.

  1. Don’t sell yourself short

You will hear on more than one occasion when you are just starting out “I have a job for you, it isn’t paid BUT it is GREAT exposure!”

Trust me. Work hard enough and the exposure will come organically. You don’t need to work for free- exposure doesn’t pay the bills. If you feel the need to discount for a charity or friend? That’s fine! That’s up to you but value your time and your work.

  1. Be productive- Not busy

It is easy to get caught up in “being your own boss”. Lunch meetings, day freedom, getting lost on the web. Yeah, you FEEL busy but what have you produced? Set goals for yourself and achieve them. Make sure that you can measure your productivity so that you can feed your success.

  1. Keep your finances in order

If you can’t afford an accountant off the hop? Invest in a program to help you with your accounting! Losing track of your finances is frustrating and when it comes down to tax time you don’t want to be in the red. Stay diligent and take your company seriously regardless of its size or income when you are just starting off.

  1. Keep learning

Stay on top of your industry trends and news. It will help make your sales meetings flow naturally with great conversation, it will help inspire your next moves and help you grow as an entrepreneur. It isn’t easy but when I first started I always had a business oriented book I would pick up a couple times a week. When I got busier I didn’t even notice that I had stopped until I got into a mental entrepreneur rut (it happens) and picked a new book up. I instantly noticed a difference in not only my creative self but my confidence grew as a business professional.

  1. Shut work off for your important relationships

Work isn’t the most important thing. It feels that way sometimes- but it isn’t. Life is too short and kids grow too fast. You really need to make sure you are nurturing your relationships as well as your business because it is too easy to get caught up in the chase and too easy to miss out on memories.

  1. Take ‘YOU’ time

Whatever it is you like to do- do it. Shut off work mode and just be in you mode. Yoga, running, walking, climbing, eating, mani-pedis- WHATEVER IT IS. You owe it to yourself to reward yourself for a job well done. OH and having a husband, house and kids is no excuse. Sorry.

  1. Don’t take criticism to heart

Of course you need to take some constructive criticisms to your head. If you feel that it warrants attention then by all means you need to always be seeking to improve. But not everyone has your best interest at heart. Some people will envy you, some people will be negative by nature and some people won’t really know what they are talking about so their opinion won’t really matter. Learn to decipher constructive from callous.

      10. Failure is only a detour sign pointing you back to the drawing board

Not every idea will work or work right away. I have tried seminars that no one replied to. Videos that no one watched. I have blog posts that no one read and twitter chats that I AM STILL working the kinks out of. But guess what? I tried and I have put some ideas onto the backburner JUST IN CASE the future holds a re-try. You can’t let a little bit of failure stand in your way. There are good weeks and bad weeks, good and bad days and hours… You won’t always succeed and that is ok. Stay focused.

What have you learned since opening your business?

-Crystal Lengua-

CEO of BROCCOLI Consulting

How to Create an Effective Print Advertisement

Ad Tips

 

A successful print advertisement will grab and hold someone’s attention long enough for them to understand what your ad is about. You want to create instant appeal so that your audience will want to read on.  Design is important- but an ad is much more than graphics. There are strategies, tips and tricks that can help boost your ads effectiveness.

Aside from ensuring your ad contains important elements like your logo, call-to-action, and contact information- your ad should also:

  1. Be easy to read. Don’t use too many fonts or extra small text. Don’t fill up your page with too much information! Drive people to your website or social media platforms to learn more.
  1. Know what you want your ad to say. What are your objectives? Why are you running the ad?
  1. Use negative space wisely and ensure that the most important information is highlighted with a larger text, different font or different colour. Make sure your core message stands out.
  1. Be correct. Ensure your ad is free of spelling errors, grammar mistakes and that your contact information is correct.
  1. Have a unique selling position- why should someone purchase your product or use your service over your competitor?
  1. If you are offering a promotion make sure you set an expiry date. Create a sense of urgency!
  1. Stay on brand. Be recognizable.

Have you heard of the “Advertising Rule of Seven”? According to marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant– “To penetrate the buyer’s consciousness and make significant penetration in a given market, you have to contact the prospect a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.”

Above all- be sure that you understand your target market. Make sure that your ad is speaking their language, that the esthetics speaks to them and that the avenue you choose to deliver your ad in makes sense. Put your ad where they will see it- doing your research before placing your ad is important.

Whatever you do, don’t forget a call-to-action because you want to be able to measure your ad efforts. ROI! ROI! Always do your best to measure your efforts ESPECIALLY as a start up. You need to make sure your investments make sense. Use your insights and analytics to track visitors during your campaign.

Have fun and we will say it again…. stay on brand!

Welcome, Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation! (CASL)

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The anti-spam law is now in effect.

