December 2013 Archives

I have been called the Franchise PR Guru for many years mostly because I am the oldest person in franchise PR. But thanks for the flattery friends.  So if I feel that the title justifies judging the best PR/Marketing campaigns of 2013, oh well you'll just have to grin and bear it. 

I am positive I am not alone in my picks though.  What makes a great campaign varies so much. However, in the end, it's all about one thing and one thing only.  Do you remember the brand behind the campaign and do you like it a whole lot more now? 

This is totally subjective, I realize that.  But I am going to choose and place in order based upon my personal favorites. 

#1   GoPro Camera:  Try disliking this company when you see this video, Fireman Saves Kitten- which of course, has had 1,437,054 hits so far. You not only want to buy the camera for everyone on your Christmas list, you want to marry a fireman. By giving out their cameras to policeman, fireman, doctors and others, the company's Be a Hero social media campaign could not miss. 

#2   West Jet : is a Canadian low-cost carrier that provides scheduled and charter air service to 88 destinations in Canada, the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. With 9,600 employees and an internal PR team this small airline pulled off, in my opinion, an amazing PR campaign for a company of its size.

One of the biggest obstacles for PR people is getting the client to agree to spend a certain amount of dollars for great coverage that will bring them many more dollars.  It doesn't always succeed; there are risks, so it is a tough sell.

I love Undercover Boss, but I know many participants who did not recover the $250,000 they were required to spend.

However the West Jet PR team came up with the clever idea of choosing a cross country flight and having an employee asking boarding passengers "What do you want for Christmas?

By the time the passengers arrived 4 hours later at their destination, their wrapped gifts were being dropped down the baggage conveyor belt.

The looks on passengers' faces were priceless (that's the point-you can't BUY that reaction) and of course were captured by TV stations that had been alerted and were on the scene to film. These days it's tough to get media to show up with such downsized crews so you can film these types of events yourself professionally and send the film to stations. 

#3   Oreo Super Bowl Tweet: During the Super Bowl blackout in January, Oreo's crackerjack social media team tweeted an image of their cookie with a gray background and a few words--"You can still dunk in the dark." So clever was it that it went viral in hours. Oreo now averages 600 new followers on twitter daily. They have 231,505 followers - yesterday they gained 931 more. Oreo, owned by Nabisco, is the best selling cookie in the US.  They have sold 362 billion since 1912. (Source: Wikipedia) 

#4   Chipotle Scarecrow Video: The Company produced an online animated video that really was a short story about our society and the cold manufacturing process. Included was a frame of a chicken being injected and plumped up. This is a huge target for the millennials who mistrust ads and self promotion. Cleverest of all is that Chipotle is only mentioned once in the entire video.  

#5    Here's my big DON'TApplebee's Firing of Waitress. Worst PR (aside from Obamacare website rollout which has a lot of skewed media working against it) 

This was one of the most mishandled PR situations of 2013. A waitress at Applebee's in St. Louis posted a receipt after a pastor left a note on it saying "I give God 10% why would I give you 18%? This was an added gratuity which is the policy for parties of over six people.  The waitress was promptly fired for posting a copy of the receipt on her Facebook page, wherein many people took to posting nasty things on Applebee's corporate page. 

Applebee's strategy was to argue back with the posters, and then eventually delete nasty comments and block those posting them.  Not good!  

I hope these are some lessons learned for your 2014 PR plans. And this Franchise PR Guru wishes you a very prosperous and healthy new year.

For many franchises, especially location based businesses, a Google AdWords or paid search campaign can be a valuable part of their online marketing plan. A pay-per-click campaign can quickly produce new leads.

I have talked to a lot of business owners who have told me that paid search was a waste of time. But they are wrong.

They did Google AdWords once and nothing happened. When I probe a bit deeper it turns out that they used a free Google AdWords voucher worth $100 and posted one ad for a week.

But, the same people who will pay $2,000 a month for a billboard and have no idea if it is generating business!

This happens because many business owners do not understand how Internet Marketing works and how to use Google AdWords as part of their marketing plan.

