The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Big Solutions for Every Business in Maine

President of CORE Solutions, Heather Veilleux.

What do New York, Maine and Ohio have in common? President of CORE Solutions and this week’s Maine Maven, Heather Veilleux, has called all of them home. While she has enjoyed each of them, Heather says, “The truth is, my plan was to move back to Maine all along.”

Veilleux adds that although it was hard to make the decision to move back to Augusta from New York City,  it was also a very exciting opportunity. She says, “Maine has more space to grow and more ways to be unique.”

Maine also has, by far, a much slower and steadier pace. While living in New York, Heather was working three jobs as a real estate agent at Bold New York by day, and a waitress at LongHorn Steakhouse in New Jersey and Marseille in New York City by night, and the occasional weekend gig through Total Entertainment! Not to mention that she was also juggling classes at Berkeley College and remotely creating her own start-up business. How did she do it? Veilleux says, “I realized that I simply didn’t have the time to go to class, so I began taking online classes. Ultimately, this allowed me to start and run a business that would eventually be located in Maine.”

Heather on a trip to Africa last year with the Flying Kites Global. Former Maine Maven, Ashley Underwood was also on this trip.

We hate to get political, but it’s hard to ignore that Heather’s life became consumed with politics shortly after she moved back to Maine last fall. Her fiancé (then boyfriend), Matthew Pouliot, announced that he would be running for office. “Little did I know what a great ride we were in for,” she says, and it would become a great inspiration for her re-evaluation of her business, Heels to Healing.

Through designing and planning advertisements and social media outreach during the campaign, Veilleux realized that there was an opportunity to help small businesses in the area using the same tactics. Heels to Healing was originally created to raise money through events for other nonprofits, but she realized that this model was making her business into a small United Way.

“I felt that rebranding and creating a for-profit business with a strong social mission was a better way to run a business and help my community,” says Veilleux about the change. With a new outlook and the creation of CORE Solutions, her goal is to help other businesses and organizations by offering services that they may not be able to have without hiring a full-time employee and/or hiring multiple companies. CORE Solutions offers high value for a low cost in assisting with event planning, fundraising, marketing and more.

CORE Solutions is an Augusta-based company offering quality business solutions that are designed to fit every budget.

CORE Solution’s signature event is the semi-annual Maine’s Fashion Night Out (MFNO). Originally created as a starting point for Heels to Healing, the event incorporates all of Heather’s favorite things: fashion, music, dance and central Maine! That’s right, it’s located right here in Augusta. Veilleux says, “I feel that central Maine is deprived when it comes to big events, especially in fashion. I live in Augusta and grew up in Hallowell, and I want to be a part of its growth.”

The mission of MFNO is to bring together the community, to promote local business and nonprofit organizations, and to network. They are currently looking for sponsors and volunteers—check out out www.MainesFNO.com for more information on how you can get involved and/or purchase your ticket for their upcoming event at the Armory.

To contact Heather, you may follow her on Twitter @coremaine, like her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/coremaine, or email her heather@coremaine.com.

Websites and Social Media: Why Use Both?

Hi, Erika here. Recently, we featured an article about the value of having mobile-friendly websites and it got me thinking…

You have a website for your customers and it’s even a mobile-friendly website, but what about social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest?

Websites focus on business and sales

Today, more than ever, people judge your business based on its online presence. For example, if you’re planning a trip to Disney World, you are going to Google them. When you do, you will find their website, Facebook, and trip ideas in the immediate results. Why? Because they want you to know that you can trust them to make your experience as easy and fun as possible; they take the stress out of it.

Facebook focuses on people

Think of your business as Disney World. No, you don’t have to dress up in costumes or invest in a magic Kingdom, but you should dress up your business with an awesome website and invest in the magic world of the Web through a social media site like Facebook.

Pinterest categorizes interests of Disney visitors

The easier it is to find your business, the more likely people are to give you their business. You take yourself and your business seriously, so express that on your website. Your website should be based on informing potential customers about what you have to offer, and it should be sales driven. The use of a social media site, like Facebook, is your way to make your business human.

Twitter provides a live stream of information

Think of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as the cafeteria in high school. It’s where people discuss the latest gossip and juiciest rumors. You want to be involved in those conversations, especially when it comes to your business. Join the conversation. It not only increases awareness, it makes you more likable and if there is one thing we know for certain—people buy from companies they know, like and trust.

So how do you know what social media sites are right for you?

Facebook: This is the truly universal site when it comes to promoting your business. It’s a classic that never seems to go out of style.  It is well established, has the most online users, and people trust it.

