Working in communications, particularly in a resource-stretched federal agency, requires tempered expectations. Pitches fall flat. Events garner scant coverage. Opportunities get away. But, if you find that you have more failures than successes, it might not just be bad luck. You may have skipped the foundational work required for regular success. You developed a plan for implementing a list of communication tasks; you needed a strategic communications action plan.

There’s a reason why successful strategic communications plans begin with the RPIE (Research, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation) process; it works, as testified to by the Public Relations Society of America. Traditional (and often unsuccessful) communications plans tend only to address planning and implementation, and rather insufficiently, I might add. Most communications professionals can identify topics to talk about, plan public events, write a social media calendar or pitch a story. But that’s not a strategic communications plan. It’s hardly a plan at all.

When I think about strategic communications and the RPIE model, it brings to mind a term from baseball: repeatability. Repeatability refers to a pitcher’s delivery to the plate using the same motion, every time. It doesn’t come naturally to every pitcher. But, with practice, a repeatable delivery ensures accuracy (and helps to avoid injury). You’re putting the ball where you want it—hitting your spots, as they say—and staying away from the middle of the plate, where a good hitter will make you look bad almost every time.

By first focusing on Research, it ensures that you know the terrain. Different plans will require different types of research, some more analytical than others. But by drilling down to better understand issues, policies, needs and audiences, you’re creating a strong foundation for your strategic plan.

The RPIE model also demands a more rigorous Planning phase that identifies measurable goals, objectives, audience segments and targeted messages and strategies. Aligning all of these components and using various types of paid, earned, shared, and owned (or PESO) content will help you reach your audience on multiple levels with a direct call to action.

Only by taking those first two steps will Implementation yield effective outcomes. You’ll suddenly find that you’re reaching your intended audiences more effectively because you’re offering informed arguments and connecting with them where they live.

Finally, a meaningful Evaluation of your plan can occur because you set measurable goals. You will better understand why your plan performed a certain way and can adjust accordingly. Likewise, you can now adequately illustrate for your leadership a solid return on investment for your public affairs initiatives.

Strategic planning that follows the RPIE model is effective. It also takes time. I’ve worked in some of the busiest, most demanding communications environments on Capitol Hill. Time is precious. But moving forward without a strategic plan is wasted time and effort. When supporting federal agencies, I saw press officers hammered with media inquiries, buffeted by unkind news cycles and short on resources. But often the reason for all that frenzy is the lack of a plan. If you invest your time and resources in making one now, you’ll always find yourself ahead.

Due to the sometimes confusing and complicated nature of your work, the general public doesn’t always understand the message you want to get across. Fixing this problem requires creative thinking to develop unique ways to transform technical terminology into easily digestible, engaging content everyone can understand and want to read. See, when your audience goes from ‘huh?’ to ‘oh, I get it!’, they’re more likely to engage and that’s a huge win for you!

Tech-y subjects like number analyses, system functions and legislative action don’t always draw attention from audiences more interested in current events, such as the next big sale or what streaming show to watch. You need to make important messages stand out in a sea of cute puppy and baby videos. The content needs to drive a serial Instagram scroller to pause the way they did when a gossip magazine announced Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan broke up. It must gain engagement and reach the way the blue or gold dress took over the internet in 2015. So, that begs the question, how do you turn technical and complex topics into compelling material to capture eyeballs and encourage clicks?

First, you have to take it back to basics – do the research! You need to understand your target audience and what motivates them. Audiences, of course, can range from teenage TikTokers to parents to high-powered CEOs and any other population in between. Each one of these groups find different things that appeal to them. Find those things, note them and use them!

With this new knowledge on your audience, you should begin translating the technical language into content they will understand and actually care about. To do so, look through the text and data to find the ‘pearls’ – those key points and messages you need to tell the story and appeal to the audience. Use the story to connect the data and technical terms to them personally to tell them why they should care. Use your team to talk through the subjects because, more often than not, speaking through a complicated matter simplifies it for you and generates more ideas on how to communicate it.

