November 27th, 2013 by Guest Blogger
By Weber Shandwick
One in three Americans is consuming news via Facebook.
One in 10 Americans is getting news on Twitter.
While the majority of Americans still turn to TV as their main source of news, social media sources are gaining speed, especially with younger generations. Many companies are taking notice and successfully utilizing these important channels.
A new multi-part survey released by Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation, a national nonprofit that promotes quality journalism, media innovation, community engagement and arts programs, examines the role that news plays among Facebook and Twitter users.
Key findings include:
- Breakdown of News Consumers on Facebook and Twitter – Roughly 64 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook, half of whom (47 percent) also consume news on Facebook. Just 16 percent of U.S. adults are on Twitter and among those, a little more than half (52 percent) get their news there.
- Young Adults are Main News Consumers on Facebook and Twitter – Young adults (18- to 29-year-olds) make up 34 percent of Facebook news consumers and 45 percent account for Twitter news consumers.
- Twitter News Consumers are More Educated and Mobile – Forty percent of Twitter news consumers and 30 percent of Facebook news consumers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Mobile devices are becoming a key news access point for 85 percent of Twitter news consumers and 64 percent of Facebook news consumers.
- Main News Topics Consumed/Engaged with on Facebook and Twitter – The most popular news topics consumed, liked and shared via Facebook are entertainment (73 percent), local community (65 percent), sports (57 percent) and national politics and government (55 percent). On Twitter, developing news stories and big events are the most common topics followed, tweeted and re-tweeted.
- Breaking News Discovered/Shared More on Twitter – Only 28 percent of Facebook news consumers turn to Facebook for breaking news while Twitter news consumers are likely to focus on breaking news and tweet about it.
Our take? News consumers today have short attention spans and zero time to waste, so news has to be delivered in engaging, visually impactful bites. For example, if you’re prepping a news item for Facebook, keep in mind that posts with photos receive 53 percent more likes and 120 percent more engagement than the average post. Also, consider posting multiple times with different call-outs or aspects of your news announcement to appeal to a variety of audiences and to give your news more “feed time.” Finally, if your news is global, be sure to synchronize the timing of your posts so you’re capturing consumers on the other side of the world at a time they are most likely to be looking at their feeds.
To learn more about the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation’s recent Facebook and Twitter news consumption study, click on these links:
November 26th, 2013 by Kelsey Siqveland
5 Who Shine: Deb Camasta
Hair stylist and member of SPACC, Deb Camasta, goes above and beyond sharing her talents. Every six weeks she makes a visit to the Ronald McDonald House on the University of Minnesota campus to give the families who are staying there her salon services.
Deb knows first hand what it’s like to have to stay there and feels it’s so important to give back. This is why every month she is there to give haircuts – and sometimes more – to those families.
As one of the 5 Who Shine being spotlighted, Deb will be receiving a gift that shines from Pandora from their new Essence Collection.
More info: http://twincitieslive.com/article/stories/s3221598.shtml
November 26th, 2013 by Kelsey Siqveland
By Concordia University
For many Americans, Black Friday is as much of their Thanksgiving tradition as cutting the turkey. And, retailers are counting on this fact with the recent push to open doors even earlier Thanksgiving Day for deal seekers. Some big box stores, including Best Buy, have announced they’ll open their doors at 6 p.m., raising the stakes for bargain shoppers.
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, with consumers battling crowds and long lines to rake in the deals while businesses are busy raking in the profits.
The National Retail Federation estimated that more than 150 million people filled stores nationwide Thanksgiving weekend, accounting for record-breaking sales last year—sales grew by 13 percent from 2011. The most successful (and profitable) stores are those that have established a strategy to market their deep discounts and deals to consumers. You don’t have to hold a business or marketing degree to understand the importance of an effective marketing strategy. You want to position your company top-of-mind with consumers so your store is on top of their shopping list.
Why You Should Get Swept Up in the Hype of Black Friday
Many local or smaller retail businesses have reservations about getting in on the Black Friday juggernaut. Most wrongly assume that the biggest shopping day of the year only benefits the big box retailers that have mass inventory and room to slash prices. However, even the little guy can benefit from Black Friday mania.
- Clean up your inventory: Fill up your dusty sales rack that hangs in the back of your store the other 364 days of the year with overstocked or out-of-season items and put it front and center. Consumers are looking for deep discounts on Black Friday and thrive on slashed price tags. You can clean up your inventory and make room for new goods on this big shopping day.
- Score first-time customers: People are on the hunt for deals on Black Friday and are likely to stop at stores that they’d otherwise pass when they are searching for a bargain. This is your chance to not only attract these first-time customers but present them with a shopping experience that will keep them coming back to your store.
- Earn fast cash: Don’t fall under the wrong assumption that you have to price stock at a loss to make sales. Most stores—big and small—will move considerable amounts of stock throughout Black Friday and the subsequent weekend of shopping, meaning businesses should take in a sizeable profit.
