Reboot Between Holidays to Make the Most of 2019

I have found that the time between Christmas (or Hanukah) and New Years can be most productive in researching and planning strategies to kick start January! After all the hustle, entertainment, and excuses for not being focused, it is a great time to get away from the holiday mode to get strategic for the new year.

No strategic marketing plan beyond goals for 2019? You are not alone. Most companies have some goals in their business plan which address quantitative measures to reach, but few bring it on down to the strategies which will help them realize the outcomes they want. Just consider digital strategic planning, a strategy which is increasingly being used to build relationships with customers. Most statistics probably look like the Managing Digital Marketing in 2017 produced by Smart Insights: Only 34% of participants said they have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy which is integrated in their overall marketing strategy, and 47% do not have any defined strategy for the digital marketing they are doing. I question whether 2018 will show a significant change.

So, what I think is important to do with those days between holidays, whether you are responsible for marketing in a large enterprise, competing as a small business owner, or simply trying to launch a new business, requires spending a few hours in the following areas:

Think about 2018 accomplishments and failures. Pick five for each. Which are significant in 2019 to either expand or get right?

Research. You don’t know what you don’t know. Read at least one book on your industry, thought leadership, marketing, or workforce and culture. Hold it in your hands, turn down important pages and either underline, highlight or even better create a document of must keep, must do, must think about more. Organize all those emails and documents you kept and haven’t done anything with yet. Review these and apply them to your top accomplishments and failures. Get rid of what doesn’t apply between 2019 and 2020 because the rest will probably never be important, or your work life will change so much that those won’t be relevant.

Bring it on down. I have lived long enough to know that what we practice becomes better and real. Take one strategy and matrix it with why it is important, what tactics must be done, who can help you or take the lead for it, what obstacles do you expect and how to handle them, define timelines, and identify how you are going to measure your outcomes. Notice that I didn’t say a goal, but instead, one strategy. You will be practicing what you should do with all strategies for your goal. Think micro. You will also feel so good about accomplishing something real!

That’s it. Three or four days with three or four hours each day will help you to reboot for 2019! One more thought…share it! The more you communicate, the more likely it will become part of you, that personal brand, which defines who you are and the passion you have to make things happen.

Break a leg (not literally) and pat yourself on the back, however you do that, with something new or time with friends and family or just a little treat!

Civility in Social Media Communications

We have all experience some level of incivility while hanging out on social media. Seems to be increasing and don’t assume it is just interactions between teens. Maybe we have even made a few mistakes ourselves in communicating which have hurt friends, created silent barriers, or diminished how we are perceived to others.

According to preliminary results from Microsoft’s study “Civility, Safety and Interactions Online – 2018,” 63 percent of online risks were sourced from strangers and people whom respondents knew only online – largely unchanged from the previous year. The results also show that 28 percent of online risks came from family and friends.

The reasons for each of these results might be somewhat different. Social media is an excellent resource for people to show inappropriate language, request information they might not normally ask a stranger or share openly feelings about the “friend’s” political, religious or other beliefs and experiences. There is a sense of freedom, or maybe even entitlement. We have certainly seen the result of incivility in trying to influence the opinions of others.

The results indicating that online incivility with family and friends is obviously the “can’t say it to their face” syndrome or a need for others to share their pain. You know, let’s just rally the family against the relative who has made a bad decision. Often, we become even more insensitive when we think we are being helpful.

Communicating in social media brings out the best or the worst behaviors. It gives us a forum for dialogue about important issues or educate us on important how-tos, where to find… and much more. It also allows us to not only put the laundry out on the street, but gravel in it, and then when we don’t get the feedback we want, to be hurt or angry.

Social media can be a place for lies, propaganda, and even rationality for the actions of some very bad actors. Scams, false identities, a world of assumptions easily take center-stage.

So, if you want to be an advocate of social media or need to use if for any number of communication needs, how can you increase the expectation of civility? This is the opportunity we each have in our online interactions.

Here are a few of the areas I aspire to in my own social media efforts:

  • Ignore and delete requests on social media to be my friend when I don’t see that they know several people I know. I don’t need to be flattered into thinking that these good-looking men with very little on their profiles is interested in a relationship. In this case I don’t need to respond.
  • Accept the people who don’t follow my rules. Social media is a free place to share your political views, religion and try to sell your products or services. I will sometimes kindly tell you how I feel and sometimes I will just ignore you. My perceptions of you are being developed, and if you are being pushy, condescending, or erroneous, well, the perceptions may not be so favorable, but no harm done, right?
  • Try not to respond in anger or disrespect. Count to ten. They may not be asking me for my opinion. I have probably not walked in their shoes, or if I have, it was a long time ago, so life may not have been in the “good ole days” and times have changed.
  • If I just must make a comment, I hope to make it kindly and in an only-my-opinion way. When you say to, “To be honest…” you probably have already lost their attention.

Overall, we are what we think. If I can share more positive thoughts than negative, that is not only civil, it is an opportunity to impact how our society thinks. If I can express myself without cussing and focus on other ways to set the tone of my words and feelings, well, I am hopefully helping others to get over their problems, not support staying in the murky water. If I consider myself a kind, intelligent, helpful person, then I will pay attention to my typos, expressions, and what I share. Focusing on our own beliefs and values will naturally make us more civil in our communications.

