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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Twitter Etiquette - What to do when someone "Favorites" your post

As asked by a friend:

Q: I need your input... when someone "favorites" one of your tweets, what is or is there a response "protocol"?

A: I think when Twitter first launched the "favorite" feature, they intended it to serve as a bookmark for its users. When you favorite a tweet, you are able to access it again at a later date by clicking on "favorites" on your Twitter homepage, you are able to see those tweets that you favorited.

However, over time, people started using the "favorite" feature as a way to show that they liked a post. Lately, I've noticed that most people are using the "favorite" feature to show their appreciation, approval, or simply their acknowledgement of a post.

What do I do in response? It depends on the situation.

1. Nothing.
2. Look at their recent tweets, and return the favor by favoriting one of their tweets.
3. Retweet one of their tweets.

Options 2 and 3 help to create greater engagement between you and the other Twitter user, plus it helps to increase their visibility on Twitter.

I rarely rely to say "thanks" for someone favoriting a Tweet, because that is not really necessary. It would be like sending a thank you not for receiving a thank you note.

Now, I'd like my Twitter peeps to weigh in: how do you respond (if at all) when someone favorites one of your tweets? 

Tweet your response using the hashtag #FavoriteEtiquette and I'll RT you and give you a "favorite."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Love Pie on 3.14 and everyday

I have a pie confession.
Those who follow me on social media know that I love pie. But there are days when I wonder, "Do I really love pie?
I work out so I can enjoy guilt-free pie. ~ Brenda Meller 

Then I start really thinking about what I like about pie. Is it the sweet and salty crust? The fruit filling? The combination of fruit filling and buttery flaky crust which makes it seem somewhat nutritious (it's not)?

Is it that I "own" the whole pie-loving thing because frankly, there just aren't that many pie-lovers out there? Or is it due to my family memories of pie growing up?

Sidebar: my mom loved to bake. 
She entered the Michigan State Fair each year with a variety of baked goods. I remember the months leading up to the State Fair she would start marking her calendar for the bake days and drop off days. She would pull aside index cards with cookie recipes she made throughout the year. And one year, she and I entered a Mother-Daughter pie baking contest together. She wore a black blazer with white pants, and I wore a white blazer and black
This would be an awesome gift for me.
My mom would've loved these too.
pants. We baked an apple pie. I don't think we won, but it's a memory I'll never forget. But I digress. 

Pie = Truth
So after significant contemplation, I come to the conclusion: Yes, I truly do love pie. But it's not an obsession. It's more of a fondness. I rarely buy a whole pie (because I'm the only one at home who will eat it and that's a dangerous calorie risk), so it makes it that much more special when a pie opportunity (pie-portunity?) presents itself. I simply appreciate pie. 

#Pieup on Pie Day
Tomorrow is March 14. Or as I like to call it, 3.14 pie day. Now I know there's some "official" pie day on the calendar and it's probably in the fall,
Pie Humor.
but come on - 3.14 should be Pie day!

I'll be celebrating with a lunch of pie at Grand Traverse Pie. I've heard others will be joining me. And they are all rock stars. 

Now that I'm an adult, I've finally learned if you do the right thing and eat lunch first, your belly will be full and you will not appreciate the full pie experience. #PieAppreciation 

This probably sounds familiar, right? Think of Thanksgiving: There is a whole parade of pies, often on display for the whole meal, that go uneaten until hours after the turkey because everyone is so full. Then when you finally do sit down to enjoy pie, you're even not that hungry and you're only eating dessert because you don't want to hurt the feelings of your mom / aunt / grandmother. How could you be hungry? You've just eaten more carbs at Thanksgiving than you eat at any other meal ever. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. 

Some of My #Pie-isms
Randazzo's Rocks.
They sell HALF PIES.
The point is - I'm a pie purist. If you want to enjoy pie, eat pie INSTEAD of your meal. That way, your hunger will be satiated at the same time that you are enjoying that delicate crust, the delicious fruit filling, and if you choose, whipped cream or ice cream topping.

"But pie will not fill me up," you say? Well then go ahead and get yourself a sandwich or cup of soup AFTER you enjoy the pie. Better to waste a full belly on plain 'ole ordinary soup than on a wonderful piece of pie. Pie does not complete its pie destiny unless it is fully enjoyed. #Pie-isms

Again, this brings me to my conclusion. Yes, I do love pie. 

And tomorrow, I'm eating pie for lunch. And if I'm still hungry, I'll eat a second slice. 

