Category Archives for "General Info"

Jan 20

‘Un-produce’ It!

General Info

When I was just out of college – technically, while I was still in college – I had the good fortune to be hired by IBM. Big Blue describes its three core values as:

  • dedication to every client’s success;
  • innovation that matters, for our company and for the world; and
  • trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.

My time at IBM taught me that if you share those core values – which are written down and accepted by fellow IBMers – you’d better live them. Putting clients first, innovating for the sake of mankind, and trust in all relationships all sound like great aspirations, but I saw them in action every day. That’s because theywere both genuine and authentic.

As a result of that experience, I’ve held IBM and its research in the highest regard. I know the quality of its data is both world class and, more importantly, something from which we can learn and take action. For example, a recent IBM study of 4,800 “CxOs” (i.e., CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CMO, etc.) asked this question: “What is your biggest barrier to an integrated digital-physical strategy?”

The overwhelming response? Sixty-three percent said they lack a cohesive social media plan. What does this tell us? Determining where social media fits in your existing business is really hard. What you say (messaging), where you say it (platform), and how often you share (frequency) are all factors — among others — that determine your success. Without a plan, though, how do you know what success really looks like?

Going a step further, if you observe a company actually doing social media well (i.e., large follower counts and high engagement on posts), it may be a little tough to determine why it’s actually working. Should you simply emulate what they’re doing? What if the techniques they’re using are not appropriate for your target audience?

There’s one strategy you can implement today that will make things dramatically easier for you. Most of the emerging social media platforms (like Instagram Stories and Facebook Live) can be summed up in one simple word: unproduced. Instead of content that is highly edited or refined by a graphic designer, users are typically uploading photos or videos directly from their phones with very little concern for lighting, sound quality or finishing touches. If any editing is done, it consists of simple captions, a filter to emphasize feeling or highlight a particular location, or even drawings on the screen.

What does the rise of these emerging platforms tell us? People using them desire simple, raw content. They value authenticity first, and production quality second. They want to see if you really are who you say you are.

For example, I regularly advocate or make assertions about steps that, if put into action, can lead to greater success in the realm of communication.To support my assertions, I provide proof on social media documenting how I actually do these things myself. I take a quick snapshot or video with my phone, share the proof with my audience, and get back to work. 

Every one of us with a smartphone currently owns our own media company. At any time we can show the world what’s going on around us, and our audience can share in our experiences. 

As both an individual and as a representation of your business, what are you sharing with the world? Do you highlight your outstanding customer service as a component of your business? Prove it. Show your audience that you’re practicing what you preach. Do you tout the quality of your products and production process? You don’t need a professional film crew to create a documentary. Use the smartphone in your pocket to provide proof.

Regardless of which social media platforms you use, adopt a culture of genuine, transparent behavior. This mindset will position you as an outlier in the most positive sense possible, and you’ll engender trust with your target audience. When developing your social media strategy, start with this word: authentic.

Dec 30

Do Not Wait For the Clock to Strike Midnight: Start Your 2020 Goals Now

General Info

Don't Wait For the Clock to Strike Midnight: Start Your 2020 Goals Now

Each year, people all around the world set New Year's resolutions to help create a vision for their future. However, these goals are often tasks that people are avoiding. It is no wonder that most New Year's resolutions are forgotten about midway through the month of March. This year, I encourage you to set goals revolving around things you are excited to do, but don't wait until the clock strikes midnight. Start your 2020 goals right now!

In order to set reasonable goals for yourself it is important to reflect on the great things you achieved in the last 365 days. For our company, we had a lot! To name two...

  1. In 2019, AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies added three new team members. As a start-up company, we are proud to add new talent to help service our clients. AmpliPhi has been given the opportunity to service clients all over the world using our proven social media strategies.
  2. One of the best things about 2019 - winning a fourth consecutive In Business magazine Executive Choice Award for Social Media Consulting company, and sharing it with our growing team. 

Most importantly, it is crucial to reflect on the things that didn't quite go as planned and use them as a learning lesson. Every 'negative' event that occurred in the last 365 days has brought you to where you are now and can be used as positive motivation for goal setting.

