Bloguettes Interview

A few moons ago I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by the Bloguettes and how I work every day to make team members happy as clams.

Read more here!

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Event Swag

Today I attended a local swag expo on behalf of my team. I was really glad I could attend the expo and confirm so many of my thoughts on how we use swag from a marketing and event perspective.  While I am not usually engrained in the decision and purchasing of swag, I learned so much from my other jobs about what makes “good” swag and what makes trash swag.

Why does trash swag still exist? Even beyond the idea that this kind of swag is polluting our planet, it’s not actually helping your company’s branding or awareness. A cheap keychain, a 16th fidget spinner or another cheap plastic tumbler that will sit in the back of a household cabinet is not promoting your company or starting any conversations.

While I do believe that there are different kinds of swag, like small USB hubs or a multiple charging cord “squids”, the most important aspects behind swag are:

Will someone even know what the heck this is?

Will someone continue to use it? At least for some period of time.

Does someone already have more than 2 of these?

If the answers are YES, YES and NO then you have a REALLY great piece of swag.

Swag doesn’t need to be something extravagant like a leather Moleskin case embossed with your company’s logo (although that is a great piece of swag) but it doesn’t have to stoop to a plastic keychain that at best will end up in a keychain collection that your 2-year-old child or niece plays with.

Some ideas for great small swag which often tend to be less expensive too are things like quality ear buds, blue tooth options with charging holders are very popular right now. There are also quick things like a cord wrap to keep you non-bluetooth earbud’s cord from getting tangled, although this one may or may not answer yes to knowing what the heck it is.

Some more unique swag examples are high quality pieces of clothing with custom embroidery. I also love the idea of a Turkish towel or the round towels that are popular currently. While the above may also not 100% answer the questions, you can never have too many unique or quality pieces.

Swag that is high end or feels luxe will always win out. Things like rubber that feels like leather, soft touch insulated water bottles and a super soft tee are always acceptable to own more than 2 of. However I am not sure any of us do own more than 2 of those really excellent pieces since quality swag isn’t easy to find.

Swag is such a crucial part of both outside marketing and marketing internally to your team and it’s important to think about these aspects when you go to purchase tchotchkes for your clients and your team.  It is especially pertinent to give your team great apparel and branded items that they will use in their every day life.  Countless people stop me when I am wearing my soft shirts, using my branded insulated water bottle or when I hand them my slap coozie at a cookout. Their uniqueness and fact that I actually use them make them invaluable for branding and make for great conversation and marketing.

So start a conversation around good swag and your business will be thankful!

Social Engagement Trumps Social Expansion

The age of focusing on Social Media growth needs to officially be over.

Let’s a take a cue from the Ottoman Empire and realize growth doesn’t last forever. There is only so much space for expansion and let’s face it, wouldn’t we rather the people who want to follow us, follow us; instead of forcing people, or worse yet, fake people, to be a part of our communities?

It’s best when social media strategies focus on some growth but mostly engagement. As our world shifts to small, local businesses offering great products to a specific community, our social media should also follow this path.

Not every community is going to be gargantuan with hundreds of thousands of likes or followers. Now, it can be about having a small community who feels truly impacted by the information you are putting out.  We may often view followers or audience size on a platform (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter) as the end all be all to the success of a social campaign.  However, this idea of solely focusing on Social Expansion is far less relevant than when social first joined the major marketing scene.

Like great small businesses, great social media campaigns can have a local and effective impact without being 100,000 large.  If there are 100,000 people following your Twitter handle, but only 5 of them care about what you’re putting out there, then your audience is not a true reflection of who you are as a business.

Yes, content can play a factor in all of this, but if your only ad goal for the past year on Facebook has been fan acquisition, you have a problem.

Social Media users, of all ages, are using the different platforms to engage and be heard. We should invite them to be a part of our communities and be thankful when they choose to let us in.

So next time you are looking at your success and areas of opportunity when it comes to social, take a look at who is engaging with your content and how often. Clean up that Twitter profile and interact with followers. Join Twitter chats revolving around services or topics relevant to your business.  Promote a post or two on Facebook that ask your audience members questions they would want to answer. Share an image or quote that makes someone want to regram or repin.

Through these avenues, we can end the delusional social expansion mantra and focus on bringing home the idea of caring about your audience and letting them know you are listening.

Shulamit Resendez

Shulamit Resendez works in Social Media for a Digital Marketing company located in the Phoenix Metro area.

A Few Considerations for your Business when it comes to Social Media

The world of social is constantly changing and there is plenty of advice out there.  If you are just starting your social venture or need some reassurance, here are a few considerations to look at no matter where you are at in your campaign.

ENGAGE

Your community wants to talk to you, so do it.  Whether that is garnering feedback, or just acknowledging their comments on your page, it’s important make sure your audience feels heard.

GET PIC-Y WITH IT

Companies need to be as visual as possible.  An iPhone 6 can take incredible images these days as can most smartphones.  Snap a photo or two of your company out to lunch, or of an employee out on a job.  Not only does this make your content more relatable, it also instantly clicks with the human eye, which is sees visually first.