As you ponder the story with your team, ask yourself two questions: what do I want the audience to know about this topic? And, what do they need to know? Ah yes, the age-old debate – wants vs. needs. Once you understand that the audience does not NEED to know everything you WANT them to know to drive them to act, you can quickly transform your jargon-riddled content into a piece that’s easier to read and understand for the layman.

With the work, research and debate complete, you need to take a trip to math class. Communicating technical subjects relies on a simple equation:

Important, Simplified Content + X = An engaged audience who gets it!

X is the makeover you give your drab technical language to make it the coolest, most popular kid at the party. Now, this elusive X can be many, MANY things. For example, X can include the use of colorful graphs to communicate technical data or illustrations and motion graphics to break up long blocks of text to create visual interest. X could also include condensing information into a cohesive series of materials or relaying information through videos or social media. Once you determine the X in the equation, your method then needs to be two-fold: grab attention and then capitalize on that moment the user has given you.

While we know it can be daunting to transform massive datasets, 13-letter words and long, descriptive paragraphs that would make a rocket scientist’s head spin into something compelling and engaging, it really is as easy as solving for X. Finding the perfect X is a team effort. It includes trial, error and collaboration – a true experiment.

Translating technical content into a story the general public can read, understand and relate to is challenging. As a writer, making personal connections and analogies to the subject matter allows for further understanding of the technical topics. If you relate to the content, you can help your readers understand it too.

Learn more about our X by checking out some of our work!

As a business owner, there’s a lot to think about these days amidst the COVID-19 virus pandemic sweeping across the world. For possibly the first time in a century, we all, together, stopped. Stopped going to school, seeing friends and family, enjoying live sports, travelling and unfortunately for some, working. We now only know an essential versus non-essential lifestyle. While businesses in both categories swiftly found solutions to modify goods and services, keeping the consumer, health and safety-first model a priority, many still face tough times as we all navigate the evolving landscape together.

At A. Bright Idea, one of our main core values focuses on flexibility. As a small business, we remain nimble to the needs of our clients, but more importantly during times like this, we show increased flexibility to the needs of our team, families and the communities we serve.

Within that same core value, we recognize the critical need to apply a proactive flexibility stance toward the future. When quarantine and stay at home orders wane, allowing people to return to work, school and normal activities, businesses small and large who start planning and investing in ways to stay relevant in the next phase now will see an easier transition when the time comes.

Here are five quick and easy tips to communicating your flexibility and proactive planning to audiences:

1. Send a personal message to your clients, partners, customers and friends letting them know how you’re doing, the decisions you made amid the crisis, words of encouragement and consultation. Sign it. Make sure it comes from you by using a personal email address. Don’t have a long email list? Mailing a note works too.
2. Leverage the power of social media and the increased digital impressions flooding the Internet to connect with consumers longing for that connection. Take the opportunity to teach people with tips and how-to posts or give advice. Share and comment on other content your audiences might find helpful. Respond to other’s posts and don’t forget to let the human element come through in your content. We’re not in a time of hard sales, but authentic connection does lead to top-of-mind relevance which can benefit sales in the future.
3. Depending on your goods and services offered, consider adapting an e-commerce option for your audience to use during this adjusted business environment. Consumers still want to make purchases and support businesses. Fortunately, getting an e-commerce function running is fairly easy with services like Shopify and Square which can seamlessly sync with your website. Your flexibility with this adjusted way to buy and interact could mean revenue build up!
4. All of this connection through personalized touchpoints, social media and e-commerce means your business website needs to appear up-to-date, eye-catching and easy to navigate. Now is a great time to tackle that website update you’ve continually put on the back burner. Consider the user experience. Look at other websites and find what you like. This does not need to mean a complete overhaul. Little tweaks can make a big difference. Just ask us – we’re constantly tweaking our site based on the needs and wants of our clients!
5. Budget for advertising! No, you don’t have to put money into advertising right now but come up with a tiered strategy that will help you launch into the next phase of business as we come out of the pandemic. Thinking about the strategy now, means you’ll be ready to put it into action when the time comes.

