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Fletcher Prince’s 2010 Naughty and Nice List

Who’s getting a big lump of coal in their stocking this year?  And who is getting the good word for Santa Claus?  Oh yeah, we’re going there.

Let’s start with the naughty one, so we can end this blog post with a high note 🙂

Fletcher Prince’s Naughty List (it’s not very long)

A big lump of coal goes to an unnamed pro to whom we were quite friendly in 2010.  Not only had we gone out of our way to introduce this person around to our contacts, we also referred one of our nicest clients to him.  For a juicy project, by the way, that if he landed would have amounted to more than twice our billings for all of 2010.  The thing is  — as much as we wanted that project, we knew he could do a better job than we could, so we recommended him, instead.  Wait for it….

Guess what.  We did not hear thank you. Well, that’s okay.  But then, less than a week later, he’s dissing Fletcher Prince’s work.  On Twitter.

Wow. Did not see that coming.

I’m all for constructive criticism but this was kind of like Lance Armstrong telling a kid on a tricycle he really should be pedaling faster.

We’re not really sure what motivated this person, since we’re not exactly eating his lunch, but that’s the last referral he’s getting from  us.  The lesson here?  Besides, show some gratitude?  And pick on someone your own size?  Take if offline, if you’ve got to say it.

Fletcher Prince’s Nice List

Fortunately, looking back at 2010, that was really our only negative experience.  Plenty of Fletcher Prince clients and supporters should get lots of loot from Kris Kringle this year, if we have anything to say about it.

Thanks for the LinkedIn recommendations!

Santa, please remember all the good folks who gave us LinkedIn recommendations this year, including Laura Fall and Bruce Fall, Rita Mhley, Barbara Burfeind, Coral Gundlach, and Soraya Duke.  Thanks to all of you!

Thanks for the referrals!

We hope Saint Nick puts an extra candy cane in the stockings of Coral Gundlach, who not only retained our services but also referred us to a new client Fall Properties, as well as Susan Rink, Lorelei Harloe, and Woody Hinkle who took time in 2010 to refer prospective clients to Fletcher Prince.  Thank you, too, to Rita Mhley who also referred me to a colleague, and who brought in a group of communications professionals to Fletcher Prince for a morning of social media training.  Personal referrals are golden and we thank you so much for your confidence in us.

Thanks for bringing us on to your projects

We felt especially honored that some of our colleagues brought us in to help with their client projects.  We feel that is just the highest vote of confidence you can get.  Thank you to Heathere Evans-Keenan who brought us in on her work for Timberline Bank and to Sandra Wills Hannon, who brought us in to help with a Howard University project.  We love subcontracting and it was wonderful working with both of you.

Thanks for the speaking engagements!

We hope Santa is extra good to our friends this year who referred me for speaking engagements.  Thanks to Tim Flaherty for arranging for me to speak about social media to TIVA-DC early this year, and thanks to Richard Harrington for referring me as a speaker on blogging at the Government Video Expo.  I enjoyed both opportunities very much.

We love you clients (and please hire us again in 2011)

Our 2010 clients are the best.  We appreciate you more than we can say.  Thank you for working with us in 2010.  Stick with us in 2011; we’ll take you places!  Santa, please be extra good to

  • ASQ Communications (Claudia Askew)
  • Coral Gundlach
  • Dominion Mechanical
  • Fall Properties
  • Keenan PR (Heathere Evans-Keenan)
  • PRofessional Solutions
  • Rink Strategic Communications (Susan Rink)

My 25th LinkedIn recommendation! Feels great…

Laura Fall

Laura Fall, Fall Properties

“Mary has provided our company with valuable tools to promote our business and reach our client base. Technology is so fast paced and can be overwhelming to a small business. It is essential to be connected to people online and Mary has equipped us with the skills we need. We will continue to reach out to Mary for her consultation and I recommend her to any individuals or small businesses who wish to grow their online presence.” August 19, 2010

Top qualities: Expert, Good Value, Creative

Laura Fall hired Mary Fletcher as a Business Consultant in 2010, and hired Mary Fletcher more than once.

