Asking the right questions. Are you posting with engagement in mind?

Years ago, I worked at a radio station that put on an annual event in the middle of the town mall. Account Execs hustled for months to get all of the booth space booked.

After the event, the team from the radio station asked the vendors for feedback. Almost everyone I encountered was enthusiastic and happy with the results. All except one: A clinic specializing in hair loss solutions.


Balding is embarrassing to talk about. It is not a subject that you want to discuss with a sales rep in the middle of your town mall, where you might run into your daughter’s soccer coach or your pastor.

A public event is not the best place for every business to be. And a public space is not the best place for every conversation to happen.

The same is true for certain posts on social media.

The other day, I saw this tweet from Money magazine:

Money Magazine Tweet


Is it wise to publicly broadcast my salary tip(s) for everyone, including my boss and colleagues, and potential future employers to see?

It is awesome that Money magazine wants to engage with their audience and gain insight and wisdom from their followers for an upcoming issue. How cool would it be for your Twitter handle and name to appear in an upcoming issue?

This question got me thinking about engagement in general. If you are seeing low, or no, engagement on your posts, maybe you aren’t asking the right questions. Here are some questions to ask yourself before posing it to the crowd:

  1. Is it a question that someone would feel comfortable answering in a public space? I’m curious to know if Money magazine sees lower engagement on this post than for similar questions posed in the past.
  2. Does the question require a simple yes/no, or could you broaden the question so that you get a more in-depth response?Many times I ignore questions that could be answered with a single word, especially if a lot of other people have already responded. A yes-no question is better suited for a poll.
  3. What will they (the reader) get out of responding? Again, it is awesome how Money magazine tells their followers that they have a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue. That is a clear bonus. Additionally, people like to showing off their expertise, so even something as simple as asking an open-ended question could be a motivator. I have also seen contests for the most-active users or giveaways for the best responses. See below for a great example from Panda Express.
Fortune Friday

For maximum engagement, let the reader know what they will get out of responding.

Of courses, there are other barriers involved in building engagement, but that’s a story for another time.

Just think about it before you post. If roles were reversed, would you be comfortable answering the question you are asking your audience?

Tell me, what makes you respond to questions asked on social media? Give us an example of something you responded to recently.


These Are a Few of My Favorite Podcasts

Depositphotos_11557342_xsFinancial news and whatever you choose,
Improving grammar and  productivity standards,
Confusing technology explained at last,
These are a few of my favorite podcasts…

Okay, so I’m not a songwriter. (P.S.–>How good did Lady Gaga sound at the Oscars with her A Sound of Music? She’s amazing!)

Anyway, this post isn’t about the Oscars or Lady Gaga. It’s about a few of my favorite podcasts. Let’s jump right in.

  1. Take Control of Your Money – Dave Ramsey: You might have heard Dave Ramsey’s radio program at some point in your life. He’s actually made it into a podcast for you to listen to whenever it’s convenient. Ramsey helps you understand the bigger financial picture and take action to improve your own personal situation. I just love his opening line: [The Dave Ramsey Show, where] debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.
  2. Quick and Dirty Tips Podcasts: This is actually a series of podcasts. If you search for “quick and dirty tips,” you’ll see ones on nutrition, money, productivity, public speaking, and more. The great thing is that they are all separate podcasts, so you can subscribe to only the ones you want to hear. My favorite is the “Grammar Girl” writing tips because no matter what you do for a living, writing is an important skill.
  3. Rainmaker.FM: A podcast that’s perfect for marketers, especially content marketers. This show is about 30 minutes per episode and focuses on topics that are crucial for marketing success. The most recent episode is, “Three Misconceptions about Modern SEO.” Who can resist topics like that?
  4. Freakonomics Radio: This podcast was created as a spin-off of the best-selling book by Levitt and Dubner, Freakonomics. Steven D. Levitt is an economist who studies the riddles of everyday life and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. The book was really interesting and the podcast carries the same intrigue.
  5. This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal: Saved this one for last because it’s a necessary inclusion, albeit an unexciting one. This daily podcast is part of my morning routine. It provides the top news for the day in addition to some interviews and insight. It’s usually available by 9am Monday-Saturday. I also listen to BBC World Service, Global News.