Trust us when we say we understand the endless thoughts and considerations that come with business management during a situation like COVID-19 but we remain encouraged ourselves by these tips to staying relevant and connected with our audiences at any time or phase. Just remember – flexibility and proactive planning. Plus, your ABI family is here to help in any way we can. You can find us on our cell phones, email and social whenever you need us!

Looking for more information about website design and features? Check out Website wisdom: The keys to a successful site.

Now more than ever, businesses use social media to promote and build trust in their brand, reach new customers, provide customer service and sell products. Individuals use social media to consume and share content, both written form (like this blog…please share it btw) and visual form, interact with friends, family and brands, meet new people and in some cases, build their personal brand.

There are a lot of fish in the social media sea, so it’s important to leverage channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to expand your business’s audience. That starts with having a strategy in place and a path forward. Here are three tips to really harness social media for everything you can:

1. Make the Most of Your Content

2. Engage with Others

3. Be Authentic

In each tip, I’ll also give some actionable takeaways for you to use right away. Let’s get started.

At the basic level, social media is free and even when it’s not free, it’s arguably the most cost-effective way to promote your brand. A consistent presence on social media allows a brand to reach people at all times of day, every day of the week.

Every business and personal brand fights for attention online so if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need effective content with a long shelf life. In other words, take whatever you’re doing and make it go further. Develop a strategy specifically catered to your piece of content that will help leverage its reach on social media.

ACTION ITEM: Think of your brand, your story, your products. Come up with a big story to tell people about your brand. Tell the story of one of your best products. Try developing that story into a written piece of content or a video. From there you can do a lot of things to squeeze as much of that juice as possible out of that big piece of content. Here’s a quick reference list:

  • Break content into smaller pieces to share on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as separate posts.
  • Create graphics for each smaller piece of content using a free software like Canva. Let the images do the talking. Shares are a great metric to measure on social and these are super-shareable on Instagram stories and Twitter.
  • Tell your stories in 15-second clips on Instagram Stories. To up the authenticity factor, use your phone to record and post (more on being authentic later).
  • Break videos into shorter vignettes and post to all channels.
  • Create a list of hashtags to use on Instagram and Twitter to help expand the reach each time you post. However, beware of banned Instagram hashtags that can downgrade your posts.


One of the easiest ways to ensure audiences know you’re legit is to talk to them. Talk to them as if they just walked in to your branch, as if they are next in line at your deli counter or if they just took a seat at your bar.

We all know social media is a communication tool. We communicate everything, the best and worst moments in our lives. But for a lot of businesses, they post content for the day and forget about it, only coming back to post more the following day, never taking the time to take their communication efforts a step further.

That’s the short game, it’s fairly easy and doesn’t take much time. But if you’re trying to build a brand using social media, play the long game. Post your content but also take time to comment, answer questions, pose follow up questions and say thanks. In fact, if you really want to measure how well any one post is doing on Facebook, for instance, see how many comments it received. At this point in the history of social, meaningful engagements are more valuable than the likes anyways.

ACTION ITEM: Talk to people using social media. By either starting conversations around a product or trend or carrying on the conversation based on comments you see from your audience, taking the time to talk to people will pay off in the long run. Here are a few things your business or brand can do to engage more with others.

  • Respond to comments on posts. In a world of people waiting to speak, it’s nice to know some people are taking the time to listen.
  • Search hashtags relevant to your brand and like/comment on posts of others.
  • Use the ‘ask a question’ feature on Instagram stories. Create a story the day after, answering some of the questions.
  • Retweet relevant content your audience might like on Twitter.
  • Share content that is meaningful to your audiences; don’t always be self-serving.