Give these a follow. Tell them you read about them in this blog. Companies like when people do that stuff.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Trinkets and Trash

Promotional items can help to give your business long-lasting impressions with current and future customers. Done right, they'll have shelf life (or "desk" life) with your audience and avoid the trash.

Here are a few examples of logo'd items on my desk and why I think they are successful trinkets:

LinkedIn Water bottle
If you haven't produced an eco-friendly water bottle yet, you should consider it. I have to admit this is one of my favorite water bottles because I am such a huge fan of LinkedIn. Carrying this water bottle around at the gym gives me the same feeling as when I carry a Starbucks cup at the mall.

"My Boss Thinks I'm Kind of A Big Deal" Statement Cup
Baudville has some awesome items for employee recognition. I bought these for my team as part of their holiday present. It makes a statement about them, but perhaps even more importantly, it shows my peeps how much I care about them.

Personalized Calendars
These personalized calendars have been around for a few years, but I still get a kick out of the clever designs on each month with my first name. I have to admit that I receive at least three or four of these each year though. This one from Graphic Resource Group.

Smart Women THIRST for Knowledge Mug
I recieved this one as a gift probably fifteen years ago and it's still one of my favorite mugs that follows me around to every job. You can get your company logo printed on these, too. Check out the Smart Women site.

Silly BobbleHead Pen
This was a tradeshow gift from a former job and it still makes me smile.

Screen Wiper

Potential client said no? Pica Marketing Group used this as an opportunity for a secondary message.

Clever marketing.  And proof that visionary marketers see opportunity in everything.  Even in the word "No."  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why Yes, I Do LOVE Macomb County

While attending tonight's State of the County event for Macomb County at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, I was again impressed and inspired by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. He does a phenomenal job presenting and you can tell how much he truly loves Macomb County. This in turn, reminded me of all the great things I love about Macomb County, too.

Via Twitter:
Make Macomb your Home! r great county. There is a lot of growth and new opportunities. Our county has a balanced budget. We have a strong County Leadership Team. And we have many businesses in the area celebrating achievements and milestones. 
Plus on a local level, there was even a feature of my hometown with the mayor of Fraser in the opening slideshow. And a mention of many local companies including Mt. Clemens based HunchFree and Partridge Creek Mall. Plus a nice mention of Walsh College as the largest destination for business students transferring from Macomb Community College. (full disclosure: I work for Walsh so this was really cool to hear!)

After the event, there was a networking reception combined with a "Taste of Macomb" event, where you could sample foods from area restaurants while mingling with attendees. 

If you live or work in Macomb County, this is an event you should plan to attend. It's held once a year in December and a great way to learn more about all the great things that Macomb County has to offer. You can learn more at

Were you there? If so, did you get some Achatz Pie before they ran out? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What IS a Brand?

Quick - what words come to mind when I ask, "What is a brand?"
(I'll give you a minute)

Chances are, you thought of a product like Nike. Or a company like McDonald's. Or a cereal manufacturer like Kellogg's. Or perhaps a logo or a brand name popped into your head.

And now - quick - what comes to mind when I ask you "what is your company's brand position?" 
Need some help with this question? You're not alone. Chances are, unless you work in the field of marketing, you struggled with the second question. And even if you do work in marketing, from time to time you'll struggle with this question, too.

I've heard it said (and I would credit the source if I knew it...) that your brand is what other people think of you -- or your company.

This is NOT a brand.
It's a branding iron that is custom made to put your name on steaks that you BBQ at home. Granted, it is a really, really cool brand and one that I'll consider as a gift for anyone who loves to grill steaks. And/or who loves seeing their name on things. Especially things they cook.

You can't create a brand - but rather you can help to formulate a brand strategy to help to shape opinions and steer the direction of your company. Done right, it helps to solidify what makes your company and products unique, and it will bring together your internal and external audiences who will embrace and celebrate the brand message.

If you think that a brand strategy is akin to a branding iron, in that you "create" the brand by making your mark on things - you're going to have some struggles.

How do you start creating a brand strategy? 
Talk to your employees. Talk to your customers. Figure out what you are and what you're not, and how you are unique in your industry. Find out what your current communications - web, social, digital, ads - are saying about your company and figure out if they are lining up with what your internal and external audiences have shared.

How do you manage your brand strategy over time?
Keep tabs on how your company and industry is changing. Keep talking to those internal and external folks. Identify your brand champions or ambassadors, and embrace them. Not literally. Well, maybe occasionally, if a hug is warranted and you're close. But rather, embrace them by asking their opinions, their input, and for their support.