Many of the common mistakes marketers make with inbound marketing they also make with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and wonder why they are not more successful. Here are ten very common mistakes.

1. Using the wrong keywords: Many people think if they choose a keyword that gets lots of traffic then the high volume of searches will result in clicks to their ad. Searchers are generally very focused so even if they see your ad if they are not looking for it they will not click. For example, the keyword "cheap purses" gets 2 to 3 times more traffic than the keyword "Gucci purses" but someone looking for a cheap purse will not click on a Gucci ad.

2. Too Many Keywords: In Google Adwords you can associate your ad with as many keywords as you like. There are for example, over 700 keywords that can be associated with the word "purse." However, not each of those words would be relevant for someone searching for a cheap leather purse. Restrict your keywords to about 10 or 15 per each ad. This will also help you see how well that ad is doing with that set of keywords.

3. Too few Ads: When you set up a Google Adwords campaign you set up your budget for a group of ads so the cost remains the same if you have one ad or ten ads. The advantage of 10 ads is that you can quickly see what is working and what is not working so you can drop unproductive ads and promote the productive ads.

4. Keywords not in ad title: When someone searches on a keyword those keywords are bold on the results page, including keywords in the ads. So if you are bidding on the keyword "leather purses" make sure your ad title reads: Sale on Leather Purses.

5. Not Targeting Ads: Again, if you are selling leather purses you will do better picking keywords such as: leather purse, leather purses, woman's leather purse, leather handbag, as opposed to: women's purse, tote bag, laptop bag, unique purses and bags.

6. Bad User Experience: What happens when someone clicks on your ad? Do they go to a landing page with the information they are looking for? Can they buy the product or find the information they are looking for? If not they will leave, you will have paid for the click but lost a customer.

7. Not paying attention to Quality Score: The quality score is a grade between 1 and 10 that Google assigns to each keyword associated with your ad. If the ad does not get very many clicks or if the clicks do not result in a conversion or sale then Google will give it a low score. If it has a low score your ad will not show up on future searches or it will get a low position. Pay attention and optimize your keywords and ads to get a higher score.

8. Ad on wrong platform or time: Advertisers on Google have a lot of options on where and when their ads show up. For example, a downtown restaurant that is busy on Friday and Saturday nights can target ads to show on computers within a 50 mile radius of the restaurant on Friday and Saturday afternoons when people are planning their evening. In the evening when folks are out on the town the ads can be targeted to mobile phones within 5 miles or even within one ZIP code. The mobile ads can even promote late night happy hours or specials that are time sensitive.

9. Not investing the time: One of the great advantages of Google Adwords is the opportunity to get almost instant results and see what is working and what is not working. Too often a company will set up a pay-per-click ad campaign, make the mistakes listed in points 1 through 8 and conclude that paid search is a complete waste of time. If the ads are not working figure out why and fix the problem.

10.Not checking results: Worse than coming to the wrong conclusion about your Google Adword campaign is not coming to any conclusion at all because you are not following the results. It is possible to follow the results and make corrections almost immediately to maximize your results, but not if you are not paying attention.

Using Google Adwords is not an automatic process and profitable results do not come just by the fact that you have an ad. Too many companies have tried paid search and when they failed they blamed Google and not what they were doing or not doing.

Marketers need to pay attention just as much with paid search as they do with inbound marketing. Paid search and Google Adwords does not take the place of good search engine optimization and should be used in conjunction with a good inbound marketing strategy.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

I hated writing in school & you are probably just like me. I can still hear my English teacher demanding a 500 word "essay" -always on some topic I had no interest in.

Content marketing not like writing that "essay" that you got a grade on in high-school. Content marketing is much more important, but also easier - if you follow these 3 simple rules.

Content marketing is of course about being interesting and telling a good story. But much more.

1. Not a new story, but one you've already told and know well.

2. Not any story, but a story with a point.

3. A parable. Which causes people to take action.

And for professionals most of the time it's a business story that describes an important problem that many struggle with or a new one that people need to know more about and solutions that the reader might just need your help with.

