What You Should Know That You Didn’t Know About Color Selections

Colors selections are sadly an after-thought in small business web page design, ad content, and in your Instagram pictures. Not your fault. You are a merchant, accountant, entrepreneur, etc., not a graphic designer. But, be advised there are studies that point to consumers making subconscious judgements about a product or service within 90 seconds of first viewing— and 90% of THAT assessment is based on color alone.

So, what is an overworked, under-staffed SMB owner to do? Hire a marketing agency? Depend on advice from well-meaning staff? Take a color wheel course at the local community college? Read a dozen blogs? No! Turn to this blog and see what I can find for you!

Your first/best question is always “who is your audience?” Who do you want to engage as customers? Once you’ve determined the elements of that target market, then check out these assembled in one spot key statistics on how colors affect sales. For example:

  • Colors women love the most are blue, purple, & green;
  • Colors women hate the most are orange, brown, & grey;
  • Colors men love the most are blue, green, & black;
  • Colors men hate the most are brown, orange, & purple.

Obviously, nothing is written in stone, and there are variables, but this article on people’s perceptions of colors (not colors you want/like) should provide you with some interesting insights that your competitors might not have.

When people were asked to choose the color they associated with particular words, which ones do you think they equated with trust, high quality, and cheapness? And… are you using any of those colors?

Stores & Shops Show Support as Spooky Salem Switches to Sweet Salem

Salem Ma. has been world-renowned for its spooky October month-long tourist-facing celebration of Halloween promoted in/and by its downtown business district. But in recent years, it has shown a softer side in February with a Valentine’s Day-themed chocolate & ice sculpture festival for lovers and families to enjoy. It is called Salem’s So Sweet and this year it runs on Feb 7th-9th!

Kick-off is with a chocolate & wine tasting event (always quickly sold out), where the business community — premier Salem restaurants, stores, and sweet shops — come together to put on display for sampling pretty much anything they sell that has chocolate in it. If the business sells wine, expect bottles to be poured as well.

What makes this festival a master stroke of marketing is that it is a joint project by Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, and Destination Salem, along with local retailers, restaurants, and businesses. It capitalizes on Valentine’s Day by giving tourists and locals a common reason to engage with multiple local businesses.

This is marketed through a “Golden Ticket” promotion as many downtown businesses will offer chocolate samplings and sweet discounts around downtown Salem all weekend in celebration of Valentine’s Day.  Any customers making “a full-price purchase at one participating downtown business” will get 10% off their purchase at the NEXT participating business! (note, offer good Feb. 8th and 9th only, some restrictions may apply, etc., etc.)

The Golden Tickets will be available in brochures at all participating businesses during the weekend of the Salem’s So Sweet Festival.

To further the customer experience, the ”ice sculpture” part of the festival also takes place over the weekend. Over 20+ beautiful ice sculptures representing businesses and organizations suddenly appear on sidewalks throughout Salem. This provides another reason for people to walk around town and take advantage of the Golden Ticket promotion.

Or, they can take the Salem Trolley. Rides around the festival route— weather permitting on Feb. 8th & 9th from noon to 4 pm— will be reduced to $2 for an adult and free for children.

Don’t you just love it? Competition is replaced by cooperation as stores & shops work together to engage with holiday shoppers during the Salem’s So Sweet Festival. Would this work in your business community?

For more info go to Salem Main Streets website. It lists where the ice sculptures will be located and which businesses will be participating in the Golden Ticket promotion. You can also go to the Salem’s So Sweet Facebook page for updates on offerings at many of the stores and shops.

(Photo from the Salem So Sweet Facebook page)

Tuesday Teaching Tips: Instagram Videos

Videos engage. Videos tell a story. Videos sell a product or service. And they are all over the place! In a 2019 WyzOwl survey, 87% of businesses confirmed they now use video as a marketing tool. But there is the downside; 90% of businesses say they also feel competition and noise are on the rise. So, how is your small business to compete? Find the best tutorials. After all, it’s your time & money being spent on these videos.

And just about the hottest place for videos is Instagram, since eMarketer just concluded that in 2020, Facebook and Instagram together will account for about two thirds of social video ad spend. That’s more than YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat combined!

HootSuite just posted an in-depth but easy to follow Instagram video tutorial by Paige Cooper. Not only does it provide explanations & examples of Stories, video posts, Instagram live, and IGTV, but there are also specs, such as lengths and aspect ratios.    

An interesting tip offered suggests that you kick off your Instagram video with the most engaging 2-3 second clip— even if it doesn’t really show up until later in the video! Think of it as the headline of a long article; it gives readers/viewers a solid clue as to whether the video is worth their time investment. People scroll fast, and are conditioned to skip anything that looks like an ad. 

Why video? Why Instagram? Why are you telling this story now? If you have compelling answers, then this HootSuite tutorial deserves to be in your marketing tool chest.