What do YOU think?
What are some of the best branding campaigns you've seen?
What makes a brand memorable?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Would YOU Invest in You?

As I was reading, or rather listening to a book on CD this week entitled, "Persuasion IQ: The 10 Skills You Need to Get Exactly What You Want," the author makes a statement related to my love of professional development: "Would YOU invest in you?"

In other words: if you were an employer or customer, how attractive of a candidate (or purchase) would you be? He then goes on to explain the value of continually developing your skills to keep yourself current.

As working professionals, whether you work in marketing, retail, technology, accounting, building maintenance, horticulture, or marine biology, it's important to continually educate and improve yourself. In effect, this means it is essential that we continue to invest in ourselves to make ourselves marketable. Regardless where you are in your career, the time you reach a point and you no longer seek to learn and improve your skills might be a tipping point in the time when you start to become obsolete.

I love to learn. I remember growing up loving the school library. I was such a big reader that I recall my elementary teacher at Marie C. Graham schools in the L'Anse Creuse Public School District letting me go to the library to read once I had completed all my schoolwork. At the end of the school year, I was allowed to go to the library to help the librarians clean the books. I remember the smell of the books and the sense of excitement to this day.

My mom was also a book lover. She would take us to the library and let us pick out any book we wanted. But I digress.

There was a period of time where I didn't want to learn anymore, or rather, I was just tired of going to school and wanted to be done. It was the last few years of my undergrad and luckily by then I had decided to major in marketing, which came easy to me. Over time, I eventually returned to the libraries and used bookstores and even started a few fiction books during my first job. They are on a disk somewhere in the house.

After a few job changes early in my career, I had landed a position with a 1-hour commute both ways. I decided to make the most of it and started listening to books on CD. I began with fiction, and eventually moved into professional development books, including Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

While at that job, I recall mentioning to my manager how I wanted to move into management in marketing, and he suggested Toastmasters International to help me develop my public speaking skills. It took me a few years, but I eventually did join and I'm so glad I did. I found it to be a great support group to help me overcome my introvertedness (is that even a word?) and I still consider myself an introvert at heart these days. Probably all that time in the library when I was a kid!

I completed my Competent Communicator achievement in Toastmasters within the first few years, and have recently completed my Competent Leader achievement as well. By staying active in Toastmasters, it helps to keep the edge off my nerves. Plus, over time I've found that all the practice has made me actually enjoy the act of speaking in public. Well, most of the time... my nerves still act up from time to time.

Not too long after joining Toastmasters, I also started to seek out networking organizations. I wanted to find more women like me. At the time, I worked for a male-dominated company with very few women in management or leadership positions, and I knew there had to be other women like me out there. I was embarrassed at my first meeting to announce this, but many of the other women in the room nodded their heads in agreement and gave me a kind smile of support. I joined Inforum Michigan back in 2008 thanks to a birthday gift from my husband, and have found it to be a worthwhile organization.

When I changed jobs and joined Walsh College in 2008, there was no Inforum Michigan networking group in the area. So I did what any smart career-loving, busy woman would do, I started a group at Walsh so I could benefit from a convenient location. (I've found over time that my mom's mantra of "you always make time for the things you really want to do" is very true. Sometimes you just have to think creatively about how you spend your time and what optional items come off your daily list.)

Michigan Supreme Court
Justice Bridget Mary McCormack
I've been chairing the Inforum Troy networking breakfast since early 2009, and have great co-chairs to help make it more management. (side note: Connect with Laura Rolands and Bailey Bynum if you get a chance. They are both rock stars.) Info In addition to the networking breakfasts, I've found events like these are great educational and networking opportunities. I'm always impressed by the caliber of the Inforum speakers and events.
rum recently asked me to share an upcoming event featuring Justice McCormack, a rising star in Michigan politics. The event is in Grand Rapids next week on November 13. (note: You can read more about the event at

Do I stop there? No, of course not. About a year ago, I finally (FINALLY) started my MBA at Walsh College. I'm doing it a class at a time and you know
"Yes, I'm proud to say
I continue to invest in myself,"
shares Brenda Meller.
what? I love being a student again. I was debating taking two classes per semester to finish sooner, but decided against it. It will take me five years, but I'll take one class at a time, enjoy one class at a time, and at the end of it all, five years will go by and I'll have an MBA that I can appreciate. Incidentally, that Covey book I listened to over 10 years ago was in my second class in the MBA program. And I'm kicking myself a bit for not starting the MBA years ago! :)

What's next after that? I'm not sure, but I know I'll continue to find ways to invest in myself. How about you?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Social Media, Awesome Colors, and My Awesome Network

I have to share a recent experience that began a few weeks ago on social media. 