Facebook makes it incredibly easy to connect with hundreds of people in a single post and features private messaging options that are great for handling customer complaints and/or concerns.

Twitter: Twitter is also universal, but is usually most effective in driving traffic to another site or post. It can be great for reaching out to new clients or business professionals. You can retweet their posts to get their attention. The only problem is making your message clear in 140 characters or less.

While Twitter is great for spreading a message and starting conversations, it offers the owner of the page very little control once a Tweet has been made.

Pinterest: Do you work in an industry or offer products that are best demonstrated by images? If so, then Pinterest could be a great resource for your business. It makes it easy to share images, and you are easily able to link images to your site. You can also follow other local businesses and re-pin their pictures.

Pinterest is a great tool for creating streaming images that are easy to update and can even be used in an e-commerce market by linking images to your website order page.

Blog: If you are an expert in your field a blog is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge. You can offer weekly features and develop a high level of readership. Blogs are a great tool for forming a better relationship with your customers/consumers.

Blogs can easily be linked with ANY of the social media sites listed above, as well as with your company website.

 

No matter the exposure your business needs social media is well-equipped to make it happen!

 

 

Going Mobile: No Longer Optional

Erik Goranson, senior associate consultant at Bain & Company

The world is going mobile!

If you’re as dependent on your smart phone as I am, you know that sense of panic and dread when you misplace your phone.  Every day, people are becoming more dependent on their phones for everything from emails to Facebook updates to gaming and news. People are factoring in that a mobile presence is no longer optional and this week’s Monday Maven Erik Goranson, a senior associate consultant for Bain & Company, an international consulting firm, discusses this trend and the importance of mobile access for businesses.

In our post on PR Disasters, we discussed the evolving media landscape and how fast a single post or idea can go viral. Erik agrees saying, “customers today consume more media and information than ever before and they share that information even faster.”  Even though there is risk in social media and sharing, he adds that if businesses fail to connect socially today they may never be able to reach those consumers again.

His work at Bain includes running the Atlanta office’s Technology Mentorship Program (TMP) with his colleague Just Major. The focus of TMP follows a reverse-mentorship model, allowing the associate consultants to mentor their senior leadership on the latest trends in technology. Goranson says, “when we surveyed the leadership group we found they were most interested in learning more about social media, mobile apps, and search engine optimization (SEO).”

ExpApp allows you to get better seats at your favorite sports events.

This shift to mobile devices and apps is being recognized by Fortune 500 companies and they understand that as this occurs, they are going to need to determine how to incorporate social media into the core of their business models. This is where Bain comes into play. Goranson says, “we live and breathe in a world of data, but we also focus on the qualitative side of the business and social media straddles both realms.” He gives the example that a financial service company shouldn’t be concerned with Facebook likes alone, but in how they can leverage Facebook to better interact with their current and potential customers.

A self-proclaimed fan of social media, Goranson even dabbled in blogging (currently discontinued), but ultimately ended up putting that passion to use with his work at Experience. The company focuses on sports fans and how to improve their experience. Goranson’s role is focused on the start-up’s revenue management and optimization through the development of software, data analytics and strategic price planning.

Screenshot of Experience App on your mobile device.

Since Experience is a mobile-first company, they thrive on page real estate. Erik says that since mobile pages are so much smaller, the key to mobile success is learning to create simple, yet rich Web pages. He believes that a company must have a well-developed mobile page, but should consider an app, too. Goranson says, “apps are perfect, self-contained environments that can handle a lot of back-end processing and offer your customers a better experience.”

So what does Erik say to businesses that are wary of mobile and social media sites? He says, “Bain taught me that data doesn’t lie. My mantra is ABT—always be testing. Data proves that if a current or potential customer cannot find your business online today then you are in serious trouble,” he says.  He adds that consumers are proving to be less brand loyal than ever before. They are quick to bounce to a competitor’s site if they find it more easily accessible. He adds, “you don’t necessarily need to conduct commerce via mobile devices and social media sites, but some sort of Web app or site with strong SEO is no longer optional.”

Erik Goranson is originally from Maine, but currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information or to reach out to Erik feel free to email him at erik.goranson@gmail.com or you can also connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

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Does Social Media Belong to PR or Marketing?

I just read a great post on AdRants about whether Social Media should fall under the domain of the PR people or the Marketing people. The  more I learn about Social Media, the more I believe it is totally a logical extension of the PR function. Continue reading “Does Social Media Belong to PR or Marketing?” »