Most professionals have at least three interesting business discussions each week with clients, customers and co-workers. This is what you write you about. You know the material and you're excited about already.

Here's some other tips that will help you -

  • Start with a working title - you'll change it anyway

  • Stick with what you know and stories you like best

  • Have a clear call to action - tell readers what they should do next

So take your favorite story turn it into an article and get started.

If you send it to me I'll put it up on and it'll get read, and you will get attention.

We'll make it look pretty & distribute it to the right people.

Put your photo at the top and your LinkedIn business card at the bottom. In fact it'll look just like this article.

If you take a shot at this you might even get readers interested in doing business with you.

Heck you read my article and it was from a conversation I had this week about how hard people find it to write articles to build their business.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

Social media can be an amazing way to connect with friends, family, clients and potential clients. It can be a vehicle for personal communication and business growth.

However, it is also very public, and very quickly our private lives can become very un-private.

When it comes to protecting our families, especially, this is a scary thing. The reality is that there are predators and bullies out there who will use the Internet to take advantage of or harass others.

While we cannot prevent all this from happening, it's essential that we take every precaution possible in order to protect our own lives and the lives of our children.

Here are some ways we can protect ourselves and our families on social media:

Step 1: Know the Facts

Understand how each platform works (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchapt, etc.). Then go through the settings on each platform in order to control privacy as best as possible. Here are some tips to consider:

●Whenever possible, make sure only your approved friends can see the content you post.
●Remember that almost all platforms allow you to block people.
●Almost all platforms provide some way for you to report inappropriate conduct.
●For many platforms, content is "public" by default, so you have to go into settings and change this so only your friends can see your content.
●Many platforms keep archived copies of the content that you post. Even if you delete it, they still have it.
●Some platforms will allow you to "approve" your friends and followers in advance. When possible, select this option.

To learn more about the platforms below, follow these links:





Step 2: Be Proactive with Your Privacy

Here are some proactive measures you can take on many social media networks in order to maintain your privacy.

Locations  - Turn Off Locations settings so that people do not know where you are when you are posting content.


●Make them hard to guess.
●Don't share them with others (except for a member of your family, who should have it for protection)
●Consider changing your passwords every 6 months and keep a record of them.
●Don't use the same password for everything

Nickname - Consider using a nickname (not your real name) whenever possible

Contact Information

●share it - your friends will have your phone number; they don't need to find it on social networks.
●Never put your address
●Use a special EMAIL just for social networks that does not have your name in it.

Cookies - Delete cookies and browsing history on your computer regularly. This makes it more difficult for websites to store your information.

Account Separation - Consider not linking social networks together. Keep Facebook separate from Twitter, separate from Instagram, etc.

Step 3: Consider your "Friends" Carefully

Social media is for you to engage with your true friends. This is especially true for young people. Remember that you do NOT have to connect with everyone. Rather, only connect with people you truly WANT to connect with.

Also remember that in many cases you have the ability to block, unfriend report, keep your profile private and make your profile unsearchable. Use these things whenever you need them.

Do what feels right. If someone requests to be your friend, and it doesn't feel right to you...don't accept!

Step 4: Consider Your Content

We recommend that you do NOT post the following:

●Photos that show conduct you wouldn't want anyone but your close friends seeing
●Photos or posts showing conduct that is illegal, against the law or unethical
●Photos that show any parts of you that aren't meant to be exposed in public
●Personal information that could tell the public more information than they need to know (times, locations, plans)
●Inappropriate or defamatory language
●Negative or hurtful comments - Why? Because they are often said in the heat of anger or sadness, they don't reflect what you really mean, they could seriously hurt others, they could damage your reputation, and they could impact your future.

This is our rule of thumb:

If you wouldn't post it on a BILLBOARD for your GRANDMOTHER to see, DON'T post it online!

The Internet (and friends and future colleagues and admissions counselors and bosses) have very long memories. NOTHING is really private on social media. Your Digital Footprint stays with you FOREVER.

And remember... Sometimes it is just best to TURN IT OFF rather than post anything at all.