June 24, 2013: my friend Jennifer Marsik Friess shares on her Facebook page: "Look what Patty Buccellato at Refined Images sent me! Since she's set me on my correct path, if the duds doesn't match a color in this wheel, I don't buy it. Thanks for the updates, PB! I'm gonna pop some tags." 

I jump into the discussion, asking about the color wheel she has posted and how one goes about getting one from Patty. I'm one of several women in Jen's friend list who responded to the post. I think we're all intrigued with looking our best. For me, I'll admit I'm frugal and practical when it comes to wardrobe shopping. I've learned to only buy something I love and that includes colors I love. 

(Full disclosure: Patty asked me to blog about my experience, which I'm happy to do!}

Patty and I exchange a few emails, and we set an appointment at her Rochester Hills studio for a color drape. Patty reminds me to allow at least 45 minutes for the appointment, and that dress is not important since my outfit will be covered by the drape. She also suggests I bring makeup with me, since I'll have to remove it as part of the session. 

Eek. Did you read that last part? I have to remove my makeup in front of one of my professional friends? Yes, this gave me some anxiety. 

I arrive at Patty's office and we chat briefly before the draping begins. 

She asks about my experience with color consultations and knowledge of color overall. I mention I had some past knowledge of the "seasons" color approach but haven't really followed it. 

Prep. Patty hands me a few makeup remover tissues and sends me to the ladies room down the hall to remove the makeup. I return sheepishly feeling exposed. 

The next step was Patty draping a cape over me, covering my top. 

Hair. We then talk briefly about hair color. Patty notices my hair color is different and I explain my recent home coloring experience, followed by a salon color correction because I was not happy with the results. Yes, the grays are slowly starting to pop up, too. She shows me a swatch of hair colors and asks me to select what I think is my true, natural hair color. I flip through the ring and find one that is close, and she agrees. She explains that my natural hair tone is more on the ash scale and the color treatment I'm working on correcting had more of a brassy look to it. I agree and make a mental note to talk to my stylist about this at my next color correction appointment. 

The whole time, I'm trying to pretend that having a conversation without makeup on is not bothering me. 

Next, Patty helps me into a hairnet to pull all the hair off my face. Keep in mind I'm already draped, with no makeup, and now my hair is all pulled back. 

You know that feeling you get when you're at the hair salon and they ask you to look in the mirror at yourself? I don't know about you, but this makes me uncomfortable and I'd just as soon not look at myself in a mirror in front of someone. I'll wait until I get out in the car or home to inspect the cut. 

So I'm feeling quite exposed and anxious (Patty does not realize any of this!). But we begin!

The Colors. Patty begins by showing me a drape with a different variety of striped colors on each side. She asks me to select which one I prefer, side one or side two (think of an eye exam). I immediately am drawn to a brighter set of colors. 

She then asks me to not look at the colors, but to focus on my face instead with the colors next to it. My perspective immediately changes. The color stripes with softer colors actually look much better against my skin. 

We go through this process with several drapes. Patty asks me to focus on my eyes, my teeth, and those imperfect areas of my face (blotchy, dark circles, etc.) when evaluating the color options. Through the process, it becomes easier to make the selections. 

Guide. Patty helps to guide me through the process gently by helping me to arrive at the solutions on my own. By the end of the appointment, I'm no longer aware of the fact that I'm exposed and makeup-less, but rather I'm inspired by this new found knowledge about color combinations that work on me.   

My Color Wheel. At the end of the appointment, Patty selects a color wheel based on the color combinations which I indicated a preference for through the appointment. We review the wheel together and I immediately find a few colors I will never wear. Green, for example, is not a color I'm overly fond of nor do I think it looks good on me, despite what the wheel says.  

Educated and knowledgeable. I leave the appointment with my custom color wheel and a spring in my step. I can't wait to raid my closet to remove clothes that aren't in the wheel. In the weeks following this appointment, I've made wardrobe changes and have noticed the impact. I've received compliments on some of the new color combinations and have shared my experience a few times. 

I think the consultation was time well spent toward the a wardrobe that will make me look and feel my best. 

Thanks Patty! And thanks Jen for the inspiration!

stay tuned - I'll add a few pics of my color wheel and a few "corrected" color outfits here soon...

p.s. Check out Refined Images at