Here are 5 ways you can most effectively set your goals for the future:

  1. Create a vision board: This creates a visual representation of where you wish to see yourself in the next year. 
  2. Make your goals SMART: What are SMART goals? They are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time sensitive.  
  3. Measure your progress: This can be done daily, weekly, or monthly. This helps to ensure that you are on track to your time-sensitive objective and helps to make sure it actually happens.
  4. Start NOW: Don't wait until a new week or new year to start your goals. If you have a goal in mind, you don't want to look back and wish you had more time to achieve it. Create or cut habits out of your life. For example, cut your caffeine consumption and create a workout schedule.
  5. Be excited and make your progress public: If you share your experience through social media platforms you are held accountable. Get your followers involved and encourage them to join you in sharing their own progress.  

Creating a vision for the future and road-mapping the necessary steps to get there will add more value to each New Year's resolution. Create a purpose for the next year by facing the struggles that are in your way. Leave all of the negativity behind and start getting excited about where those opportunities are going to propel you.

Have you started thinking about your goals for 2020? How have your struggles created a foundation for a better future?

Nov 25

How You Can Learn To Love Monday Mornings

General Info

How You Can Learn To Love Monday Mornings

How’s your Monday going so far? Were you excited to wake up this morning? Were you fired up to accomplish great things, or did you think to yourself, “If I just make it through today, Tuesday will be much more tolerable!”

I’ve learned to love Monday mornings, and I’ll share why YOU can too. Oh, and by the way it requires ZERO work on your part.

Here's what I'll ask you to do each weekend, once on Saturday, once on Sunday. 

Before you go to bed on each weekend night, think to yourself, “What did I learn/observe today that has a business lesson in it?”

Why is this important? Everyone loves stories, and when you start noticing business lessons in your environment, you’ll be the one person in your group sharing compelling and interesting stories with your colleagues (and clients and prospects) each Monday morning.

People will look to you for motivation and for leadership.

Now, of course you should still have the conversations about the Olympics, and how Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, and Usain Bolt seem otherworldly. In addition to that – and like an Olympic athlete would – constantly seek to refine your business acumen.

I learned this by accident. How? Like 500 million other people, I have an Instagram account, and at least 5 times a week, I try to post a quick quote or business story. Until I had that “obligation,” I didn’t notice all the great things happening around me.

Remember, this is not, “What can I post about myself on social media that will make me look good?” It’s, “What can I share that will benefit other people?”

Give yourself permission to pause and pay attention, and you'll learn to love Monday's too.

Can you see this idea working for you? Will this be #AdviceThatSticks? If so, please share with a friend who needs it today.

Oct 28

How You Can Utilize AirDrop To Enhance Your Business

General Info

How You Can Utilize AirDrop To Enhance Your Business

What is airdrop?

Airdrop can only be used on and with Apple Products.

As long as the device you wish to send content to is within a certain range-you can share photos & videos.

Why use Airdrop

Well Airdrop is superior to Email or Text Messaging content because:

  1. It automatically saves to your iPhone's Photo Library/Your Computer Downloads Folder
  2. The image/video quality is not compromised
  3. It is faster and easier
  4. Sometimes you can mistakenly send photos to a random person while out in public or vise versa and get a laugh out of it

Each device has a name associated with it-If you have set up a name on iTunes for your device this will show (i.e Lauren Miles iPhone or embarrassingly, as my laptop says Sheila Miles. If not, the icon may read iPad or iPhone (hence sending the wrong photo thing).

Why You Should Use Airdrop:

With as much content as you produce as a business owner, you could use a life hack like this. As Instagram only allows you to post from mobile device, and Facebook offers both-Airdrop can help make mobile posting much easier.

Once you edit/select which photos you want to post from your phone, you can send these easily to your Mac Laptop for Facebook Posting. On the other hand, if you have your content on your computer and wish to post them to Instagram, you can easily send the files from your Mac Laptop right into your iPhone photo album.

Sounds good right? Let us explore more.

On Your Phone 

Make sure your device is discoverable. Put your AirDrop receiving setting to Everyone. Go to your Phone Settings>General>Airdrop.​​​​​

Now you can be sure your icon will show on the other device so that you can begin to send content. Let me show you how it works.