They can smell it, inauthenticity. It stinks and most people using social today recognize it quickly and move on.

Authenticity also falls in line with engaging others and can lead to increased attention for your brand.

Authenticity is #winning in 2019 and will trend that way for the foreseeable future. Why? Because in a world of fake news, fake accounts, fake lives, chatbots, AI and more, people yearn for authenticity. Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock,” wins on Instagram not simply for his rugged good looks but because he talks to his fans and lets them peek behind the curtain, just a bit, which keeps fans super engaged.

ACTION ITEM: “You do you” is a good mantra for this tip. Being authentic means being yourself and making sure your brand is represented well on social, so when a customer walks through the door, they know exactly who they are doing business with and what experience they can expect from you. Here are a few things to try to be more authentic.

  • Share in-the-moment photos of your products, your store, your employees and even your customers using Facebook and Instagram stories. Tell your audience about everything that makes your brand special.
  • Instead of always talking to people through text posts, use video. Don’t be afraid to use video, live or pre-recorded, straight from your phone, to say hi, tell people about a promotion they should check out, explain a product or even tease a new Try video content on LinkedIn. The platform has the capability, but not many people leverage video there yet. You should.
  • Share user-generated content. If someone posts about your product, at your location or mentions you on their feed, tell people about it! Consumers trust other consumers who trust you.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, you must really be serious about making changes to how you’re leveraging social media this year, which is awesome! Each of the tips I covered are important, but they don’t all have to be done at the same time if that’s not possible for your business.

Before you make any moves to implement these strategies, empty the dishwasher, wash the car or do whatever it is that produces your best pondering, wondering, thinking cap. Consider your goals, audience, brand, core values and everything in between to help you decide what you’re going to tackle first and the strategy you’ll employ.

If you still have questions about any of the strategies covered in this article, I encourage you to start practicing good social media by reaching out to us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. We’re here to help!

There’s a lot more to media relations than having a great story. You may know what you want to say, but if you don’t know how to say it or who to say it to, then your pitch will turn into a swing and a miss.

Like all communication tactics, media relations requires strategy. No matter how much the industry continues to evolve, these 5 fundamentals will always remain the same.

1. Keep the audience front of mind

Whether pitching about a product or person, an innovation or an accomplishment, think about the pitch from the audience’s perspective. You have to consider media outlets and the readers, listeners or viewers of those outlets as your audiences. The pitch must deliver exciting, useful information or a unique story for media outlets to share with their audiences. If the product or story doesn’t appeal to the outlet’s audience, it’s not going to appeal to the outlet.

2. Spend time reading, listening and watching

Spend the time to read, listen to and watch your targeted media outlets. Know who they talk to and how to create a pitch customized for their target audience. The time spent researching on the front-end will save you from wasting time sending pitches to the wrong outlets and contacts. Better your chances of breaking through the clutter by sending a pitch that’s spot on.

82% of journalists say PR professionals can improve by researching and understanding their media outlet.

3. Pitch with a purpose

A pitch should answer two questions — why would the media have interest in this story and why is this story better than the other 500 pitches the outlet received that week? Until you can confidently answer both questions, the pitch is not ready. Before you begin crafting your pitch, ask yourself — how will/can the news or product you’re pitching affect the audience? How will they benefit? If the story has no legs, media reps will not only delete your email, but will more than likely also delete future emails you send.

4. Build, then foster, relationships

It’s all about connections and relationships. In order for media reps (writers, reporters, producers) to want to share your story, they must first like, respect and trust you. Securing and strengthening these relationships will come from pitching newsworthy stories and only newsworthy stories. If an outlet is looking for a particular story or expert that you can’t provide, but you know someone who can, let the reporter know. Not only will the reporter remember you, but the person you recommend may return the favor the next time.

