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Strategies for Grabbing Attention on Social Media

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Two family-run convenience retail businesses — one a single-store operator, the other a chain — have social media success commonalities that they learned through trial and error. 

Anthony Perrine, president of single-store Lou Perrine’s Gas and Groceries, which has been in business for 60-plus years in Kenosha, Wis., and Ariel Rubin, director of communications for Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go LC, with 400 stores in 11 states, shared their different-in-details, but similar-in-theory social media stories during the recent NACS Crack the Code Experience.

Perrine said it took him about three years to get well-known in Kenosha on social media, trying out all the different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) and many different scenarios.

What first stuck with his audience was when he transformed himself into a social media “persona,” simply by donning sunglasses and one of his store’s hats backwards, and boasting out his name, “It’s your boy, Anthony Perrine…” and doing a “schtick like the ShamWow guy,” he relayed.

Then, two years ago, fate intervened. A thief, determined by Perrine not to be an employee or customer of the store, robbed the hotel next door to Lou Perrine’s and was caught on camera wearing one of the store’s hoodies, where it was written on the back: I (Heart) HO HO CAKE.

Local news anchors started making a joke on the air, “What’s a Ho Ho Cake?” So, Perrine took to Twitter to explain. Mama P’s Ho Ho Cake was created by Perrine mother for his eighth birthday; it’s a chocolate cake with a white cream middle layer, topped with fudge frosting. It’s become an icon of the store.

Working with local authorities, Perrine offered a “sweet reward” for whoever could turn the bandit in — free Ho Ho Cake for a year. The story went viral, “and the rest is history,” he recalled. “That’s how we came to social media fame in southeast Wisconsin.”

The way Perrine sees it, social media is just telling a story and, unlike other forms of media, you get to interact with your customer while doing it. “It’s not about being super creative, it’s about reusing what’s out there,” he said. “Everything we do has to fit what we’re doing and what we’re about. It’s also about being culturally relevant and edgy, being fun and informative. It’s a constant bombardment on social media to stay on top of their mind. We try to create ourselves as a unique destination of a place.”

Case in point: For the store’s 64th birthday, Perrine dreamed up an idea with his friend who owns a tattoo shop. For the first 50 people who got a tattoo of a Ho Ho Cake or the store’s logo, Perrine’s would pay for the tattoo and give the tattooed customer a free Ho Ho Cake every time they came into the store.

“I thought it would be a bust. I thought people would say I’m silly,” said Perrine.

But on 5 a.m. the Monday of the promotion, he received a call from his tattoo-parlor friend who told him, “You’ve got to get here, cars are lined up everywhere.”

Because 150 people showed up, Perrine extended the promotion to the first 100 people.

“I’m a big brand guy and I consider this a success because you don’t see a lot of people with Sam’s Club logos tattooed on them or Kwik Trip,” he said.

Learning From Your Mistakes

Perrine admits that he sometimes has a tendency to “go a little bit too far,” but says he has learned great lessons from his mistakes.

For instance, at Christmastime, he came up with the “25 Days of Christmas” promotion featuring Little Lou, the naughty elf. “I had a genius idea for World Orgasm Day, December 22. I decided to get elfy to promote condoms and promote the day,” Perrine said. “It went well everywhere but Facebook; a group of Catholics were offended and came after me. It became a war on social media.”

He immediately reacted by responding publicly to the complaints even though he left the image up. He reached out personally to the woman who spearheaded the protest, inviting her to meet with him on Christmas Eve, which she did.

“I gave her the time of day. I told her I was sorry and didn’t mean to be offensive, and that I wasn’t going to take the post down, but I’d listen to her and would take down the posts from people who criticized her,” said Perrine. “And of course, I gave her Ho Ho Cake. Now, she comes in all the time as a customer.”

Moving forward, Perrine said he’s vowed to “run everything through my wife and manager first.”

He also came to realize that ideas like World Orgasm Day play well on Instagram and Twitter because of their younger-generation audience. “Facebook is an older generation who didn’t appreciate it,” he said.

Where the Conversation Is Happening

At Kum & Go, social media is now “where the conversation is happening,” according to Rubin.

“It’s a fascinating space to really engage with customers,” he said. “You can put anything on there and find out immediately what’s working and what’s not.”

Until recently, Kum & Go didn’t have a real voice on social media; the retailer merely used the platforms for marketing and advertising. But in 2019, Rubin said they went in a different direction, using A/B testing and then in 2020, they “ran with it,” partly in the form of merchandise giveaways.

“I can’t express enough how merch takes the online experience offline and lets people own a piece of what you do,” he said, noting that these giveaways are in the form of low-cost backpacks, fanny packs, sunglasses and visors. “You get people to advertise your business for free.”

The company also decided to use social media as a way to “stand up” in a difficult year. “Culture is happening every day and we want to put Kum & Go at the center of cultural moments,” said Rubin. “It’s the job of a good social media professional or team to insert your brand into that conversation.”

The numbers don’t lie — Kum & Go went from 19,000 followers on Twitter a year ago to more than 42,000 today, and from zero followers on TikTok to 66,000 followers currently.

Rubin offered up 10 tips for fellow retailers looking to truly expand their social media conversation:

  1. Use influencers to build long-term partnerships. Influencer collaboration can work if it is a well-matched influencer to your brand. You also must consider the platform being used.
  2. Consider celebrity engagement, especially celebrities near your brand. “We send our swag to famous people strategically — those who we like and who like us. We send T-shirts; they tweet about it or use our name in a podcast. They are a friend of the brand. It’s all free and it builds goodwill.”
  3. Make the merch work. Kum & Go’s philosophy is “make cool merch, win cool customers.” Giveaways inspire social media conversations and build loyalty. Kum & Go recently gave away a needlepoint with the inscription: “Tis better to have kum and gone than never to kum and go at all.”
  4. Test new and emerging platforms like TikTok. To capture and connect with 16- to 22 year-olds, Kum & Go hired a 19-year-old Gen Z specialist to manage platforms like TikTok.
  5. Tweet to the next level. Kum & Go uses humor and storytelling on Twitter to win over both new associates and new customers.
  6. Go offline. It’s not all about online conversations. Kum & Go brings the same “digital hype and energy” to its store openings, with 100 fanny packs typically given out by 7 a.m. Kids camp out for the openings.
  7. Stand for something. “We use our social platform and privilege to amplify marginalized voices, be loud allies, and support causes that matter to us,” said Rubin. “When we have something important to say, we find a fun way to say it. People really engage with this stuff.” Recently, Kum & Go posted: “we don’t mind if you want to laugh at our name. we get it. kum. but one thing we won’t tolerate on our platform is rape apologist language. any slut-shaming, sexism, or misogyny in the comments is going to get you blocked. love, kum & go.”
  8. Engage in a deeper way. Kum & Go believes that if you help people get through something important to them, they will become a fan for life. And so, the retailer believes in deepening its relationship with its audience. According to Rubin, “not only are we communicating with our audience, we are also listening, incorporating their ideas into fun campaigns and giveaways.”
  9. Promote chainwide and local happenings. Kum & Go utilizes social media to promote its business as it evolves offerings and operations, such as curbside delivery or gas-pumping service.
  10. Make mistakes. This is the only way you’re going to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Try things. They won’t always work, but this is how you find your voice and ultimately build your audience. “You have to be willing to screw up. Trust your social media people. Let them make mistakes. The failures are just as informative as the wins — maybe even more so.”

The NACS Crack the Code Experience was a five-week digital event that brought together convenience store industry retailers and suppliers virtually in lieu of an in-person NACS Show this year. It ran from early November to early December.

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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