Summer has been busy! Client news round-up from Fletcher Prince

It’s been a busy summer!  Here’s a quick wrap-up of what’s been going on with Fletcher Prince lately…

  • David and I were hired by Keenan PR for social media consultation and to create a Facebook Page for Timberline Bank, a community bank in Colorado. It has been a pleasure working closely with Heathere Evans-Keenan on this project.  How exciting it would be to go to Colorado and record some video (hint, hint)!  We are not new to subcontracting, by the way.  Just this spring, we completed a Facebook Page and some videos for Howard University, working with wonderful Sandra Hannon of The Hannon Group.  David was also the graphic designer “of record” for Fenton Communications for years.  We routinely work with corporate communications departments who outsource their work to us.   We love to subcontract — and our rates are mark-up friendly — so don’t hesitate to ask about these kind of arrangements.
  • Meanwhile, David is resuming his quarterly gig with Deloitte Touche, which should wrap up in a couple of weeks.  It’s top-secret-clearance-level federal government work and we can’t talk about it 🙂 but it involves intensive amounts of graphic design for publications for congressional use.
  • We launched an email newsletter campaign for local Realtor Fall Properties.  These are fun newsletters to read and you might want to check them out, even if you’re not in the market for a house.  They are getting open rates that far exceed the industry norm.  The next one is going to feature the “best of the beach.”  We’re continuing to work on their social media, as well.  Their Facebook Page has really taken off in the past few months, with lots of new fans.  Not to mention, YouTube video…  Fall Properties is super-busy now, which is unusual this time of year in the real estate industry.  It feels so good to be part of their success.
  • We created a new website for Dominion Mechanical, a mechanical construction firm, a long-time client of David’s.  We also created a suite of social media sites for the company (including YouTube, Facebook Page, Twitter account, etc.).  Now we’re working on their brochure and some advertising.  Our contacts at Dominion said they have already received several positive comments about the website 🙂
  • I spent some time updating Susan Rink of Rink Strategic Communications on the stats of her social media efforts, which are going very well since we helped her create those branded sites about a year ago (YouTube, podcast, blog, Facebook Page, etc.) We’re looking forward to creating more YouTube videos with Susan this August.  Susan told me today she is so busy with her consulting business that she hasn’t had a day off in weeks, so we certainly hope that our marketing efforts for her had a little something to do with that!
  • We’re helping a new client jump in the social media pool — The Waterfront Cafe in Hilton Head, SC.  We’ve just launched their new blog, Facebook Page, Twitter account, Flickr site, and YouTube channel.  We’re also helping them manage their online profiles on critical review sites, including Yelp and TripAdvisor.  It’s so gratifying to see them embrace Twitter, Facebook, and blogging!  Next phase of the project (you guessed it!): YouTube video!
  • On the “community service” side, we recorded and edited several new Conversations in Public Relations videos (our interviews with thought leaders in the Washington, DC metropolitan area communications field), including interviews with the leaders of the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. We still have a few to work on and put online.  That makes 99 of these videos currently on our YouTube site  — that we have produced entirely at our own expense.  Before the summer is over, I look forward to hosting a free social media diagnostic and training clinic for small business owners and nonprofit managers.  Let me know if you are interested in more information about that.

That seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  But we are still eagerly looking for new projects, so please call us if we can help you out (571) 269-7559.  You can find a description of our services and our rates on our website.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer.  Take care, Mary

My 23rd LinkedIn recommendation…I’m celebrating!

“Mary did a great job getting our company positioned on the internet with vehicles such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. She worked well with all members of the Fall Properties staff and became our trusted advisor on all internet matters. We highly prize her insight, creativity and good business sense. We looking forward to having her help us on an email marketing campaign.” April 26, 2010

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative

Bruce Fall hired Mary Fletcher as a Business Consultant in 2010

Client Profile: Fall Properties

This article is part of a series of Fletcher Prince client profiles, designed to explain the work we do, and quantify the results.

The Client and the Challenge

Who: Fall Properties (http://www.FallProperties.com)

Business: Residential real estate agency serving neigbhorhoods in Arlington and Falls Church, Virginia.

Challenge:  Reinforce expertise of Realtors in targeted geographic area.  Create an online brand presence.  Establish Fall Properties as a friendly, accessible and valuable community resource.

How: After completing a marketing assessment and developing a communications plan, Fletcher Prince worked with Fall Properties on multi-part online marketing strategy.