58% percent of influencers and journalists said displaying knowledge of past work, interests and beats drove them to pursue a story.

5. Be realistic. Be patient.

Timing is everything. You have to consider the timing for the outlet and the reporter, but you also need to have a keen awareness of the trending news cycle. The topic du jour could help or hurt your pitch efforts. Stay the course and wait for your opportunity. Your story must stand out and be relevant to stick. Of course, if no one bites on your first attempt, that’s normal. A reporter you pitched today may call you back months later because the time is finally right.

Looking for more tips on successful media relations? Ask us your questions by tagging us on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s a tale as old as time. Shoppers see a promotion for “joining the club” or getting those special “members-only” benefits and then before they know it, they have more memberships than they know what to do with. Then, after just one shipment, they cancel the membership altogether. How do you keep members around for the long-haul? For wine clubs, it starts with creating brand loyalty.

What’s in your shipment?
Make your members feel like it’s Christmas morning the day their shipment arrives. Leading up to delivery, build up the excitement through emails, social media and phone calls. Make each and every member feel special, as if they are your priority customer. Personalize your packaging by including a note or brief letter. Even better – toss in some extra swag. Think of your shipment as the one piece of mail people look forward to getting. Your club members should be thrilled to receive that big box!
Create brand ambassadors
Use your shipment as an opportunity to cultivate your audience. Include fun tips, tricks and recipes that will make your members want to tell their friends and family, and include a referral discount coupon for them to pass along when they do. Go beyond just delivering a product and include a DIY experience in each shipment that features the wines. For example, with the summer shipment of Sauvignon Blanc, include a dinner recipe that pairs with the wine. Toss in suggestions for table settings that match the label and your brand colors as well as some craft supplies with an instruction card on how to turn that wine bottle into a centerpiece. If a shipment has sparkling wine, include instructions on how to saber it. If you give your members something to talk about while enjoying the wine, they will.
Make members feel special
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Communicate with your members more often than just notifying them of their shipment. Turn the purchase into a relationship. Send a birthday card or wine club anniversary card. Call them once they receive their shipment to answer questions about the wine. Engage with them on social media by liking their posts, commenting on their activities or creating conversations through a custom hashtag. In order for your members to feel that you care, you have to show them you do.

Do you have other methods for creating brand loyalty? We want to hear them! Tag us on Facebook or Twitter to let us know your tips.

LinkedIn — the most professional of all social media platforms. You know its importance, you recognize its value, but you may not fully understand how to leverage its features for your professional benefit.

Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, many people check in on their LinkedIn profiles on a less frequent basis. Sometimes seen as the “black sheep” of social media, you might find daily touchpoints unnecessary, but it doesn’t make the platform any less of an essential tool to utilize in your professional life. LinkedIn provides a space for businesses, employees and jobseekers to digitally network with other professionals in any given industry.

So, if you find yourself at a loss for ramping up your LinkedIn profile and making the most of its capabilities, follow A. Bright Idea’s five Cs of LinkedIn to make your profile stand out while adding some weight to your online presence.

CREATE your personal brand
According to Business Insider, many hiring managers make up their mind about a prospective employee within the first seven seconds of meeting them. Meaning, first impressions carry a tremendous amount of weight. Treat your LinkedIn profile the same way. To demonstrate your professionalism in the online world, make sure to upload a recent, high-resolution headshot as your profile image. Paying close attention to these details helps build your personal brand and invites others into the essence of what you offer through your experience and professionalism.
CONNECT with other industry leaders
Expand your network and increase the opportunities available to you by connecting with colleagues, industry experts, high-level CEOs, clients or key community leaders. Doing so can serve as an especially fruitful tool when looking to reach members of a different industry, or one in which you have a specific interest. LinkedIn connections can also garner new skill endorsements, thus building your credibility and profile views.
CAPTURE attention with your experience
Develop a brief but engaging summary of your experience to give profile viewers a glimpse into your professional background. Don’t shy away from including interests, passions and professional development experiences in which you participate. All of these assets build a well-rounded professional background and provide industry experts a clear picture of everything you bring to the table.
CULTIVATE relationships through engagement
We see no exception to the notion of “you get what you give” on LinkedIn. Build relationships with your connections by endorsing their skills a minimum of one to two times per week and engaging with their posted content through likes, comments and shares. Not only will this demonstrate the value you place in the individual you promote, it will encourage them to do the same for you.
CAPTIVATE your audience through content
Use your expertise to write compelling content specific to your industry or profession. Developing useful, sharable content showcases your background and experience for your current and potential connections. Garner their attention by also sharing industry-related articles, further positioning yourself as an expert in your field and staying up-to-date with the latest trends.