How to Send Content through Airdrop:

  1. Go to your Photo Album
  2. Go to a photo, and click the Share icon (the same one you click to text, make a photo your wallpaper etc)
  3. You will see the icons of devices near you, or where they would show up if present
  4. Simply click the device icon you wish to send items to and around the device icon you will see a progress percentage around the icon selected
  5. (Waiting...Sending...Sent)

On The Receiving Phone

Now, the phone will receive a pop-up message asking if you would like to accept the

Airdrop. Once you click 'Accept' the image(s) or video(s) will be automatically placed in your Photos on your iPhone.

If you click 'Decline' nothing happens and it does not alert the other party.

The only time this can come in handy is if you are in public and know it was not meant (or was meant) for you and you do not want the content. 

On Your Laptop

Click on the Finder icon on your Laptop Dock.

Then select Airdrop from the menu on the lefthand side. Here, make sure your AirDrop receiving setting is to Everyone. 

Here you will see no icons exist in this photo. Once you Unlock/Open your iPhone - wait for the icon to appear-it will look like the following image.)

Airdrop Troubleshooting:

If your phone icon does not appear:​​​​​

  1. Make sure it is open/past the lock code.
  2. Check to ensure your Airdrop setting is set to Everyone - refer to previous page.

On Your Laptop

How to Send Content through Airdrop on your Laptop:

1. Keep this window open and drag and drop files. (You can open a new window or drag from your desktop)

2. Click on the file to open in Preview then up on the main menu at the top, select File-Share-Airdrop

Airdrop Troubleshooting:

 If the image comes to your computer as the following file (or another other than what you need) open the image from your Downloads folder, click File, then Export, and choose which format you would like.

How have you used Airdrop? Your business can benefit greatly by saving time and the quality of your images!

Oct 07

The Surprising Lesson Baseball Cards Taught Me About Social Media

General Info

The Surprising Lesson Baseball Cards Taught Me About Social Media

Like many who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, I was super-interested in baseball cards. Remember what we used to do to get a player’s autograph? We had two options: hope to find the player at a game itself, whether during the season or in spring training, or send a baseball card through the mail. We would mail (what could be) super-valuable cards to the player’s team, with hopes that whoever opened the mail would find the player, get his signature, and mail it back to the kid on the other end.

The chances of getting a reply were rather low at times and the risks were relatively high, because the precious baseball card might not be returned. I found that the Oakland A’s and Milwaukee Brewers were great (both teams returned my cards signed by the player 100% of the time), while the Seattle Mariners left a lot to be desired. I lost not one, but two, Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards to the black hole that is the Mariners fan relations department.

Back then, way before the internet was a household term, it used to be really hard to contact well-known people. The closest thing many of us had to meeting that ballplayer was the “mail and pray” autograph strategy.

You know what's gotten drastically easier since then? Contacting people you admire and would like to know through social media. Whether it’s a baseball player or someone in the business world, we have no barriers to communication. Want to contact anyone at all? Find her on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and send a simple message letting her know how much you like what she does. This message could be in the form of a tweet, status update (LinkedIn) or comment or direct message on Instagram.

Unlike the risk involved with losing a baseball card, is there a risk to sending an electronic message? Nope. Going a step further, what’s the cost of letting someone you know that you admire her work? Zero. In my opinion, expressing genuine appreciation — especially in a public forum like Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram — is one of the best and most noble uses of social media. You’re not guaranteed a reply, but you’re not putting your Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards at risk either.

I’ve done this with someone famous to me: Salt Lake City-based PR strategist and Forbes contributor Cheryl Snapp Conner, and now consider her a friend, despite the fact we’ve never met in person. How did I initially get to know her? Using both Twitter and LinkedIn, I simply shared the articles she’d written with my audience on those respective social media platforms. To ensure she saw my posts, I tagged her (using the @ symbol and her name) in the share descriptions.

She responded to my posts with comments like, “Thanks so much for sharing, Spencer!” Once I saw her acknowledging my comments, I continued systematically posting shares of her articles. And then something really cool happened, although I would never have expected it: She sent me an email (after going to my website) and said she’d like to write an article about me and what I do for her Forbes column.