For those of you who don’t know what that is- visit: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/casl-lcap.htm

Last week I attended a CASL seminar to learn the ins and outs of this new law and how it would affect not only my business, but my clients businesses as well. I wanted to share some important facts that I learned but do recommend that you attend a seminar yourself!

What I learned in a nutshell (and in no particular order):

  1. July 1st the anti-spam law comes into affect BUT it is only the first phase. We have a 2-3 year grace period to get all of our ducks in a row. For all of you starting to sweat about not sending out your “opt in” emails? Don’t fret. The speaker actually suggested sending them in January 2015 once this rush of emails passes.

 

  1. You can still send initial emails to people that you do not know. You can still send initial emails to businesses you don’t know- as long as your business can obviously/directly relate to or assist the company that you are contacting. You need to be able to align business opportunity. YOU DO however have to have all of your contact information in your email should the person you are contacting not want to receive any more messages from you. The only time you cannot grab contact information online and send a message is if there is a disclaimer on their site asking you not to.

 

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA: YOU CAN still send messages via social media. YOU CAN still message people on linked in, twitter, facebook and talk business as long as you are connected. What you cannot do, is take their information and add it into your email messaging software without their consent. Social media messages are implied consent because the individual has accepted your invitation to connect, liked you or is following you. The unsubscribe option can be easily exercised with a click of a button (un-follow, un-like)

 

  1. TRADESHOWS: Your business card fishbowl is not dead. You can still collect people’s cards and information at a tradeshow as long as you are clear in your description on your fishbowl as to what the people will receive if they drop their card in. You can’t be sneaky with a sign like “drop your card in and win a trip”. YOU CAN write “drop your card in to join our mailing list for a  possibility to win a trip”. OH and If you have a pile of ballots lying around with a little box that says “click here to receive information”? Those are no longer valid and you need to re-obtain consent.

 

  1. Track your opt ins. Be sure that you can prove people opted in to receive your electronic emails. Software systems make this easy-  keep an electronic file on hand just in case.

 

  1. THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Registered Charities (not not-for-profits) and political parties are not included in CASL’s rules. They are the exception as long as the emails are about fundraising or campaigns. If a Registered Charity’s email is strictly fundraising? They can email anyone they want.

 

  1. If you have emailed anyone back and forth in the last two years- you are allowed to email them. You have a relationship with them and that is not considered spam under CASL rules.

 

  1. Your email marketing HAS to have an ‘unsubscribe’ option. If you don’t use a software program (constant contact, go-daddy etc.)- Then you need to make it painfully clear that the person you are emailing can opt out of your emails at any given time.

 

9. Verbal consent does apply to CASL. If you meet someone and they tell you to shoot them an email don’t be                       afraid..

10. Do you advertise your mailing list on your website? You still can BUT you have to be clear on exactly what                       they will be receiving. A newsletter containing what type of information? How frequently?

 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and would love for any of you to chime in! I have my notes but am sure I am missing a few great points. Please comment below.

-Crystal Lengua-

Blog Tips: How To Overcome Writer’s Block

Overcome writers block

Ahhhhh yes. Our BLOG! What to post… There is so much to write about- but you need inspiration!

So what happens when you aren’t in the writing mood, you get writers block, your creativity is flunking and you need inspiration! Well, these tips should help you out of that rut:

  1. Write early in the morning.

Your brain is fresh and new- plus you have the energy to get at it! Waking up early and getting a head start on your day will have you feeling on top of the ball not only if you write, just in general.

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself

Just write! Don’t worry if it is the best you’ve ever written. You can edit later or save a draft and never post it at all. Who knows if an idea you have with morph into an even better idea for a post?  Practice makes perfect anyway… I guess the point is – don’t spend hours trying to get it “write” (no good?)

  1. Read industry articles, blogs and books

Get inspired. Don’t plagiarize- just go with the flow. While reading you will educate yourself, you will take sides, form opinions. You may feel passionately enough about a topic that it will become a blog post. Reading also doubles as a relaxing brain break to help you re-energize. What is the worst that can happen? You learn something! Not a bad deal.

  1. Exercise

Get your blood going- break a sweat! Exercise increases your concentration, elevates your mood and releases a multitude of beneficial hormones to help you get the job done. Stretch those fingers out as well- help with writers block AND finger cramps.

  1. Keep notes

A blog post idea can hit at any moment. Be ready. Jot down your idea in your phones notepad, on a receipt or even on your hand until you get home. Log your ideas and reference your list whenever you feel stuck!

Hopefully these tips help… It is important to be consistent with your blog posts- so if all else fails and you REALLY can’t write that article? Outsource! Get a guest post. Ask employees, industry experts, authors or other bloggers to step up and enjoy some of the spotlight.

Any other tips you can add? Please do below!

