All posts by Kelli Komondor

About Kelli Komondor

Kelli is a self-proclaimed social media junkie with over a decade of experience in marketing, event planning & management, media & public relations, and writing. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, estate sales and sipping wine to country music.

Small Business + Technology = Real Solutions

Growing up in a small town has given me a unique view of small business. The convenience store in the center of town (which is still there!), the neighborhood pharmacy, and the floral shop are a few examples that pop into my mind. If you had a good idea and a strong work ethic – the dream of owning your own business was yours!

I remember my best friend’s dad owning his own construction company. He had a pickup truck, some tools, and his wife typed invoices on homemade letterhead – on a typewriter. I picture a bunch of guys from my high school working a summer roofing job and sporting the best tans around thanks to baby oil and iodine. No one cared about the risks of sun exposure and no one had any clue what a huge part technology would eventually play in the construction industry.

Fast forward 20+ years and you’ll find SPF 80, smart phones, and at least a handful of tablets on most job sites. Gone are the days of hand-typed invoices, paper time cards, and magnet boards for scheduling… or are they? Would you believe there are still companies who “have a gal” who types invoices, enters time cards manually, and posts schedules on a dry erase board? No, it’s true! And while what she (or he) does is critical to the success of the company – there is a better, faster, and less expensive way to complete day-to-day operations – with technology!

messy desk
Enter: software and mobile applications for the construction industry. There are lots of companies who have out-of-the-box solutions – licenses for multiple users, programs that either provide too little or too many features. A package that cost a fee to purchase, and requires a monthly or yearly subscription. What about customizing that software so instead of doing about 60% of what you need – it does nearly 100%? How about owning the software and not paying yearly license fees? What about having a direct dial to the desk of the person who created your application – and not navigating through a huge company directory when you need help? What happens when your company grows and expands and you want to add functionality? These are just some of the benefits of having a custom program for scheduling and dispatching, time tracking, bid management, and equipment maintenance.

construction app
If some of your current challenges include sifting through complex spreadsheets (if you can find them), poor communication from the office to the field (and vice versa), and lots of paper waste on your desk (or on the dash of your vehicles) – you need to consider what technology can do for you. Don’t be afraid – embrace all that can be accomplished and made easier with a few clicks or taps!

 

 

Technology Can Lower Job Stress

I recently stumbled across an article regarding stressful jobs and I had some pretty specific thoughts about it. So I looked to technology and created this blog post!

usa today stress jobs

USA Today posted Forbes’ list of the most stressful careers. Many of these careers involve elements of danger, or they feature long or irregular hours. Here’s what they came up with:

• Police or detective                                                             • Military service member

• Firefighter                                                                              • Pilot

• Event coordinator                                                              • Senior corporate executive

• Public relations executive                                              • Newspaper reporter

While I’m of the belief that much of the stress people complain about at work is self-induced, I’m also of the belief that certain positions will always and forever be stressful. In my opinion active military, law enforcement and fire fighters, emergency room doctors and most other personnel in the ER, members of the bomb squad, skyscraper window washers and bridge painters (Imagine being up that high!), school teachers and day care workers – that’s stress!

But an event planner?

Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman holdPhoto credit:  Arianna Huffington’s Tips for Managing Stress – Not Just for Event Planners!

Now, let me just say that I have friends who are event planners. I also have been involved in the planning of many events – business and personal. Yes, there is stress involved. No, it should not be on a list of most stressful jobs.

Let me explain.

Start to finish there are steps that need to be taken to pull off a successful event. These steps can be as simple or complex as you make them. Let’s talk about a few, and let’s keep focus on business events. Think speaker series, seminars, and networking mixers.

Location: You know what “they” say… Location, location, location!
Theme: This includes decorations, entertainment, speakers and / or panel, and even the food and beverage menu.
Menu: There are so many options now that Pittsburgh has become a “foodie” city! Sit down dinner, buffet, waiter-passed appetizers? A lot of this depends on theme and budget.
Guest list: Who is invited and…
• Promotion: How will you get them there, and keep track of who’s who?
Follow up: How do you keep people coming to your events? How do you continue to entice new attendees to show up?

Every single bullet point has a technology component to it. Every. Single. One.