STAY TRUE

Not every company needs to be sassy, clever and cute.  If you’re motto speaks to professionalism and ethics, than stick with it.  Build trust by being your brand, not by being someone else’s.

POST

Post what matters. Post what is relevant. Post Enough.  No your audience does not want to see you sharing anything and everything 16 times a day.  They also, don’t want to wait with bated breath for your single weekly update; truthfully they just won’t stick around.  Share information that is relevant to you and them and offers something to your audience. This can be information, a laugh or a how-to; pick what works for you and share.

PICK THE RIGHT PLATFORM

Don’t just be on Facebook because you can. And don’t join Pinterest if you aren’t a business offering searchable images or are visually oriented.  Be on the platforms that truly accomplish the goals of your business and represent the work you do every day. While most platforms can be tweaked to work for most companies, picking a few platforms and really making those work will be far more beneficial in the long run.

social media

Simple Lasagna Recipe

I know this recipe by heart and yet, I still open up our family cookbook to make sure I make it like my mother.  I never do, because I never quite have the same ingredients lying around, but that’s the beauty of this recipe.  No cooking noodles first, just throw it in the pan, cook it for an hour and then enjoy.  This recipe, no matter what version, has never failed me.

 

prep

 

So tonight, I have 4 different cheeses lying around, plus have a half of a zucchini that had been cut length wise. I start by slicing these two ingredients fairly thinly and preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a little bit of cooking spray in a glass 12×8 baking dish and a few spoonfuls of sauce.  There is a single jar of whatever tomato sauce was in the pantry, cottage cheese, a bag of parmesan cheese as well as some sliced provolone.

 

cottagecheese

Layer lasagna noodles down into the pan and fill that dosh garn end space by breaking the end of a noodle off until it fits.  Spoon sauce to cover the noodles and then spoon dollops of cottage cheese.  For this bottom layer, I added the zucchini and parmesan.  Next noodle layer, same sauce and the rest of the cottage cheese.

 

bottom layer

 

For this middle layer I lay six slices of the sliced provolone on top of the sauce and cottage cheese, plus a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper.

 

middlelayer

Then add the last layer of noodles and the rest of the sauce.  This is where I layed out the fresh mozzarella and some more parmesan.  Cover and bake for one hour.

toplayer

 

If you’re like, you’ll probably pop the aluminum foil off about 50 minutes in to brown the cheese on the top a little.  The all you need is a fork and your appetite.  B’tai Avon!

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Package Lasagna Noodles

2- 16oz jars of sauce

12oz Cottage Cheese

1 Bag parmesan

8 oz Fresh Mozzarella

Any other choice ingredients, such as slices of cheese, basil, spinach, etc

Fresh Veggies of your choice, sliced thin

Spices of your choice

NOTE: I like to mix my spices into the cottage cheese to impart flavor throughout the layers.  I like use any combination of garlic powder, dried parley, onion powder or any other Italian spices.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a glass baking dish and then put a few spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Spread out on pan.  Layer lasagna noodles into pan.  Top with 1/3 of the sauce and then 1/2 the cottage cheese.  Layer sliced veggies and parmesan cheese.  Place another layer of noodles in the baking dish.  Top with 1/3 of the sauce and other half of cottage cheese. Layer any of your choice ingredients as well, this time around I had sliced provolone and that when on the second layer.  Put the final layer of noodles on the top.  Place 1/3 of the sauce to cover the top layer of noodles and the layer of mozzarella.  Finish off with additional parmesan or spices.  Wrap tightly in foil and bake for one hour.

Option: Pop the foil off 10 minutes before the end of baking time to brown the top of the lasagna.

This recipe is vegetarian, but meat can be added in between each layer if you’d like.

 

Hopefully this will be your never fail lasagna recipe now too! B’tai Avon. (Bon Appetite)

~ Shula

 

 

 

Rhubarb Muffins

Tonight had an impromptu baking session of rhubarb muffins!

Rhubarb Muffins

I had a single stalk left that I needed to use up and so I quickly found a recipe I could easily adapt with what I had in my pantry.

I adapted this recipe from #SmittenKitchen, a great go-to for me.

Rhubarb Muffins
1 large egg
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled to room temperature)
3/4 applesauce
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced rhubarb
1/2 cup strawberry rhubarb jam

Whisk egg in the bottom of a large bowl with both sugars. Whisk in butter, then applesauce. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder and baking soda and stir them into the wet mixture, mixing until just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in rhubarb and jam.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Rest muffins in pan on cooling rack for two minutes, then remove muffins from tin to cool them completely.

Rhubarb Muffin

I then quickly whisked up a glaze of milk and confectioner’s sugar, poked the muffins a few times and then poured the tantalizing, shiny glaze over the cooled muffins!

 

photo 3

Overall, this was a simple and delicious recipe – I of coursed tried one.  You could honestly throw in an array of fruit, veggies or chocolate chips and turn this base into the muffin of your choice.

So enjoy and try this recipe! Post your pictures and let me know how your muffins turned out!