On World Kindness Day and in gearing up for Safer Internet Day, On World Kindness Day and in gearing up for Safer Internet Day, we’re again encouraging global internet users to pledge to a Digital Civility Challenge based on these principles:

  1. Live the Golden Rule by acting with empathy, compassion and kindness in every interaction, and treating everyone you connect with online with dignity and respect.
  2. Respect differences, honor diverse perspectives and when disagreements surface, engage thoughtfully, and avoid name-calling and personal attacks.
  3. Pause before replying to things you disagree with, and don’t post or send anything that could hurt someone, damage reputations or threaten someone’s safety.
  4. Stand up for yourself and others by supporting those who are targets of online abuse or cruelty, reporting threatening activity and preserving evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behavior.

If you would like to learn more about this challenge, check out this link:

If you would like to participate in a training session in 2019 on Communicating Civility in Social Media which will go deep into how to make the best possible perceptions and impact how people view civility, email me to be on my list to contact!













Understanding LinkedIn Metrics 101

Social media is an important component of today’s various forms of communication in everyday life among different generations and people of different origin around the world. While some platforms are casual, for sharing personal posts like photos and small blogs, others are for professional use. The currently most popular professional social media, especially for B-to-B branding is LinkedIn.

With LinkedIn it is possible to manage contacts, grow a business or career with LinkedIn, and it has assisted many to land a job. Therefore, it is important that your profile is set up right and there is value in the content you are sharing. The page needs to be handled and maintained properly. Following some basic rules, like adequate posting and intelligent and polite conversation is crucial.

Other convincing factors for using LinkedIn among others are that the software is easy to use and offers efficient marketing and cross-marketing to certain target.

You need to understand who your connections are and could be rather than randomly hanging out on LinkedIn. Your targets (prospects, referral sources, and influencers) can be identified with excellent functions for studying your metrics. The LinkedIn page keeps track on visited your profile and other factors that are user specific. Who is seeing post or likes, comments, and shares? One of the best places to start understanding your connections and to what degree you are reaching your targets is on your Dashboard. Here are just a few functions you should explore:

  • From your profile page, see your Dashboard. Click on who viewed your profile.
  • Go to Search Appearances. See number of times your profile appeared in search results (shows for a week)
  • Review companies, job descriptions, and key words searchers used.
  • Click on a key word you which you think best supports your brand.

If you are in Hampton Roads, Virginia, the Chamber is hosting a workshop, Making LinkedIn Support Your Brand, which I am presenting. Find details on our website Events listing. We hope you will join us. Be sure to talk soon if you would like to learn more about our training and consulting within the United States.

Worth Your While: Social Media Metrics & Gaining LinkedIn ROI

Be sure to register for our upcoming workshop!

Grow your network, your business and your career opportunities with LinkedIn. Learn the tools and techniques for measuring your social media effectiveness and especially, get a grip on strategies for building better content and targeting to engage your key connections. Join us for a deep dive to learn how to rock your profile, find your next job, generate leads, engage in social selling, and connect with important influencers online all while focusing on getting the biggest return for your time.

Our Agenda:

8:30-8:45 Meet and Greet and Welcome from our Host, Dixie Benton, BridgeTrust Title Group

8:45-9:30 Social Media Metrics with Jessica Bedenbaugh

9:30-10:15—Gaining LinkedIn ROI with Susan Long-Molnar

10:15-10:30—Small group conversations on specific topics

Download the flyer and register soon at

Contact Susan Long-Molnar at 757-513-8633 for more information.

Employee Communications Onsite Lunch & Grow Workshops

Crush Personal Development this Summer Onsite for Employees! Are your employees forgetting how to be courteous in their emails? Do they seem unsure about how much to communicate or what tool to use? Or maybe you have observed that communicating more effectively across generations and genders could be helpful in your organization? We often think that the training department or the HR department will get around to these often called “soft skills” but when it comes to day-to-day operations, the topics below just get dropped off the task list. The truth is these skills are not soft at all, and when we focus more on these areas, we will see more productivity and better relations within the workplace. We hope you will review presenter, Susan Long-Molnar’s bio and check out the details and topic list you can download on our flyer!

We Have a Workshop Series That Will Help YOU PROPEL Your Biz or Career UP!

Maybe you have a job, yet it’s not where you want to be? Or, as a solo entrepreneur, you have clients but you are not fulfilling your vision and goals? Perhaps you have been working for a long time, but not ready to retire and don’t know what’s next? If any of these sound like you, we invite you to #UNSTUCK! A workshop series to help you know yourself better and make YOU more marketable to others! Get our Flyer here.

Reserve your tickets today!

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The rumors and gossip which can get out of control is often the result of employees knowing too little too late. If you want people to feel connected, accountable, and excited about the success of the company, you must develop and monitor leadership communications strategies. They need the “news” on both positive and negative aspects of the business before the media, customers and other external contacts know more than they do.Read More

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What’s Good Enough? Do a Marketing Audit Now to Reach 2017 Goals

What is good enough? How do you know your marketing strategies are working? Why did a marketing campaign fail? Conducting a marketing audit is just as important as conducting the required financial audit most organizations make a priority. Unfortunately, for small businesses, and maybe even larger marketing departments, the marketing audit gets erased off the list after the busy holidays.Read More