Take a Bite Out of the Black Friday Market Share
The Black Friday consumer is a unique breed of shopper, and Black Friday is a unique shopping experience. These consumers thrive in crowds, map out an attack plan and revel in the victory of scoring a deal. Retailers who understand the psychological mindset of the Black Friday shopper and thus create a shopping experience that is unique to their needs will often see the biggest weekend profits. Here are what some experts have said about the psychological effects of Black Friday.
- Crowds create a hedonic shopping experience: Sang-Eun Byun, an Auburn University assistant professor of consumer affairs, noted that most shoppers typically try to avoid crowds. However, in instances like Black Friday, shopping is turned into more of a competition with heightened levels of excitement that generate feelings of pleasure from the sale.
- People enjoy the hunt: In many ways, shopping for deals is akin to hunting, according to Leisa Reinecke Flynn, a University of Southern Mississippi professor of marketing and fashion merchandising. Shoppers set their sights on a target and thrive in the chase of finding this item.
- Preparation adds to the excitement: Loyal Black Friday shoppers often map out their game plan to effectively use their time and money before hitting the stores. According to University of Delaware fashion studies professor Sharron Lennon, while preparation may help shoppers’ efficiency, it also raises the likelihood of “consumer misbehavior” because these plans can sometimes be thwarted by other shoppers.
- Black Friday shopping is ritualistic: For many Americans, Black Friday shopping is their Thanksgiving tradition. Research conducted by Winthrop University professors Jane Boyd Thomas and Cara Peters on the psychology of a Black Friday shopper discovered that loyal shoppers plan their retail expedition with the same amount of thoroughness that they plan their holiday meal and other traditions.
Using Online Marketing to Raise the Stakes of Black Friday
Shoppers are going online to find Black Friday deals. Whether they are scouring sites like BFAD.net for a listing of big box deals or using mass e-commerce sites like Amazon to find the best price, an online presence can gain you larger profits this holiday shopping season.
- Manage your online presence: Take this time leading up to Black Friday to get your website ready for increased traffic. Generate engaging content and create product galleries that entice people to visit your store this holiday season. If you do offer online shopping options, make sure to work the kinks out of these functionalities to make the digital shopping experience seamless.
- Go mobile: A Pew Internet study found that 56 percent of American adults have a smartphone. And, it is likely that most of these smartphone users are using their mobile devises to find deals and shop. Make sure your site is adaptable to the online marketplace. Your site should be responsive and navigable at any bandwidth or size. And, for the advanced retailer, consider adding a mobile app to the marketplace for easy check out.
- Dip into e-commerce sales: For smaller businesses, sites like Amazon and eBay provide a tremendous outlet to reach a national (and international) audience. The commerce functionality is beneficial to small retail stores that don’t have the capacity for complex commerce systems.
- Don’t forget Cyber Monday: For bigger businesses with built-in sales functions, don’t forget the newest trend in post-Thanksgiving shopping—Cyber Monday. Be sure to offer customers great savings when they order online to help drive traffic to your site and push sales.
Every retailer is competing for the same dollar on Black Friday. Effective marketing can put that dollar in your register instead of your competitors’.
November 20th, 2013 by James McClean
MNsure is Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange meant to help individuals and small businesses access affordable healthcare options. Enrollment for health insurance plans through MNsure began last month for plans to be effective starting January 1 of 2014. Visitwww.mnsure.org for more information about the organization. MNsure has a board of directors responsible for operation of the exchange but the entity has been developed through a collaborative, multi-agency effort with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, MN.IT and Minnesota Management and Budget. Stakeholder input is also imperative to provide dialogue with diverse populations statewide to support ongoing development.
The legislation that created MNsure also called for two advisory committees to provide guidance, advice and recommendations to the MNsure Board as it carries out its mission. The advisory committees include a Health Industry Advisory Committee (HIAC) consisting of representatives from insurance producers, health care providers, and the broader health care industry. The second advisory group is the Consumer and Small Business Advisory Committee (CSBAC) representing individuals and small businesses that can access health insurance through the exchange. Your Chamber’s director of public affair, James McClean, has been selected to serve on the CSBAC. If your business is considering or planning to access health insurance through MNsure, and you have thoughts about the process, accessibility of the website, the offerings on the exchange, or anything else related to MNsure, positive, negative, or in between, James want to hear from you. You can contact him directly firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-265-2795.
The first major issue that both advisory committees are weighing is the question of whether to operate MNsure under an active purchaser or open marketplace model. Currently, MNsure is operating under the open marketplace model, where any plan that meets minimum state and federal guidelines can be offered on the exchange. Starting in 2015, MNsure has the authority to take a more active role in selecting which plans can or cannot be listed on the exchange. There is a wide range of options in terms of how the MNsure board can exercise that authority, including not exercising it at all. Click here for a list of articles with a more detailed examination of the active purchaser vs. open marketplace approaches. If you have an opinion on which route MNsure should take, contact James today!
November 13th, 2013 by Guest Blogger
By Jeff Perry
There is a lot of discussion in corporate America today about Engagement. The studies show that the more engaged the workforce, the more productive the company. In some hospitals, research has shown that more engaged employees save lives because they wash their hands more frequently, spreading less disease. Certainly part of positive engagement is interactivity – with one’s team, with the mission of the organization, with the customer.