  • Identified best practices. competitors, and online communities, including Twitter and YouTube accounts, Facebook Pages and fans, LinkedIn groups
  • Blog training for staff; redesigned elements of the blog for search engine optimization.
  • Facebook Page, including customized landing page
  • Twitter accounts for company management; Twitter training; custom Twitter background
  • YouTube Channel and videos; custom YouTube background
  • Email newsletter training
  • Promotional materials, including a postcard campaign
  • Web site updates
  • LinkedIn corporate profile
  • Photography, and Flickr account

Results

Fall Properties’ investment in affordable marketing services with Fletcher Prince is beginning to pay off in their first month using social media. Fall Properties has already obtained 75 followers on Twitter, 45 Fans on Facebook, and 238 Channel views on YouTube.  We look forward to seeing how their success evolves as they implement the communications plan we designed for them.

Feedback from the Client

We were so gratified by Fall Properties’ endorsement for our work  on YouTube.

Market your company with online profiles

Fletcher Prince YouTube Channel

Fletcher Prince YouTube Channel

Why are online profiles so important for your brand?

One of the tasks we handle at Fletcher Prince is helping individuals and companies craft online profiles and bios that work well for their brand.  As you may know, online profiles appear in a number of social media platforms and online directories: Google Maps, Google Profiles, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube, for example.  You may have an “About Us” page or biographies of your staff on your company web site.  Each online profile presents different opportunities to market your brand, and requires different approaches.

Online profiles are prime Internet “real estate” to present key messages about your brand, so it’s worthwhile to create good ones.

Basic Ingredients of an Online Profile

  • A description of your company, or your personal or professional biography. Think about what people would like to know, and how you are unique among your competitors.
  • A link to your web site (include http://) or blog.  Make it interesting and brief.
  • At least one high-quality photograph of yourself and/or an image of your company’s logo, in appropriate resolution.  If that image is supposed to be square, as it is in YouTube, Twitter, iTunes, and Facebook, then have a square version of your logo designed for this purpose (we can handle that for you at Fletcher Prince).  It’s a worthwhile investment for your brand recognition.  If you can upload more photos to the profile (as you may do on Google Maps and Yelp, for example) take advantage of that potential by showing off images of your employees, company headquarters, products, or portfolio examples.
  • At least one short online video, if permitted.  Some online profiles, such as Google Maps, allow you to post a few videos on your profile.

How to Create Online Profiles People Will Value and Trust

Have you ever read an online profile on Twitter or LinkedIn and thought that it didn’t really tell you what you wanted to know about that person or company?  Were you ever left wondering where the company was located, or what the person actually did for a living?  People do want to know more about you and your company, as they Google you online.  But you have to be discerning about what you include in your online profiles.  This content and approach will vary, according to what you feel your audience will respond to.  A friendly and humorous tone may work for one company, but not another.  One general tip for online profiles is to write from your customer’s perspective.  Think, “If I were my customer, why would I want to read this, and what benefit would it offer me?  What problem will knowing more about this company help solve for me?”

Another tip is to avoid using promotional language, unless it is substantiated by a third party or has some other quantifiable aspect.  For example, it’s more powerful to say “Fletcher Prince is an award-winning marketing communications firm….” rather than “Fletcher Prince is a high-quality marketing communications firm.”  Try to use objective language when describing your company online.  It will help your audience believe and trust your content.

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

As you write online profiles, the first thing to appreciate is that your audience reads and absorbs information in a different way from how they read print information, say a book or newspaper.  People scan online text rapidly, looking for titles, images, bullets, subheads, and bold face text to get a quick overview of the content.  It’s also critical to consider how search engines — such as Google — will index your text to give you the optimized results you want. That means using keywords and links.

Polishing Your Twitter Profile

Fall Properties Twitter Page

Those specific details don’t just help Google index you correctly, they also help prospective customers understand you better.  I feel this is especially important on Twitter bios, which are so brief, they should be heavily keyword-laden for best results.  A nice touch for a Twitter profile is to include a reason to follow the account and a call to action.  For example, here’s an example of a Twitter bio we crafted for Fall Properties.

“Buying or selling a home in Falls Church or Arlington, VA? Follow the experienced realtors at Fall Properties for tips & events. Ph: (703) 536-7001”

What works about this Twitter bio

  1. It is written from the customer’s perspective (buying or selling a home?)
  2. It’s specific and targeted (Falls Church or Arlington, VA?)
  3. It provides a reason to follow the account (experienced realtors providing tips; event announcements)
  4. It has a call to action (call the phone number)

Making the Most of YouTube Profiles

I also recommend using white space and other attention-getting treatments, when available.  This is especially important with YouTube profiles.  Not everyone takes advantage of all the space YouTube offers in its profile section, but keep in mind, it’s free, and 25% of all search goes through YouTube.  Check out the Fletcher Prince YouTube Channel to see how we used our online profile on YouTube to link to our web site, as well as our company Facebook Page, blog, and Twitter account.