Bonus podcast: Kim Komando Live. Kim, like Dave Ramsey, has a radio show that is repurposed into a podcast. Kim takes complicated technology-related subjects and makes them understandable. I like listening to her podcast, however they are broken down into such short segments (usually around a minute) that it becomes difficult to multitask while listening.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites?

Using Meetup to Sharpen Your Marketing Skills

Well, I already missed a day of the blog challenge but I have a good excuse. Yesterday I attended a Meetup group and didn’t get home until late. If you haven’t heard of Meetup before, it’s a social networking site for local groups. No matter where you live, you can type in your zip code and find local groups that you can join or events for you to attend.

How can you use Meetup to sharpen your marketing skills?

  1. Join a business-related group that would appreciate input from a marketing-minded individual. You’ll be challenged (in a good way) to think about another product or company and make recommendations or suggestions based on your perspective. This gives you the opportunity to think outside of the box and daily routine of your usual work.
  2. Find a marketing-related group and talk to fellow marketers about emerging trends or campaigns that you’ve tried. We can all learn from each other. Maybe you’re experiencing a problem and you need help. Who better to ask than a group of marketers?
  3. Do something besides marketing! There are art meetups, food meetups, even wine-enthusiast meetup groups! Get involved and get your mind off marketing. If you can relax, your mind will start thinking more creatively. There’s no better way to relax than chatting with a group of new people over something that you all enjoy, like a glass of wine.

Have you used Meetup before to advertise your own group or to find something fun to do? What was your experience like?

The Blog Challenge: Post Everyday for One Week

Have you heard of the blog challenge?

A-Done-Something-Is-Better-Than-A-Perfect-NothingIt’s supposed to encourage you to write. Whatever is in your head, no matter if it’s a “perfect” idea or blog post. The idea is to commit to posting one blog article each day for a week. Get the creative juices flowing. Get your thoughts out.

I’m going to accept this challenge. Here’s why:

  • Collecting Thoughts: Writing helps us understand things that happened during the day. Problems that we experienced are likely something that someone else experienced elsewhere in the world. Why not share those solutions?
  • Discipline: By making a commitment to one post per day, it should make it easier for me to stick with one post per week. Or at least I hope so.
  • Analysis Paralysis: I have over 30 drafts of blog posts that I never clicked “publish” on. I get so wrapped up in trying to make it perfect that they often never make the cut. Committing to one post a day should help me “shake it off.”

I’m sure there are more reasons why this challenge interests me, but I’m going to hit “publish” instead of “save draft” and move on.

Would you want to take on the challenge as well? How about being my accountability partner?

The Reason Purified Tap Water Exists [Hint: it has to do with you, the consumer.]

water bottle lids blurredLots of people like to hate on water brands like Aquafina or Dasani because their process consists of filtering tap water and bottling it. Mother Jones recently released an article that the water comes from the most drought-ridden places in the U.S, adding an opinion of disgust that it’s bottled tap water.

I’m here to tell you that’s the point. Maybe not that it comes from drought-zones in the U.S., but that it’s filtered tap water. It’s intentional. These brands aren’t trying to hide it from anyone.

  • Aquafina openly states that it’s purified water, and even provides buyers with the steps in their purification process.
  • Dasani does not market itself as water from a fresh mountain stream. It clearly says “purified water” on the label.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola did a ton of consumer research before launching their purified water brands. Consumers told them that they didn’t need their bottled water to be from a spring. In fact, many of them would drink the “spring water” and then fill up the bottle with tap water. Why?

Consumers wanted convenience.

They wanted to grab a bottle, know that it was safe to drink, and go to the gym, work, or stick it in their purse for later. These soda brands intelligently and deliberately extended their product lines to include an option for the health-conscious consumer. They positioned and designed their product differently and as a result, they are able to offer bottled water at a lower cost.

If you want spring water, then purified water brands are not for you. Choose a company that advertises “100% Natural Spring Water” such as Poland Spring or Deer Park.

No need to hate on purified water companies. We just need to read the labels, find out where our water is coming from, and make the best decision based on our knowledge and budget.

Everyone is different. That’s why we have so many choices.