I had an experience performing music recently that provided a great lesson in engagement and interactivity. I was hired to perform at a grand opening for a luxury apartment complex near the U of M. I was accompanied by an upright bassist and we were essentially there to provide ambiance music (my euphemism for background music!). For the most part that’s what we did. However, there were a few points when, suddenly, we became the center of attention. While we were improvising, I would play and develop a motif or riff and the bassist would follow. We would develop the riff to a climax – all the while our eyes and ears were locked in. Our smiles would grow until we came to the conclusion of our build up. We would follow that up with laughs.
When we did this, I remember glancing over to the two bartenders. They were completely focused on us and smiling. There was a group of people from Asia who applauded and cheered. The wait staff gave us nods. We were no longer in the background.
What I took away from that night is that, I can play the most brilliant passages, and while they might impress other musicians, it was at the points my partner and I were most engaged, most interactive, that people became invested in what we were doing. I’m not going to stop trying for the brilliant passages, but I will now be much more focused on playing in a way that engages the listener due to the high interactivity among the players I’m performing with.
What does interactivity and engagement look like in your workplace?
Jeff Perry is a conservatory-trained guitarist and bandleader. He specializes in performing great songs spanning from the 1920s to today. You are as likely to hear him play the Beatles as Duke Ellington, Madonna as Cole Porter, Depche Mode as Miles Davis, or Bob Marley as Dave Brubeck. Learn more and hear samples at www.jeffperryjazz.com
November 12th, 2013 by Sue Manka
Okay, it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but the holiday season seems to be gearing up big time!
As you make your plans for the season, don’t forget to check out the Chamber’s online membership directory!
You can find everything from AV equipment for corporate parties to bars and restaurants to catering services, cleaning services, garden centers, florists, furniture, jewelry, photographers and so much more.
Go with a chamber member – you can’t go wrong!
Also, this holiday season check out our SPACC Savings program to see what great services and products you can save on! Plus, if you’re a member, now is the perfect time to post your own coupons and special holiday offers on our website to bring in that extra traffic to your business.
November 8th, 2013 by elisarasmussen
My day job consists of connecting our members together to provide meaningful relationships whether they are looking to do business with each other, looking for advice or professional services or even need help marketing their business. Often, we joke, I am e-harmony for business!
Last night we celebrated our 5th annual Chamber Honors Gala and celebrated many deserving people and businesses. The event was filled with so many people making connections, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Click here to see photos of matchmaking at its finest.
October 30th, 2013 by Matt Kramer
Your Chamber recently launched a job bank for our members to post available positions. Why? Well, the simple answer is because our members asked us to! We had sufficient demand, on a regular basis, to invest in technology to better serve member business’ hiring needs. But do we really need another job board? The answer is a resounding yes!
Members want the recruiting exposure on our website, which not only attracts over 6,000 hits a month (and growing!), but correlates to our strong business advocacy focus. For more than 145 years, your Chamber has served as a gateway to business advantage, and what better way to support the leaders in our local community than with the ultimate staffing resource. You know that when you post a job on the Chamber’s website, you are going to get tremendous exposure in front of top notch, quality candidates. Why not take advantage of this member resource to add to your recruiting capacity? It’s simple!
So…post away, and best of luck in finding your next great employee.
To learn more or to see if your membership qualifies you for access to our job bank, email Mindee@saintpaulchamber.com today!
October 25th, 2013 by Andrea Kramer
Last night was the Leadership Saint Paul Class of 2013′s Graduation Ceremony at Padelford Packet Boat Company. Jill Skogheim, the Curriculum Committee Chair, and John Marshall, the Foundation Board Chair emceed the evening. Special thanks to our two class speakers – Andrea Satter and Ken Iosso. They showed what the Class of 2013 brought to the program and highlighted what this year meant to the participants.
Leadership Saint Paul is a fantastic experience for the 50 leaders in the East Metro that participate each year. It was great to see this year be no different with a future afterglow already planned to keep everyone in contact with each other! The class can now officially join the vast LSP Alumni group, and make even more connections during LSP Masters programming.
If you are interested in learning more about LSP, contact Andrea Kramer, Interim Director of Education and Foundation at email@example.com or call 651.265.2768.
October 23rd, 2013 by Sue Manka
Ginny Morris wowed a crowd of over 140 at our Monthly Membership Meeting yesterday at the Town and Country Club.
The setting was perfect, the food delicious and the speaker outstanding! Also, a special congratulations to our Celebrate Business Success Recipient this month – Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota!
Your Chamber has provided so many wonderful speakers at our Monthly Membership meetings this year. This is evidenced by the fact that we have had a record number of sold out meetings in 2013.
November will be your last chance to attend a Membership Meeting in 2013; we don’t have one in December. So think about joining us on November 19 at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville, when our featured speaker will be the University of Minnesota’s Vice President of Research, Brian Herman.
Thank you to our members for your continued support.