TikTok, Time for Your Biz to Check Out TikTok

There is always a shiny new toy on social media. That’s a given. The variable is if as a small business owner you pick the right one to get on board with. Case in point: TikTok. Yes, the app that gives users the chance to create and share funny videos while singing, dancing, or lip-syncing to their favorite tunes. TikTok already has 500 million active users worldwide; 41% of those users are between the ages of 16 and 24!

Do you want some of those eyes on your products, services and words? Gen Z is where you want to be! But if you think being late to the party means a delay on building a following or you are too busy running your business, consider 3rd-party growth strategy tools.

Some use hashtags, bots, or targeted follow/unfollow actions. But take care that you pay attention to TikTok’s terms of service— otherwise, your account will get blocked, you will be shadowbanned, and you won’t be able to interact with other users, regular and new ones. 

To help you out, here are 10 services pre-screened and broken down by Robynne Jones of the Jeff Bullas team: TokUpGrade, TokSocial, AutoTokker, Tok Growth, QuikFlok, Jeffrey, Vire, Ektor.io, Instamber, and TrendGrow.

Why TikTok? Why now? Why for your business? When it comes to daily user time, the current average is a phenomenal 52 minutes per day! And the more time people are spending on this app will translate into a stronger chance that they will see your ads.

Taking Active Advantage of Competitor Media Coverage

Ever see an article or post online about your industry and a competitor is mentioned, but not your business? Have visions of potential customers on wings floating out of your grasp into the hands of your competitor? You can turn this disadvantage to your favor. It is called “earned media in content marketing.” 

The most obvious option is to respond directly to the article. Add something in the comments section to up social proof that you are an expert, and by association, your business is the place to go for services or products. Or write a rebuttal— carefully— with facts or experience to contradict opinions of your competitor to give potential customers food for thought. 

Still another option is to write a blog on your website, referring to the post. Compose your own version on the issue, using quotes from the story. And, of course, provide a link to the original article. Then promote the blog on your social media channels.

Don’t have the time or skill to do all this writing? That is where someone like me comes in. I am not a social media manager. No interest in convincing you to buy ads on Facebook or burrowing through Instagram and YouTube video stats. I am here to write so you can focus on running your business.

Managing your small business’s reputation is what you do every day selling quality products and services. But in this 2.0 social media world, your current & potential customers have much more access to info about your business than they used to. You need to control the narrative, wherever and whenever you can.

Tuesday Tech Thoughts: Not 1, Not 2, But 20 Excel Tips

If only you could run your business from the front. But “running” the business means being in the office as well. It means going over the books. It means hovering over Excel sheets on your computer. How well do you know Excel? Would 20 tips help you get your work done more quickly so you could get back to engaging with the customers?

For example, do you know how to use Excel to calculate the hours worked for any shift? Duh? Just subtract start time from end time! But what if your business shifts also involve “noon” or “midnight?” 

Think military time. But you also need to know what data to use for tabs and cells.  And most importantly, a formula that makes it all work. Now you do.

Other tips include: building dynamic charts that update before your eyes, adding a drop-down list to an Excel cell, and using XLOOKUP which is an easier way to retrieve info from Excel spreadsheets.

There is no denying the fact that you need to be in the office; it comes with the territory of being the person who signs the checks. But you are also the face of your brand. You need to be out there with the customers. Hope these tips help.

Fast Food Customers Looking for Technology to be on Menu

When you think of it, it is a no brainer— customers who go to a Quick Service Restaurant (fast food of any size) want to place, receive, consume, and depart as quickly as possible. It is no surprise that 71% of diners say they would be “amenable” to more AI in their restaurant experiences. 

That is according to an interesting recent article from PYMNTS which contradictorily adds that “A report found that 29% of restaurant operators think they are lagging in adopting technology. Many of them blame prohibitive costs or doubt that adequate demand exists.”

Is your dining establishment losing customers because of this backward thinking? Demand exists. In fact, reports PYMNT, on-site kiosks are becoming a major attraction to QSR diners. Designed to decrease congestion, automate the ordering process, and offer multiple payment options, self-service kiosks  “can lead diners to spend 15% to 20% more on orders.”

There have been some stumbling blocks, such as when MacDonald’s rolled out kiosks that did not take cash. Check out the PYMNTS article for more on that.

Bottom line, kiosks or tableside tablets— whatever allows your customers to place orders and pay without having to wait for paper bills— should be a consideration for your menu.

Social Media Slice for December 23, 2019: Taking a Holiday Break


MAIN SLICE

We are going to take a break during the holiday season. Enjoy good times and fellowship with family members and friends. See you in the new year!


WELCOME SLICE

SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants, and Small Business Owners make sense of all the day to day social media news. Bypass the fluff. Focus on the good stuff.


MOTIVATIONAL SLICE

Our #HappyHolidays cover image is from a tweet by Barry Gray @barrygrayauthor


What is one of YOUR biggest social media pain points? The blogging process? You KNOW you need blogs for improved SEO on Google, but researching, writing, revising to include keywords, and then editing are very time-consuming tasks. Make better use of your time. Tap into my over 40 years of experience as a reporter, editor, and free-lance community writer to generate your creative content. – Anthony Scialis, Managing Editor, SoMe Slice

Social Media Slice for December 20, 2019: “123456” Worst Password of the Year Again; Top 5 Blockers To Your Productivity; How To Create Facebook Augmented Reality Ads


MAIN SLICE

📌”123456″ Worst Password of the Year Again-
Seriously? Yes, apparently people dont learn. And hackers are quite happy. According to SplashData’s Annual Worst Passwords List “123456789” took second place, rising from third last year.