That initial article appeared in Forbes more than two years ago, and there have been two more featuring me since then. The first allowed me to promote Reach-A-Child, a local non-profit, while the second corresponded with the launch of my book ROTOMA: The ROI of Social Media Top of Mind.

How can you apply this strategy? Wave a magic wand — who would you like to know? Send a message and see what happens. Remember, the physical and communication barriers that existed before no longer do. It now costs you absolutely nothing to reach out to someone you admire. Don’t wait, do it now. Oh, and I gotta run… just found Ken Griffey Jr.’s Instagram account and I need to let him know I’m missing two of his rookie cards.

Sep 30

The Importance of Being Inefficient

General Info

The Importance of Being Inefficient

I turned 40 years old in April. One major goal of mine I’ve aspired to maintain: be the same weight at 40 as I was at 30. Aside from lifting weights four days a week, I knew I had to step-up my overall activity to maintain that goal. I figured that walking 10,000 steps per day and tracking them with my Fitbit would do the trick, but little did I know the benefit it would have on my business life too. That benefit?

The importance of being INefficient.

Wait, what?

The psychology of good intentions

How many apps have you downloaded for your smartphone that you’ve never used? There are apps to help you get motivated, and apps to help you relax. Apps to track to-do lists, and apps to track the things you’re not doing. Maybe you’ve checked out the latest Fitbit models with hopes that a new gadget would push you toward your goals?

Just the process of downloading an app makes you feel productive. Why? You’re visualizing a new & improved version your future self. “The new me is going to be so much more organized,” you tell yourself. After downloading the app, you go back to your normal life feeling great about how your future self will use the software.

Nothing changes, though. The improvements don’t happen because the work doesn’t get done. The same phenomenon applies to new gym memberships and New Year’s resolutions.

How do I know this? I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I absolutely hate wasting time, and oftentimes I’ll only be halfway through a task before thinking of ways to improve the process. I’ve downloaded at least six photo-editing apps alone to help me crop a picture in three seconds less than normal. The net result? This dreaded message:

Here’s what I realized about walking 10,000 steps per day — there are no apps, software, or systems that will accomplish it for you. You simply have to put in the work. Instead of finding ways to be more efficient, I find myself being deliberately INefficient.

Instead of competing for that perfect parking spot in a crowded lot, I park further and further away from buildings I visit just to add an extra couple of hundred steps. I look for an excuse to spend more time doing something that’s impactful to my goals.

How can this apply to you? What could benefit your business life that’s deliberately INefficient?

This may run contrary to what you’ve read about success in business. Heck, it even contradicts some of the stuff I’ve written myself.

Once I stopped being obsessed with efficiency, I found myself spending my time doing things that mattered to both myself to other people. 10,000 steps per day transcended my personal health goals and created a series of habits obsessed with effectiveness.

Are you letting efficiencies get in the way of effectiveness. 

Please share with a friend who would benefit.

Oct 08

6 Steps to Create a Quality Instagram Influencer Campaign

General Info , Instagram , Marketing , Social Media

6 Steps to Create a Quality Instagram Influencer Campaign

You’ve almost certainly heard the word “influencer” in today’s marketing opportunities and for very good reason.

Adweek estimates Influencer Marketing will be a $10 billion industry by 2020.

Instagram (IG – 1 billion monthly active users) will comprise a huge portion of this growth, and finding those to help promote your brand is easier on this platform than any other.

Here are 6 simple steps (including infographic) we’ve created to help you use Instagram in your company’s campaigns. 

1. Identify your target market

Make sure that you’re using the search function on IG. To do this, go to the platform and click the magnifying glass on the bottom. Click inside the search bar (important step many people miss) and you’ll have the option to select Top, People, Tags, and Places. To search by interest, click Tags and enter your search terms. To search by geographic location, click places and enter the name or physical address.

2. Find influencers

Search for people influential in your target market by both number of followers and engagement percentage. The higher the engagement as a percentage of their followers, the better! A good way to figure out their engagement percentage is to take a handful of recent posts and take the number of likes and comments and divide that by the number of followers. This gives you a good idea of how engaged their following is.