If your mind isn't in the right space, don't post anything (you may regret what you post later, and then it's already out there).

There are many potential consequences to posting "inappropriate" content, including:

●Physical harm to yourself or someone else
●Loss of job
●Impact on reputation
●Loss of friends
●Loss of university acceptance
●Criminal investigations

Step 5: Create a Family Social Media Agreement

Families can be the best support for each other. Staying connected online will help your family stay protected. We recommend that you:


●Stay connected with your family online
●Be friends, follow each other, etc.

Share what's happening online within your family group.

●Be honest about what's happening on social media
●Teenagers, talk with your parents
●Parents, talk with your kids
●Openness = more trust
●Sharing your account information with your family and asking for help with privacy settings will increase your protection.

Create a family online engagement contract.

●Teenagers, let your parents know that you value your privacy and independence on social networks
●Parents, let your kids know that you trust them and simply want to be there when they need you to help keep them safe.
●Define "rules" that address everyone' needs so the entire family is in agreement and understands.

Go forth, have fun and stay protected!

We spend a lot of time at Wired Flare teaching others about effective ways to engage on social networks.

Sometimes, in order to get a clear picture of how best TO communicate, you also need to understand how NOT TO use social networks.

Keep in mind that our thoughts are our own and intended only as a starting point for your thoughts.

Ultimately each organization (and each individual, for that matter) in Facebook conversations must define its own unique and fitting "rules of engagement."

So, in no particular order, here is the Wired Flare list of Top 10 Business Facebook No-No's:

1. Don't post promotions for your business on other business pages. Even if you're trying to be "helpful" (like promoting your free business listing opportunity or offering them a free service), this is just bad form. If you sincerely want to help another business, reach out to them personally through email or phone (or at least through private social message)...NOT on their public business page. This comes across as very self-serving, even if you did it with the best of intentions.

2. Do not add people to promotional business groups without their permission. This is a very unwelcome practice. It forces the "friends" you have added to the group into this position where they must risk offending you to leave the group...OR they get notifications each time someone posts in the group. (Of course, they can turn off those notifications, but do you really want to put them in that position?) Groups are intended for just that - groups of people who want to communicate with each other about a certain interest. Think of them more as support groups. Adding people willy-nilly to your business group comes across again as very self-serving. If you want to invite people to join your group, send them private messages or emails that have the link to the group that they can click on to request to join.

3. Don't send messages to a huge group of people at once. For example, if you send a message to everyone invited to an event, it comes through as a group chat. Every person then gets notifications every time someone responds to the message thread. This forces your friends to leave the message thread in order to prevent receiving notifications each time. If you want to get messages out in bulk, we recommend using a contact manager to send personalized email messages to your contacts. To use the Facebook message feature, send emails to individuals, not to groups.

4. Do not double-post. Many solopreneurs, for example, tend to post content on their business page and also on their personal profiles. This should only be done on rare occasions, and the best way to do it would be to share the content from the business page onto the profile. We recommend doing this only for special posts and only rarely.

5. Do not send promotional messages to your friends on Facebook. Promotions should be kept to a minimum, anyway, but sending unsolicited promotional messages through Facebook is just another form of spam. If you want people to see your business content, ask them (only on occasion) to like your page. You can also setup a regular monthly newsletter to go out to subscribers that would have promotions as well as helpful information. Spam, whether it's on Facebook or email, is never welcome.

6. Do not constantly post promotional content on your business page. Facebook is about building relationships and engaging with your audience. No one wants to see coupon after coupon, sale after sale, featured product after featured product. If you want them to fall in love with your brand, give them a reason why. Show them you truly care about them by offering them value...not only promotions. The 80-20 rule is a good standard to follow: keep promotional posts under 20% of total content. (We actually recommend much less than that.)

7. Do not connect Facebook to Twitter or Twitter to Facebook. When your tweets go to Facebook, it is very obvious and it devalues your brand. When your Facebook posts go to Twitter, they are most often shortened and cut off...and again, this devalues your brand. Users on Facebook and Twitter want different things. Find out what they want and give them that in unique ways.

