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Social Media Q&A: Do I Need a Website?

Really? Why do I need a website?

You’re a small business owner. You juggle a lot, and you operate on a shoestring. And when you’re looking for ways to cut costs, you might ask yourself:

“I have a Facebook page and a blog. Is it really necessary to have a website too?”

Yes. It’s the cost of doing business in this day and age and you can do it without breaking the bank.

 

Why?

A few of the most important reasons.

  1. CREDIBILITY!!! If you want people to take your organization seriously, you need to have a legitimate website. It doesn’t have to be large scale, but it does need to be there, be modern and be up to date. In this day and age, your website is ONE of your virtual business cards, only with a much greater and wider reach. It’s also your brochure, your product manual, your demonstration, your resume and your virtual storefront.

Why else?

  1. The number of potential customers who are online is so much bigger than the number who aren’t. You make your business available to more people with 24-7 access by putting it online. Even for businesses that are extremely local in scope, a lot more potential customers are going to run across you online than by physically walking past your building, or taking your business card. For sheer visibility to potential customers, you need a website.

Any other reasons?

  1. With a website, you’re always available to your customers. You can provide them what they need during business hours and off hours too. You provide information about your business and about your products and services that can answer their questions. You can tell your story. And a website gives customers a way to contact you if they need to know more.

What makes a good website?

Your website is often the first impression people have of your company. Make sure the content is well labeled, well organized, tidy, grammatically checked and uncluttered. No typos.

Make sure it tells the story you want to tell. Include an About page, so that the customer can make a connection with you, your history, and your story. It humanizes your business, and lets you connect with the customer on a personal basis, even though you’re not face to face.

FUN FACT: The About page is one of the most visited pages on a website.

 

With your website, you give your business credibility. So, do you really need a website?

Yes. Yes you do.

CEDIA Talks Feature Top Industry Visionaries in TED-Style Talk Series

CEDIA Talks Feature Top Industry Visionaries in TED-Style Talk Series

Are you going to CEDIA 2016, the world’s premier showcase for home technology? While you peruse the latest and greatest in home automation, renewable technologies, smart home renovation, and cutting-edge entertainment technology, we invite you to join visionary industry experts who have been hand-selected to deliver 20 minute “TED”-like talks. Learn about emerging trends and home technology integration in the expo hall, CEDIA booth #4710.

Laura Mitchell, founder of LMC and co-founder of connected health veteran, GrandCare Systems, will be presenting on the topic of “Disruption: How Enabling Technologies are Addressing the Aging Tsunami.” Laura has spent over a decade pioneering and helping to drive awareness to the “digital health” market and the enabling technologies designed to address and empower this market.

Learn about the latest industry trends and the products poised to change everything. Topics will include crisis management, medication, activity monitoring, connected health, caregiving robots and more. Learn about the future of caregiving technology and how you can get in front of these trends as a reseller/dealer of caregiving products.

Laura will speak at 11am on September 15th live from the CEDIA booth. Thursday, September 15
11:00am – 11:20am
CEDIA Booth #4710
Free to all CEDIA expo attendees!

The CEDIA conference runs from September 13th through 17th, with the exhibit hall open from the 15th through the 17th.

Laura Mitchell Selected to Present at Louisville Innovation Summit

Laura Mitchell Selected to Present at Louisville Innovation Summit

When you think of Louisville, you probably think of horses, bourbon, and bluegrass. But you may not realize that Louisville is also a world center for aging care innovation. With 23,000 employed in the field, and $50 billion in revenue, Louisville has the nation’s largest concentration of aging care companies. And it is the home of the Louisville Innovation Summit.

In its third year, the Louisville Innovation Summit is the defining national event in the aging care industry, bringing together 500 healthcare executives, technology entrepreneurs, industry experts, and thought leaders, to provide insight, share expertise, and explore new avenues to create the future of aging care.

Laura Mitchell is proud to be a member of the advisory board for this conference, and a speaker at this year’s event.

As baby boomers retire, the nation’s population of seniors is expanding rapidly, and innovation in providing care for the aging is crucial. This summit was created to help redefine the future of aging care, to open new avenues, identify more resources, foster innovation, and encourage new approaches to aging care to help serve this growing population and the challenge it represents.