3. Participate in their communities

Don’t just reach out to people without knowing more about them. They may have tons of followers and engagement but that alone doesn’t mean they’re the perfect fit. Before reaching out to potential influencers with an offer to work together, engage in their communities. Comment on their posts and like what they share. Be meaningful and deliberate with your contributions. This may create a thoughtful conversation and the opportunity to get to know your brand.

4. Reach out to them with an offer

Contact the influencer through DM (Direct Message) on IG. Since you’ve been engaging in the community you should be at least someone they’re familiar with. Ask them to help promote your brand or product.

5. Negotiate compensation

Be prepared for any reply. Or none at all. Some influencers will request money, product, or both. In our opinion, make sure you’re definitely willing to give them product. If you want them to speak on behalf of your company, they should at least have the opportunity to use what you’re selling. And when it comes to money, figure out what you’re willing to offer ahead of time. If you have a budget in mind, it’s acceptable to work with someone for a certain amount of time and then revisit the partnership. Just make sure you have determined what success looks like and that both parties are in the loop.

6. Review metrics and update

After hiring an influencer to promote what you’re selling, use metrics to track the success. Use unique identifies or coupon codes to track and gauge which campaigns are working and which are not.

Have you tried using influencer marketing in your campaigns? What success (or horror) stories can you share?

Instagram Influencer Campaign

Aug 27

Top 5 Elements That Must Be in Place for Business Owners & Marketing Directors

General Info , Marketing

Top 5 Elements That Must Be in Place for Business Owners & Marketing Directors

Here at AmpliPhi, we have the good fortune of working with fantastic marketing directors every single day. If I were to paraphrase a very common concern we hear, it sounds a lot like this: “Spence, just a few years ago, people in my position were expected to do a handful of things – event publicity, press releases, promotional items, and traditional media advertising (print, billboards, TV/radio). Now, it seems there’s a new marketing channel available every single week. Whether it’s digital marketing, social media marketing, or influencers or ambassadors, my team and I have a hard time allocating time and resources.”

Although your company’s business objectives will vary, we’ve prepared these 5 elements to help give you a brief synopsis of the strategies we’re developing with our clients. Hope you find them helpful as well!

1.) Adopt a modern marketing strategy.

Distill your customer/prospect interactions into digital form as often as possible. Whether it’s video, audio, written, or a combination of all three, modern digital marketing allows us to create a repository of content that will benefit your target customers WITHOUT you having to be present. This opportunity for leveraging your knowledge is the most significant shift in marketing that there has ever been.

2.) Create checklists to “know what success looks like.”

Why? All of us can work 24/7 since there’s no longer a definition of a proper work day. Without checklists, you and I have a very, very hard time of knowing when we’re on-the-clock and when we’re not. Create a realistic daily checklist, and once you’re done, you can allow yourself to leave work feeling great.

3.) Create a “not doing” list.

In addition to the must-do checklist in #2, create a list of things you could be doing but chose not to do right now. Why? 2 reasons –

  • a.) It forces you to reconcile the best use of your time right now. By knowing what you’re not doing, you’re telling yourself that the things you ARE doing are the most important and high-value items.
  • b.) A “not doing” list helps assuage that gnawing feeling of “what am I forgetting?” Until you empty your head – so to speak – on a list, you’ll miss things.

Here are Steps to Effectively Implement a “Not Doing” List

4.) Use the checklists from #2 to create a series of systems for others to follow.

Think to yourself, “If I was a brand-new person working in my business, what would I need to do step-by-step to complete this task/project?” Why is this important? All of us are subject to the Curse of Knowledge; we know our businesses so well that we think to ourselves, “Doesn’t everyone know this?” Nope, they don’t. These step-by-step systems will prevent employee/contractor issues in the future since they’ll know what’s expected of them.

5.) Create a company organizational chart, but create the chart based on roles, and not on people.

Spell out each respective function in your business and – even if it’s currently just you – put the name of each person responsible for that function. For example, if one of your company’s roles is Accounts Payable, designate that role as a position on your organizational chart and write the person’s name. Why is this important? Most of us don’t realize how many hats they’re wearing until it’s spelled out visually. When it’s time to grow, we can confidently hand the least-important roles to employees/contractors using the systems from #4 and checklists from #2.

Which of these systems do you have in place for your business? Which one do you NOT have right now that you could see making the most immediate impact?