What does it mean to keep my social media posts “on brand”?

brand stamp

It means that you want to make sure every status, tweet, picture and post that you send off into social media world is properly reflecting your company’s image, voice and mission.

It is important for you to make sure that your company posts are three things:

1) On brand

2) Relevant

3) Positive (for the most part)

What you did on Friday night, how much you really think Sally is cute and the noodles you made for dinner should stay in your personal account. UNLESS you are a chef/restaurant/food producer… then by all means post “foodstagrams” of those noodles.

Now don’t get us wrong- you don’t have to sound like a robot- you can have a social media voice! Just make sure it is appropriate. No swearing, street language or bad-mouthing… No personal opinions on religion or politics… no pushing for causes outside of your company’s vision. I.E. You are a vegan and that is admirable- but you work for a restaurant that serves meat products. If you push your vegetarianism, you are confusing your company audience.

Representing your brand on social media is fairly simple as long as your business has its values and image secured. If you are outsourcing your social media? It may be a good idea to have a brand document outlining who you are as a company and what you stand for so there is no confusion and misrepresentation.

 

Social Media: Build Your Community- Then Promote

Social Media Community We have said it before… We will say it again. You should be using social media for business. It is an information hub and a method of open communication with your audience. It is a conversation platform and very important for not only your online presence, but your credibility, branding, SEO and marketing efforts.

So what now? Do you open the accounts and start blasting off all of the great in-store specials? All the special promotions and fantastic things you are offering? Do you start pushing events and upcoming sales?

NO. No you do not. That will most likely turn followers away.

As mentioned earlier- social media is a conversation. When you have a real-life conversation, do you immediately start with why you are so wonderful and why people should like you? Probably not. You want to provide mutually beneficial conversation first- THEN- once you are comfortable with that person, you can start sharing more intimate details of all the great things happening in your life. Take that same model and apply it to your social media conversation.

We always tell our clients to first build your community. Work on sharing on-brand and relevant information. It doesn’t have to be created by you! You can share industry leader links as well as your blog. Work on accumulating fans by using trending hashtags so that your message gets filtered into larger audience pools. Build your fans/followers first and foremost. It may seem like you are treading water for a month or so but it will work in the end. DO NOT buy followers- you want quality not quantity and not for nothing? Social media platforms are hip to these scammers and if they find out you bought your fans? They could limit your pages. Not good.

One you have a decent following THEN you can start to promote! Now you have people who will see your efforts- who know that you are knowledgeable in your field and trust that what you are sharing can be valuable to them. Make sure that your efforts fall into am 80/20 percentile though… 80% helpful links, tips and tricks, quotes, pictures- and 20% promotion. We’ve found that to be a positive balance as long as you are keeping track of your social media insights and are posting the right information at the right times.

You can do social media! But if you need help? We are here to help!

(Did that fall into the 80/20 promotion? We think so!) 

Honest Work & Your Integrity

Be Honest I recently stumbled upon a website of a company offering similar services. They ‘liked’ a picture on my company’s instagram account, my curiosity set in and I clicked the link to their website. Their site was well designed and professional. I selected the services/solutions button on their menu and what happened next was not only a complete fluke, it left me speechless…

They had copy & pasted my ENTIRE website. Every word. Every definition. Everything- word for word. Even the organization of information… everything. It was like I was reading MY site on theirs and I instantly felt sick to my stomach. A few phone calls later and the issue was resolved with apology and I know that I am very lucky. Things could have taken a turn for the worst. I can honestly say that the feeling of having your hard work duplicated without your consent is one that I don’t wish on anyone. You feel helpless, angry, empty and numb. It’s a whirlwind of emotion.

This event really got me thinking and a friend suggested that I write about the importance of having an honest work ethic. That plagiarism in any form is nothing to be proud of and that in the end you are only disgracing yourself and your work if you decide it’s better to get credit for someone else’s labour. You embarked on your professional journey because you feel like you have what it takes to succeed. That you are an expert in your field or that you have created a unique product/service that people can benefit from… so shouldn’t you be able to use your own words and communicate your vision? OF COURSE YOU SHOULD.

Maybe you lack the confidence because you are just starting out and you are inspired by someone or a company? That’s normal! We all have people/places/things that inspire us- but you should never pass someone else’s hard work off as your own. It isn’t fair and at the end of the day? It isn’t going to help you either. You will never memorize someone else’s work enough to pass it off as your own for long and people will quickly discredit you and BOOM there goes your reputation.

If you had what it takes to embark on the entrepreneurial journey- you have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Have faith in yourself. Give credit where it’s due, ask for permissions and remember that (at the end of the day) copyright infringement IS against the law.

Honesty and integrity play a huge part in success. We can never forget that.

”Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

 –Oprah Winfrey