A collaborative event presented by many of the nation’s leading healthcare organizations, the program includes distinguished keynote speakers, panel discussions with prominent guests, Innovation Spotlights from health tech startups from around the world, and an Innovation Competition.

The Summit also hosts a Startup Pitch Event. Each year, entrepreneurs in the senior care or digital health industries are invited to pitch to the summit’s attendees, which include large contingents of angel investors, and C-level executives at major healthcare/senior care companies.

The presenters who are selected to pitch receive publicity for their budding companies among decision makers and industry leaders. Two winners will be selected, one national and one from Kentucky, to receive cash prizes, and the chance to work with a major corporate sponsor for guidance and product pilots. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 29th at 11:59pm CST.

The Louisville Innovation Summit will be held October 9-11, 2016 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown, in Louisville, KY. For more info: www.lisummit.com.

LMC Donates Marketing Expertise: Now Meet Our Winner

LMC Donates Marketing Expertise: Now Meet Our Winner

The Envelope Please…

We like to give back to our community, so when we had the chance to donate something to a local charity auction, we decided to donate our time and our small business/strategic growth and marketing expertise. We were excited to help out a small, local company here in West Bend by offering a consultation. It was intriguing to us to see if they had done growth hacking and some of the guerrilla marketing techniques that we love.

Here’s the thing. You might think that we have a lot of preconceived notions when it comes to our clients. But we generally don’t. When you come to LMC, we don’t take anything for granted. We want to know who you are, what you’re selling and where you see your company going. We don’t decide that for you. We talk. We listen to what you have to say. Because in order to take you where you want to go, we have to meet you where you are and roadmap the journey together.

But we confess. We did carry some preconceived notions when we donated to this charity auction. We had no idea if we would be starting from scratch with the local business owner. We guessed that it might be a brand new seed start up that needed everything. We wondered if the company would have any marketing expertise, or a marketing budget, and what kind of education in strategic growth that the small organization would have. Frankly, we’d expected to provide the most basic support and infrastructure for starting up.

Boy were we wrong.

The winner was Dr. Krysti Wick, owner of River Shores Chiropractic. And the first thing we learned about Krysti is that she is not a stranger to marketing. Not at all. She has a detailed website. She’s active on Facebook, and she does sponsored posts. She strategically picks her targets.

And that’s interesting. When you pick your targets on Facebook, it means you already know who your target market is. And Krysti certainly does. When we asked her who she is trying to reach with her business, she knew. She knows what types of jobs they have, what they like to do in their spare time, and where they spend their money.

She also knows who her competitors are. And, she knows how she’s differentiating herself. She knows how she is targeting the market for chiropractic services differently, because she knows who she is, and who her audience is.

For example, she knows that her focus is on wellness and preventative health. Like her competitors she does pain management, but one of the things that makes her a little different is this wellness focus. And it’s reflected in her customers. While her customer base is diverse, on average they’re people who care about, and invest money in, good health. They’re folks who buy organic produce and local foods. They breastfeed their babies and use cloth diapers.

Because Krysti is already thinking about these things, it means that when we sit down for our marketing consultation, we can start much further down the marketing path. When we sit down with her this week to ask her where she wants to go with her business, she’ll get a lot from the meeting, because she already knows where she is. And she did it without a huge marketing budget.

Laura Mitchell Consulting is a strike team of marketing and growth strategy experts. If you’re ready to grow, contact us at info@lmcllc.us. We’d love to help.

 

The Battle Continues: Hootsuite vs. Buffer

The Battle Continues: Hootsuite vs. Buffer

What is a social media scheduling platform?

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 1.33.12 PMA scheduling platform provides marketers the opportunity to schedule posts ahead of time for most major social media sites. Photos, videos, links, and text posts can all be scheduled in advance for a number of popular social networking sites. Scheduling nearly eliminates the need to constantly post to and monitor social media sites. Just-in-time marketing is difficult, so scheduling platforms provide a way for business owners to keep organizational profiles from going dark when other priorities require attention.