Jul 20

6 Coffee Shops we Love to Work at Around the Madison Area

General Info

6 Coffee Shops we Love to Work at Around the Madison Area

Last year our team jumped ship on cubicle life and moved to a remote work setting. And we love it! We’ve grown accustomed to using tools like Zoom or Facetime for video chats, Soapbox for demonstrations, and Slack for communication. It’s just simple. Our team has the ability to wake up and do what’s best for them instead of the constant “get to the office” process.

And although working remotely is awesome, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house for a change of pace to channel some different vibes. That’s why we’ve decided to share with you our favorite coffee shops around the Madison area to work remotely from.

  1. Colectivo on the Square

The Tenney Plaza is home to Colectivo on the Square, the Madison area’s very first Colectivo café. Located at the corner of Pinckney & Main, Colectivo on the Square serves hand-roasted coffee which they call the “Session Coffee”, tea, espresso, and their own Colectivo Keg Co. beers.

We love this place because it’s right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Madison. You can gaze at the Capital building, observe many different types of people, and feel the city’s energy pulsing around you. It’s also perfect if you’re taking in a talk at DreamBank, which we often do. **Added bonus, the internet flies at this location!

  1. Lakeside Coffee

The Lakeside St. Coffee House offers a nice ambiance with a view of Lake Monona. Here you can enjoy organic coffee made from True Coffee Roaster. They also have wine, beer, and live music occasionally in the evenings.

This place is cool because it’s super chill and a bit off the beaten path. It’s typically a place we go when we need to put headphones on and dig deep into a big project. It’s quiet and there aren’t many distractions, except the large train that cruises by every so often. But that’s actually pretty cool because of how close it is to the building. Lakeside also has a

basement level that’s usually not super busy, which offers a nice place for video calls, if needed.  **Added bonus, parking is super simple here with tons of street spots close by.

  1. Cargo Coffee on East Wash

Located on the ground floor of The Constellation on East Washington is Cargo Coffee. A great place for meetings or just getting work done.

This place is awesome because it’s super big. It’s 2-stories and the walls are covered with maps. The main wall of the room is a huge, old-school map of the USSR and Asia. It’s really cool! It’s got tons of windows, which helps with the creative inspiration. **Added bonus, it’s pretty close to Festival Foods, so you can grab dinner on the way home!

  1. Crescendo Espresso Bar + Music Café

Being an espresso bar and music Café, Crescendo offers the best of both worlds, serving coffee, beer, and wine plus live music. They host events all throughout the week featuring local and touring performers.

What we really like about Crescendo is that they serve Anodyne coffee, which is an amazing blend of beans. Also, our entire staff has music in their bloodlines. It just makes sense that this place is one of our favorites. It’s an intimate location but great for inspiration. **Added bonus, the chorizo burrito is yum-licious!

  1. Barriques at Cayuga Court

One of the many Barriques is located on Cayuga Street in Middleton, just off University Avenue. This coffee shop offers a great selection of beer, spirits, and wine along with t

heir full coffee and espresso bar serving their awesome coffee drinks.

We heart Barriques at Cayuga because it’s a great spot to meet clients in the Middleton area and they have a lot of space. A lot of the other coffee shops in this area are smaller, so it’s possible to not get a table if you have a meeting, but we’ve never been let down at this location. **Added bonus at this location, a fireplace! For the chillier days, this is a really nice touch. Comfort beverage in a comfort setting, nothing better.

  1. Tuvalu in Verona

Main St. in Verona is where you can find Tuvalu Coffeehouse. This coffee shop is family-owned and serves 100% fair trade, locally roasted, and organic coffee from Just Coffee and Rishi Tea.  They also feature many different food options and locally sourced goodies.

This shop stands out because it’s got such a homey feel. The walls are covered with works by local artists and half of the place is a gift shop that includes a vast array of different pieces from artists around the globe. Also, it’s right off of the Military Ridge bike trail, which makes it an easy ride for our AmpliPhi west side crew. **Added bonus, the coffee cake is to die for.

A coffee shop is probably one of the best places to chillax, meet interesting people, have a long and meaningful conversation, and most of all

get work done. If you’re in the Madison area, check these shops out. We’ve never been disappointed.