By implementing the five Cs of LinkedIn, you will quickly grow your network, business opportunities and partners online – all with a minimal investment of time. Enhancing your personal brand will benefit you and your business. Watch your connections increase and your profile expand in just a few weeks and enjoy the professional benefits that follow as a result!

When it comes to social platforms, the size of Facebook’s community continues to lead the pack. Facebook boasts 1.37 billion daily active users worldwide, with the number of Facebook users in the United States expected to reach 207.36 million.

That’s a lot of eyeballs, and if your business doesn’t have a presence on the platform, you’ll unequivocally miss out on countless opportunities to grow brand awareness, and ultimately, increase revenue.

By now, most businesses have at least developed a business-specific page on Facebook that says to users, “Hey, I’m here!” But, consider how you can stand out and wow your existing and potential customers with thoughtful posts and engaging content.
We’ve developed a list of Facebook facts to help take your business to the next level in 2018.

Back to basics
Considering all the flashy features Facebook has to offer, it’s easy to overlook the simple building blocks of effective communication with your customers. Make sure the “About” section on your page reflects your business’ correct hours of operation, contact information, including a telephone number, email and address, and a quick, descriptive line or two about your products or services. If customers can’t get a hold of you, or if they’re unsure of your purpose, you risk losing their interest and trust.
It takes two
If you want your customers to engage with your content, your page and ultimately your brand, make sure you also spend time engaging with your customers and acknowledging interactions. Respond to reviews, both negative and positive. Take the time to “Like” or reply to comments and photos visitors leave on your page’s wall. Highlight positive customer and vendor interactions by tagging them, with permission, in posts. Don’t forget to venture outside of your page and engage on other pages to expand the reach of the conversation.
Video, video, video
Video posts dominate today’s social media landscape and continue to garner more attention from users over other forms of media. Don’t let fear get in the way of taking part in the trend — you don’t need a professional videographer to shoot videos for posting on your Facebook page. In fact, people forgive less-than-stellar production quality video as long as the story keeps them engaged. Do a little research on how to shoot quality videos using just your smartphone. Pro tip: before you post your video, add captioning manually or using Facebook’s automated tool, as more and more users watch videos, but in many cases with the sound off for part or all of the video.
Do it live
Authentically promote your brand by enlisting the help of Facebook Live. This feature provides users a unique, inside look into your business through the power of immediacy. Plus, anyone can do it — simply determine an interesting facet of your business, aim and shoot! Develop your talking points or a full script, whatever makes you more comfortable in front of the camera. The purpose is to increase engagement on your page while delivering content your audience will like. You can also continue the two-way conversation by responding to comments during the live event. And, if Facebook gives live videos a boost using its algorithm — meaning the platform puts your live videos in front of more people — you should take advantage.
Keep it consistent
A successful Facebook page relies on consistency in a variety of ways. Always make sure the tone and imagery of your Facebook remain true to your overall branding. However, you can let your brand’s guard down and use a more casual attitude across the platform, even if your brand typically employs a more formal approach. Remember, the goal remains engaging with your audience, so take note of how they speak and incorporate that into your posting strategy. Most importantly, make sure you post regularly. A Facebook page with stale and outdated content can cause distrust and force your audience to go elsewhere.
Rules of engagement
For those businesses unwilling or afraid to step onto the Facebook scene, rules of engagement provide clear parameters to help guide the conversation on your page. Set guidelines in your “About” section including the prohibition of profanity on your page, the ability to delete comments not related to the post and intolerance of personal attacks. You may need to decide whether or not addressing negative feedback or aggression on your page publically can provide a better customer experience overall. By responding to negative content publically, you can offer a professional and friendly solution that upholds your reputation among other audience members.