Do I need a scheduling platform?

In an age where trending topics and news topics are constantly changing and authenticity is a goal, scheduling social media may feel wrong. However, with careful planning and strategic posting, scheduling platforms can be lifesaving for busy business owners and marketing teams.

 

Larger organizations with entire social media departments may use these platforms to manage multiple products and pages, assign tasks to team members, respond to mentions/complaints on the various social media sites, and measure analytics (how well their posts are doing and how audiences are responding).

 

Smaller organizations use these platforms to sort of “set it and forget it.” That is, they may schedule facebook, Linkedin and Twitter posts far in advance, do auto posting for blogs and web content, and primarily focus energy on running their business and driving sales.

 

Which sites should I post to?

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 1.33.23 PMIt really depends on your customer and where they are. How old are they? Are they female or male? Are you selling directly to the consumer or B2B?  LMC always recommends a blog with relevant, interesting and engaging topics that involve your ideal customers and product offering categories.

Direct to Consumer: Facebook Page, Twitter (for customer service), each employee should have a LinkedIn profile for networking. Instagram is a younger demographic, Snapchat even younger. Pinterest is typically 40+ women.

Business to Business: Facebook Page (mandatory for even B2B), LinkedIn profiles for each employee (networking) and a LinkedIn business page. Twitter can be great for networking at conferences and providing customer support. Twitter can be especially effective for conference chatting using the official conference hashtag (see #DigitalHealthCES for an example).

Use a scheduling platform like Hootsuite or Buffer to create a stream of content that will auto-publish to Facebook. However, Facebook doesn’t love third-party apps and have made that clear when you compare the reach from scheduling sites vs. native posting. Posts see better organic reach when they are natively created and scheduled on Facebook itself. Stay away from using anything external (whether that be Hootsuite or Buffer) to post to Facebook. Most other social media sites aren’t as picky, however. YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, for example, treat all content equally for the most part.

 

Hootsuite vs. Buffer: Similarities and Differences

Similarities: Both Hootsuite and Buffer offer relatively similar scheduling and publishing options, with mobile apps and browser plugins for easy sharing. Interestingly, both Buffer and Hootsuite offer RSS integration, which means it can auto post to other social networks sites and/or your website. So, whenever a new post is published from a source, that post could be pushed to all relevant social networking sites with one button.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 1.33.32 PMHootsuite Benefits: Hootsuite is a more complete content management solution than Buffer. Whereas Buffer is strictly for capturing and scheduling content, Hootsuite is a complete social media management tool. Organizations can have teams, assign tasks to specific users, and publish content to a wider variety of sites (YouTube, Instagram, etc.). You can actually interact with all of your social media streams in one place, an option that Buffer doesn’t offer. This means that you can see who is commenting on your facebook, who retweeted your comment, like someone’s facebook post and see what’s happening on Linkedin, all in one place. Hootsuite offers analytics for social media platforms themselves, which are incredibly useful to see what’s working and what’s not. Reports can also be automatically generated for each social media site.

 

Buffer Benefits: Buffer has a close relationship with IFTTT (IF This Then That), which can be used to automate almost anything. Schedule posts more quickly, set reminders for your team, catalog your emails, create recurring tasks, sync items through the cloud, or track and time your digital habits. For example, you can use IFTTT to create a new row in a Google Sheets document each time one of your business profiles posts a tweet or status update. This is a useful way to keep a record of everything your organization posts, and it takes exactly zero effort.

 

In addition, Buffer appears to be much more Apple friendly. The Hootsuite app on iOS is often glitchy and ineffective. Buffer only offers analytics for the posts you schedule on the platform, not for the social media platforms themselves. This is an important distinction. Want to know what kind of impact your posts are having on your profile as a whole, even if you didn’t schedule them on Buffer? You’re out of luck.

 

Which tool is right for your organization? Need more help? Let Laura Mitchell Consulting help. Contact us at info@lmcllc.us or visit us at www.lmcllc.us. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+!