8. Do not make negative comments about other businesses on your business page or personal profile. Whether it's the competition or simply a company that you're unhappy with, this is not a good practice. Consider how you would want your unhappy customers to approach things. If you have a beef with another company, it's best to contact them directly in a private way in order to resolve your issues. If you handle professional conflicts with other organizations in a negative way, what does this say to your audience? Perhaps it indicates to them that you will handle any issues they have with you in the same, negative manner. This definitely isn't the image you want to portray.

9. Do not complain about a customer on your personal Facebook profile (and certainly not on your business page). Even if you think this is "private" - IT ISN'T! One way or another, the message will get back to your customer and it will work against you. Plus, everything is a reflection of you. If you're complaining about your current customers to your friends, why would your friends want to become your customers? If you have an issue, it is better to deal with it privately with your customer.

10. Do not "borrow" the content that another company posts and duplicate it as your own. Whether it is a picture or content, this conveys that your company does not have its own original thoughts and does not offer unique value. Take the time to develop your own unique content, and your audience will come to have more respect for you and look to you as an expert in your field. SHARE content from other pages but do not pass it off as your own.

When you want some help with your Facebook strategy & learning effective ways to engage on social networks, give me a call and connect with me on LinkedIn.

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

What is New in Hashtags?

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Back in 2007, when hearing the word hashtag, many still thought of it as the "pound" or "number" sign.

Now, not only do most people know what a hashtag is, they're using them on a regular basis. I've even heard teenagers and young adults "speak" in hashtag, as in, "Ugh. I have nothing to wear, hashtag teenprobz."

Yes, they say the hashtag part!

We found this fun infographic that talks about the history of the hashtag.

Other social sites adopted the hashtag a few years later - first there was Instagram and Google+ in 2011, and later, in 2013, it was added to Vine, Flickr, and Facebook.

This is a fun walk through recent history to see how the hashtag has made a name for itself!


I don't know about round your way ...

But the competition for my takeaway spend is huge.

And nowhere more than amongst the pizza companies.

So when this dropped through my door, it got me thinking.


Here's what you see before you get to the menu.

8 offers; lunchtime, early week, all week, online, for families, for individuals, for collection and delivery.

Which one do you think works best?

I have no idea. But I'll bet you 1 thing:

If Domino's marketing department is worth its salt, they're testing every single one.

Because if they're not, they're leaving dough (sorry) on the table.

Now let's take a look at the other side ...


So what's good about this side?

Well, here are 2 things I spotted:

  • Prominent offer.

  • Lots of different ways to order - the more ways you give people to get in touch, the more that will.

Although I'd have started with phone, web and shop. Not Facebook and Twitter.

I think they could have shown a better, more enticing pizza though. Don't you?

Compare this pitiful pepperoni with the far more appealing pizza on the front cover.

Looks a lot nicer doesn't it?

And what on earth is the wheelying scooter rider, menacingly waving a pizza box all about?

He's certainly not the chap I want delivering my dinner. Do they actually employ such hooligans?

But the piece on this page which - hands down - wins my wrath is The Domino's Promise.

I can't stand the opening line:

The most insanely delicious pizzas

After all, what does a pizza have to do with losing your marbles?

But at least it is a promise of sorts.

Unlike the rest of the drivel they then write. Such as:

Intrepid delivery drivers

For goodness sake. These people aren't delivering under enemy shelling. Or at risk from snipers.

They're bringing my food to my house. I know people say the area's gone downhill a bit recently ... but intrepid? Really?

Now what about your marketing?

Are you testing offers ... giving people lots of ways to get in touch ...

... or are you banging on about your intrepid delivery drivers?

Maybe you'd like my help?

If you would - and it can be with any part of your marketing - just email me.

You won't get a stream of autoresponder messages. Just me getting in touch with you.

And please remember, you're not committed to anything if you do.

So why not do it right now?

If you liked this, you should sign up for the LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising Tips from Franchise-Info newsletter.

Or, for more information on the Franchise-Info Business Directory, call Joe at 1-443-502-2636 or email Joe direct [email protected]

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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