“Almost 10% of people have used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on this year’s list, according to SplashData, while nearly 3% have used the worst password “123456.” The more than five million leaked passwords that made the 2019 list were used mostly by people in North America and western Europe.” – Lance Whitney, writing for Tech Republic

👁 More


WELCOME SLICE

SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants, and Small Business Owners make sense of all the day to day social media news. Bypass the fluff. Focus on the good stuff.


SLICE SPECIAL OF THE DAY

📌 Top 5 Blockers To Your Productivity (And How To Hack Each One)-
Whatever is holding back your productivity, there are ways to analyze it and work through it. Your client’s need you at your best.

“The bad news is that no one becomes a productivity pro overnight. The good news, however, is that there’s still hope for even the laziest among us. Leveraging known frameworks and results from social science can help you to reach beyond your own innate productivity abilities.” – Lauren Moon, writing in Trello

👁 More


SLICE INGREDIENTS

📌 How To Create Facebook Augmented Reality Ads-
Would you like to encourage users to engage with your client’s products in new and interactive ways, including driving them to make a purchase? Facebook says try Augmented Reality Ads.

“To use Facebook’s new augmented reality ads, you will either need to partner with an authorized AR producer on Facebook’s Spark AR Partner Network to create and upload AR effects on the Spark AR Hub or create your own. Then, you can create your ads with a few clicks in your Ads Manager.” – George Carey-Simos, writing for WERSM

👁 More


MOTIVATIONAL SLICE

Our #FridayFeeling cover image is from a tweet by Living Dead Girl @Livindeadgirl00


What is one of YOUR biggest social media pain points? The blogging process? You KNOW you need blogs for improved SEO on Google, but researching, writing, revising to include keywords, and then editing are very time-consuming tasks. Make better use of your time. Tap into my over 40 years of experience as a reporter, editor, and free-lance community writer to generate your creative content. – Anthony Scialis, Managing Editor, SoMe Slice

Social Media Slice for December 19, 2019: FBI Tech Tips for Safe Holiday Travel; Marketers Need to Know the Difference Between Millennials and Gen Z; How to Add Holiday Hours to Google My Business


MAIN SLICE

📌 FBI Tech Tips for Safe Holiday Travel-
Whether you are traveling on social media business or pleasure this holiday season, the Cyber bad guys are working overtime to invade your security. The FBI has some advice.

“If you’re at a hotel, airport lounge, restaurant, or anywhere else with a secure Wi-Fi network reserved for guests, you’re still not safe: An enterprising criminal with a spare Wi-Fi access point could configure a network with a similar name in the hopes of tricking travelers.” – Brandon Vigliarolo, writing in Tech Republic

👁 More…


WELCOME SLICE

SLICE is a M-F news digest targeted to assist Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants, and Small Business Owners make sense of all the day to day social media news. Bypass the fluff. Focus on the good stuff.


SLICE SPECIAL OF THE DAY

📌 Marketers Need to Know the Difference Between Millennials and Gen Z-
You haven’t been lumping these two groups together in your target marketing just because they are considered young adults, have you? 🤔🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏻‍♂️Read on.

“As the millennial sibling of a Gen-Z sister, I’ve seen the differences between our two age groups first hand. While my sister, born in 2001, is always posting on her Finsta and TikTok profiles, I’m still sharing early-2000s memes on Facebook. And, while she’s just starting college, I’m budgeting to pay off my student loans. The list of differences continues and will only grow as we reach different milestones in our lives.” – Pamela Bump, writing for HubSpot

👁 More


SLICE INGREDIENTS

📌 How to Add Holiday Hours to Google My Business-
Do you go the extra mile for your small biz clients and update their Google My Business listings for holiday hours? Didn’t know you could? Now you know something their competition doesn’t!!!

“In this post, we wanted to lay out a full tutorial of how to set specific hours for the holidays on your Google listing. This is an essential element if you own a brick and mortar location, as users will be notified when searching for your business of these special hours. It avoids confusion and ensures that potential customers won’t become frustrated with misinformation or guessing games.” – Jessica Media, writing for EZY Marketing

👁 More


MOTIVATIONAL SLICE

Our #ThursdayThoughts cover image is from a tweet by Linda Gibson @lgibson12397 (background graphic added).


What is one of YOUR biggest social media pain points? The blogging process? You KNOW you need blogs for improved SEO on Google, but researching, writing, revising to include keywords, and then editing are very time-consuming tasks. Make better use of your time. Tap into my over 40 years of experience as a reporter, editor, and free-lance community writer to generate your creative content. – Anthony Scialis, Managing Editor, SoMe Slice