 

I’ve Got the Conch

I’ve Got the Conch

No one has never accused me of being shy. It’s true, I love to talk and socialize. I love networking, having conversations with smart people and, most of all, I love to speak in front of people about topics that I know well. (I’m even willing to speak on topics I know nothing about, but I wouldn’t advise engaging me on those.)  

I like helping people understand things like Disruptive Technologies and the Aging Tsunami, Guerrilla & Growth Marketing in the Digital World, Remote Patient Monitoring, Connected Health and a variety of other industry-related topics. But it’s not just about speaking in front of crowds that motivates me. It’s what happens after. These events become the start of a conversation, and often the start of a relationship. The same goes for participating on panel discussions.

I’m opening up the door to engagement and I want to talk with you. I have shared what I know, but I want you to share what you know, too. What happens next is up to you. I love taking questions afterward. And after that, things get even better when I have a chance to mingle with attendees one-on-one. Best of all? The people who are not shy about telling me I’ve missed something important. They don’t just keep me on my toes, they make me better.

If your organization is interested in having me start a conversation at your event, let me know. “Yes, I’d love to come and speak at your event” is one of my favorite things to say. And unless I’m otherwise engaged, I’d love to say yes to you. To see me in action at my various speaking gigs, check out the LMC YouTube channel. If you like what you see, drop me a line at info@lmcllc.us, or find me on Facebook and LinkedIn. #LMCMktg @laurahmitchell

Follow Laura Mitchell Consulting on LinkedIn.

Laura Mitchell Returns As Judge for 25th Annual Mature Media Awards

Laura Mitchell Returns As Judge for 25th Annual Mature Media Awards

The 25th Annual New Product & Technology Awards (NPTA) competition, the largest awards program of its kind, will be taking place in Libertyville, IL Civic Center on July 6-8. Laura Mitchell will return for the second year to judge this innovative and inspirational event. Laura and another member of the LMC team will be judging on Friday July 8th from 1 – 5pm in the beautiful Civic Center in Illinois.Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 2.59.14 PM

The National Mature Media Awards is the nation’s largest awards program that annually recognizes the best marketing, communications, educational materials and programs for adults age 50 and older. Laura will be helping to assess Aging Service Providers such as AARP & Senior Housing Communities & Marketing Companies on Entry Categories such as:

Marketing & Communications, Publications/Editorial, Education/Training Programs, Mature Work & Retirement, Art/Design, and Web-based & Mobile Resources, Health Promotion & Wellness, Caregiving, Home and Community Based Programs.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 2.59.29 PMEntries will be judged by Division and Category. Using a rating scale of 1 to 100, a panel of mature market experts will judge the entries based on format, content, creativity, relevance and overall quality. Judges’ scores will be totalled and averaged. Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Merit certificates may be awarded by Division and Category based on these averaged scores. All judges’ decisions are final. Entries cannot be returned. Winning entries may be used for promotional purposes. Award packets will be sent in June.

What is the Mature Market Resources Center?

According to www.seniorawards.com, “The Mature Market Resource Center (MMRC), organizer of both the National Mature Media Awards and the New Product & Technology Awards, is a national clearinghouse for the older adult market. Other well-known MMRC programs include: National Senior Health & Fitness Day® and the Mature Fitness Awards USA.

For more information about Laura or Laura Mitchell Consulting, please visit www.lmcllc.us or email us at info@lmcllc.us.

Laura Mitchell Chosen as Digital Health Expert for PricewaterhouseCoopers California HealthCare Workshop

Laura Mitchell Chosen as Digital Health Expert for PricewaterhouseCoopers California HealthCare Workshop

Laura Mitchell has been selected for her digital health expertise to present at the USC Marshall School of Business and PricewaterhouseCoopers HealthCare event in southern California.  The California Healthcare Operations and Technology Leaders Workshop, held on June 16th, is an invitation-only experience and is limited to only 40 participants from healthcare organizations across Southern California.  

The workshop brings together a blue ribbon group of California healthcare professionals to focus on organizational responses to the healthcare disruptions that have been identified as key issues by the Health Research Institute. The mission is to identify and share operational tactics to manage these disrupters, which include the shifting of risk to providers, the shift toward retail health insurance, new payment models, and technology innovations at the point of care.