At the end of the day, engaging with your audience regularly and authentically through quality content, engaging conversations and meaningful interactions will put your business ahead of the rest.

Facebook’s latest algorithm update penalizes “engagement-bait” material — posts that overtly encourage comments, likes and shares — and prioritizes personal pages and posts over public and business pages’ content. This means Facebook ad space will diminish making inventory more valuable and potentially more expensive. Businesses that proactively engage audiences in organic ways, however, can improve the likelihood of appearing higher and more often across user feeds.

While this blog provided a few tips to jumpstart your focus in 2018, Facebook boasts many additional features to utilize and incorporate into your strategy. Let us know what Facebook features you’d like to hear about or questions you have in the comments section. Or, even better, tag us on Facebook at @abrightidea and let’s start a conversation.

With 500 million tweets sent per day by approximately 100 million daily users, Twitter is the fourth largest social media platform behind Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.
As new updates roll out on Twitter, it’s tough to adjust, learn and implement the new features quickly. As an ever-changing platform, Twitter requires constant monitoring due to the rapid timeline updates of current events.

With the Tweet Tips below, get ready to actively engage with your current and potential customers on Twitter!

Tweet Actions
Creating original content to post and quoting existing tweets of others allows you to easily engage with followers. The comment you add makes it easy for your followers to understand the reasoning behind the retweet and how it connects to you and your business. Quoting essentially makes the entire tweet yours, so the engagement and impressions garnered from the “new” tweet reflects positively on your account.
What to Tweet
Your followers clicked the follow button for a reason. For the most part, you should tweet about your brand experience. As a business, you’re recognized by audiences for a product or service and they want to hear about it. A key component of any social platform, but especially Twitter, is engaging with others. Take time to find conversations around your industry’s topics and engage others in those conversations with a comment or a quote retweet. While your tweets should relate to your business, don’t shy away from engaging in other conversations that do not relate directly. Any comment added continues a larger conversation, and broadens your follower base.
Post a Poll
Utilize Twitter’s poll feature to expand engagement in a fun and creative way. Propose an open-ended question to your followers on a topic of your choice with up to four answers. A. Bright Idea’s campus recently received a makeover, sparking our own version of the poll-gone-viral, blue vs. gold dress debate. After several disagreements on the new color of one of our buildings, we took to Twitter to let our followers decide — blue or gray. Select how long your poll stays open, whether you want immediate results after 24 hours or a week to collect as many votes as possible.