What works for you?

I would love to know if any of these suggestions have improved your online bios or profiles.  I bet you have all kinds of ideas that have worked well for you.  Please post your own suggestions about what to include (or not include) in online profiles and bios in the comments below.  Thank you for contributing to this discussion!

Did you like this post?  Please leave a comment

If this post helped you today, please leave me a comment.  I would really appreciate that.  Also feel free to share it with friends who you think would benefit from it.

Fletcher Prince 2009 Annual Report

David Hyson and Mary Fletcher Jones of Fletcher Prince

As 2009 draws to a close, I would like to report on the activities of our small marketing communications company, Fletcher Prince.  Fletcher Prince, as you may know, is managed by David Hyson and Mary Fletcher Jones, and provides creative and affordable marketing solutions to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and beyond.  Our services include website design, graphic design, photography, video, social media and marketing consultation, public relations, and email marketing.

Fletcher Prince Client Work in 2009

Rink Strategic Communications. Fletcher Prince produced an online video series and podcast for Rink Strategic Communications.  Working with Susan Rink, we also helped her launch her company blog, email newsletter, Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and Twitter account.  It has been a pleasure working with Susan, and we look forward to producing six more videos with her in 2010.

PrimeTime Staffing. Fletcher Prince produced a corporate marketing kit for their existing client, Doris McGhee of PrimeTime Staffing, including a custom-designed pocket folder and inserts.

Fall Properties. Fletcher Prince was retained by the residential real estate firm Fall Properties to deliver social media marketing consultation and email marketing training, an effort that will continue into 2010.

Fletcher Prince Pro Bono Work in 2009

Fletcher Prince completed numerous pro bono projects on behalf of communications organizations.

Social Media for PRSA-NCC. For the first half of 2009, Mary served as Marketing and Public Relations Committee Co-Chair for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, coordinating the chapter’s social media efforts.  She also created a social media policy for the chapter.  Fletcher Prince re-designed the chapter’s Twitter account to be brand-identifiable, and designed and launched a blog for the chapter.  Mary continues to moderate the blog and train chapter staff on how to write blog posts.  In addition to the blog design, David designed a social media-friendly version of the chapter logo for use on the chapter’s accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and WordPress.  Mary was commissioned by the chapter to produce a video featuring several chapter and board committee members on the value of public relations, a pro bono project. The video was shown at the chapter’s Thoth Awards gala and at the PRSA conference in San Diego, CA.

Meeting Coordination for DC Podcasters Alliance. Mary served as Assistant Organizer for the DC Podcasters Alliance through June, and planned meetings and made presentations on topics related to podcasting.

Conversations in Public Relations Blog and YouTube Videos. As a service to the Washington, DC area professional communications community, Fletcher Prince produced an online video series and podcast, “Conversations in Public Relations,” featuring interviews with local communicators and association leaders.  We produced more than 80 videos on a variety of public relations and advertising topics.

World Water Center YouTube Channel and Videos. Fletcher Prince produced five videos and designed a YouTube channel, pro bono, for the World Water Center, a nonprofit organization.

Fletcher Prince Promotional Efforts in 2009

Our promotional work for our company involves presenting informative content about creative and affordable marketing strategies.

Fletcher Prince YouTube Videos. This year, we produced six informative, how-to YouTube videos that describe various ways of using social media to promote and market a small business or nonprofit organization, including blogging, Twitter, online video, online press rooms, and other topics.

Fletcher Prince Blog. We moved our blog from the WordPress.org platform to the WordPress.com platform.  We lost a couple of years of posts, but the change was worthwhile for the SEO benefits.  We blogged three times a week, on average.

Examiner.com Mary has been writing as the DC Social Media Examiner and the DC Marketing and Public Relations Examiner this year, covering industry-related events and news.

In other 2009 Fletcher Prince news…

  • Mary and David received 18 LinkedIn recommendations for their work in 2009.
  • Mary was interviewed by Paul Vogelzang and Limor Schafman for Capitol Communicator’s video series featuring local thought leaders in communications.
  • David was retained by Deloitte Touche and Florida Education Association to provide graphic design services.
  • Fletcher Prince was registered in the Federal Government contract services system.

Thanks for reading.  Please contact us if we can help you with marketing projects in 2010!

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