The participants in conjunction with the subject matter specialists will seek to connect organizational tactics and solutions in the new health economy to improve on three core topics, Digital Health, Clinical Big Data and Patient Experience.

Laura will be joined by fellow digital health experts, Andy Sofield and Rani Radhakrishnan for this engaging opportunity in healthcare and innovation.

You Punks…Get Off My Ellipses!

You Punks…Get Off My Ellipses!

The rise of ellipses (…) in Internet-age communications is as fascinating as it is controversial. Some see it as a lazy stand-in for proper punctuation like periods and commas. Others see it as a way to make texts and emails more like speech in an age where what we write is more conversational and subject to immediate back and forth. I think it’s probably both. What I found really interesting, though, is the degree to which millennials reject them. I needed to know more, so I went directly to the source for intel.

“It just makes you sound middle aged,” said one quirky millennial. “Old people use them in weird ways that don’t make sense,” quipped another. “I can always tell someone’s age by their use of ellipses,” piped in a third. One righteous young punctuarian scolds us older folks for using ellipses–in Forbes, no less.

I personally know a teenage girl who always knows when her friend’s mother has been texting on her friend’s behalf: the presence of proper spelling…and the repeated use of ellipses. (Dead giveaway, Mrs. Miller!)

However, millennials feel about them, here’s my defense of our beloved ellipses: when used well, they can have an effect on how the reader hears the written content. It’s designed to be a “and then” or the thought of something leading somewhere, or… a dramatic pause.  We “old people” really care about how the content is received, in addition to how we present it.

I find myself utilizing ellipses in marketing communications such as splash emails, Facebook posts or blogs to direct the reader on how it’s meant to sound, in a very conversational manner. However, I also tend to market to an “older” demographic for my companies as well, so…there’s that…. (ok, fine, so that was a bit of an unnecessary and guilty ellipses usage).

But if it’s true that we oldsters began using our beloved three-dot mark out of a desire to mimic the spoken word, then wouldn’t the same pressures exert themselves on younger people as well? Why do they resist the siren song of the mighty ellipsis? Maybe there’s something else at work here. Maybe they simply say what they mean without dramatic pauses or ‘to be continued’ hesitations.

Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tell you why this age/ellipsis difference exists, or at least provide a plausible theory. But the truth is…I got nothing. At the time of this writing, I remain curious and puzzled.

Oh, mighty ellipsis, just…why…?

Laura Mitchell Selected as Keynote Speaker for 26th Annual Aging Well Conference

Laura Mitchell Selected as Keynote Speaker for 26th Annual Aging Well Conference

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.32.10 PMI love speaking at trade shows and other events. I get to speak on a wide range of topics including enabling technologies, the aging population, connected health, guerrilla marketing, selling to the fragmented aging population, etc.  Not only do I get to share my experience and knowledge of the aging & tech industry, but I also get to meet tons of interesting and truly passionate people all over the country.

When the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Aging Well Conference asked me to be a keynote speaker for their conference, I was excited to accept.  Not only because the conference agenda looked fantastic, but also because it happens to be right here in my backyard in sunny Wisconsin.  In such a booming industry, it’s typical for me to jump on a plane and fly across the country to slumber and speak. This one is just a short car ride away in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

This is the 26th annual Aging Well Conference. For nearly three decades, this event has been bringing attention to the important issues surrounding gerontology and its best practices. And the event is not just for professional caregivers. It also offers information valuable to family caregivers and older adults themselves. It sounds like a well-rounded conference and I look forward to learning from it.

Case in point: the other featured speakers who will be joining me. Barbara Bendlin, an Associate Professor of Medicine at UW-Madison, and the Principal Investigator at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, will be speaking about how to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Jim Vanden Bosch is the founder and Executive Director of Terra Nova Films. He is the producer of several award-winning films on aging issues, and how to successfully communicate and work with people living with dementia. Plus there is an extensive list of breakout sessions and workshop speakers.

If you’re in the Great Lakes region, you should come! It’s happening Friday, June 3rd in Kenosha, WI. Here’s a link with all the details. Obviously, if you do go please stop me and say hi!  See you in Kenosha.

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