Trends and Hashtags
Twitter has a daily list of trending topics and hashtags. The trends change multiple times a day, so when you see one that applies to you or your company, use it immediately. Using hashtags allows your content to become easily discoverable and essentially increase your chances of higher engagement and impressions, as well as gaining followers. Twitter bases trends of location, making it easy to select the best option for incorporating into your tweets. You can change the settings to see surrounding cities’ trends or country and world-wide trends. Crafting tweets to include additional hashtags can expand its discoverability, but Twitter recommends keeping it limited to no more than two hashtags per tweet.
Tagging
Tagging people and businesses in your tweets is, in essence, a way to talk to specific people or businesses directly on Twitter. With overly cluttered news feeds, if you have something to say to someone, tagging is the way to go. Additionally, tagging expands the reach of the post, garnering more impressions and in some cases, overall engagement. Giving shout-outs to other businesses through tagging can spark conversation or result in retweets, likes or follows.
Moments and Lists
Personalize your Twitter with Moments — curated stories about what’s happening, powered by tweets. Moments have a variety of topics, such as: Today, News, Sports, Entertainment and Fun. Moments can showcase your company culture, events and announcements for the public. When creating Moments, we recommend you use a mixture of videos, photos, gifs and full-text tweets to keep your followers engaged.Lists serve as a great tool when you want to narrow down your search on a specific topic. As a curated group of Twitter accounts, Lists include accounts that tweet about similar topics in one central location. Lists essentially become a separate timeline of its own, streaming tweets surrounding the designated topic. Create your own Lists or subscribe to those created by other Twitter users to engage in conversations related to your business.
280 Characters
In September 2017, Twitter introduced the roll-out of the new 280-character count to select accounts before officially granting all members usage in November. As advocates for perfect grammar and correct spelling, we enjoy the 280-character limit. Now, you don’t need abbreviations and number substitutions for words to save space. Don’t sacrifice your content’s value for the sake of condensing a tweet — take advantage of this gift and use the extra 140 characters as needed. While some users became outraged over this update, others used the extra space for fun, like Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres.

Remember, Twitter is a great tool for you and your business when used appropriately. Have fun and try out all of the features of the platform. Let us know if you plan to use Twitter more in 2018 or ask us any questions about the features mentioned by tweeting us @aBrightIdea96.

As business professionals, we’ve heard it said time and time again: “It’s all about relationships,” however, relationships do not grow overnight. There are steps to take and responsibilities to fulfill before anything can flourish.

Putting forth effort to not only go above and beyond for client work, but for the client themselves, makes the difference between a one-time project and a long-standing business relationship. Going the extra mile to get to know your clients, when done consistently and genuinely, not only serves as a recognizable piece of your brand, it becomes your brand.

At A. Bright Idea, we believe in the power of doing “a little bit more,” consistently over delivering for our clients. At our annual team-building summit, we discussed how pushing every project, just a little bit further, leads our team – and the client – to even greater success. As a result, our team identified five easy-to-apply ways to help flourish your client relationships.


1. Take meetings off site
Every now and then, invite your client to a working lunch meeting or coffee. This opens a window of opportunity to get to know your client on a more personal level while also staying productive. Environment plays a critical role in someone’s willingness to engage more freely, and you’d find it surprising how relocating to an informal, comfortable setting can enhance your overall working relationship.

2. Invite casual conversation
In general, we feel less likely to share personal information if we don’t think someone is interested in hearing about it. Shift the focus of your next touchpoint to demonstrate you care about building a relationship. Adjust your opening in an email or conference call from, “I hope you had a nice weekend,” to “Betty, how was your weekend?” This simple but significant strategy tells the client you’re interested in more than the business tasking and gives you insight, connecting on a more personal level.

3. Stay social
Begin with a LinkedIn connection – the business version of Facebook. Stay up-to-date with client’s important milestones, including work anniversaries and recognitions, and engage with likes, comments or congratulatory messages. Take it one step further and do “a little bit more” by endorsing the skills listed on the client’s page or write up a personal recommendation. These acknowledgments go above and beyond to further build the connection.

4. Pick up the phone
In a digital world, it’s easy to get lost behind the screen in email. If you need to touch base with your client, make an effort to pick up the phone and call—nothing beats talking directly for clear communication. Going out of your way to make a connection can only improve strong working relationships.

5. Dive into their industry
Make an effort to stay aware of your client’s industry. Share related videos, news clips or events of interest when applicable even if it doesn’t relate to the project you’re currently working on. This not only demonstrates your expertise, but highlights your willingness to go above and beyond for their success, ultimately paying dividends in your overall relationship.


While some of these tips speak to client-facing relationships, everyone at the organization is a representative and their role in supporting these strategies further positions a business for continued relationship growth.