Location:  You’re going to use Google to find cool places to host this event right? You’ll be in business if you can take a virtual tour of venues.
Theme: One word: Pinterest
Menu: If a restaurant or caterer doesn’t have a website… well, you know.
Guest list: You better have the contact information of every single company who you consider your audience and competition;  and your current and potential clients. And you need to have it organized.
• Promotion: Online registration is key. Capture all the information when they register and use it for… you guessed it… follow up!
Follow up: Send out a “Thank You” for attending email with a simple survey asking what they liked – and didn’t like – about your event. Start to finish. From the way you initially contacted them to invite them, to the venue, theme, food, others in attendance, and most importantly – what they would do to make the next event better. Then LISTEN to them. Or if all else fails, just use this app to gauge your audience’s facial expressions.

technology-and-eventsPhoto credit: StartYourBusinessMag.com

Sure, there are software packages out there that you can buy. Open the box and start plugging away. But if you’re a perfectionist like me, you’ll work much better with something personalized. A system that has all the bells and whistles that suit you, your company, and your goals. Guess what?

We have the people who can actually plan events for you, or create software – and even an app – for that.

Seriously? Yes, seriously. Give me a call or shoot me an email (Here’s where that crazy technology comes in handy, again!) and I’ll explain. Don’t be a statistic, be an event planning rock star and let technology (and 4C) help!

After the Holidays Marketing How-To

The holiday season isn’t just an important time of year for the retail industry – it’s an excellent marketing opportunity for all businesses. Whether you’re looking to increase awareness about your brand, gain customers, or simply keep your current clients engaged – there are a few out-of-the-box ideas that can have people talking well into the summer months.

Host a holiday get together – after the holidays. Wait until the dust settles and invite clients and prospects to your office in mid- to late-January or even in February. Make it a winter themed event (think blue and silver), have a simple buffet, a few passed hors d’ oeuvres and a signature cocktail. Caterers may even be willing to work within a tighter budget to get business during an otherwise slow time of the year. The themes and possibilities are endless! Make this a relaxed social event, a networking opportunity – not a sales session. Show the customers you’ve been serving or courting all year that you appreciate them and want to continue to stay in contact through 2016 – and beyond.

Beautiful silver gift

Schedule an Account Review. A new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on past challenges and future plans. Everyone is starting fresh after a long holiday break. Take advantage of this renewed energy and schedule an account review session with your clients!

Send “Happy New Year” cards. Holiday cards are great, but a card arriving in the first few weeks of January, wishing your clients and prospects a fruitful and successful year, won’t get overlooked in the excess of Christmas cheer. Use this vehicle to promote your brand and create awareness about what you do, all while sending best wishes for the coming year. And send real paper cards with a mailing address and a stamp!

happy new year gold

Take advantage of New Year’s resolutions. We all make them (or at least say we did) and rarely follow through. Target specific prospects with an email or phone call offering a free consultation to bring them back to discussions you had the previous year.

“So Jim, I’m thinking your New Year’s resolution should be to really get serious about your company’s outreach. Let me come in and talk to you about your marketing and public relations efforts. We can chat about updating your website and brand too, if time allows. Let’s set up 30 minutes, before the year gets away from us!”

Your goal for the New Year? Make a new marketing initiative commitment (I won’t call it a resolution) – and follow through. None of these options have to be expensive or complicated. With a little creativity and excitement you can do more than you think!

 

 

 

 

 

My 4C’s of Contracting Your Social Media

Contributed by Social Outreach & Business Development Coordinator, Kelli Komondor

This is 2015, people. Your organization can’t survive without a social presence. I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, or even something you aren’t already doing. But – are you doing it correctly? Are you using resources to the fullest and getting all you can out of your social pages? Here are a few ways to determine if you should be contracting your social efforts to an outside professional, categorized in true 4C fashion.

Content Creation: If the content on your social sites isn’t being read, what’s the sense in posting? You need a writer who will keep your audience engaged and can adapt the posts for multiple social sites. If you want a reader to click a link on Twitter, those characters prior to the link better be engaging and cause a call to action! Social media professionals will take the time to curate posts, rich with eye-catching graphics, that will not only gain followers, but will keep the ones you have engaged and interested.

social birds

Customer Service: You need an individual with strong communication skills who can provide top-notch problem solving in an area viewed by the most important people: your audience and clients. Although a negative post or complaint on your Facebook page isn’t ideal, it is an opportunity to showcase your organization’s professionalism and desire to make it right and please the customer. Unless the customer’s post is laden with foul language or straight-up lies, it should remain on your site and should be dealt with in a clear, concise, level-headed response. Those who work directly for you are more likely to take offense and reply with a hot-headed comment that can cause more harm than good. Someone on the outside is ideal to respond and handle the situation without any feelings attached; they’re more likely to handle things professionally without emotion.

Community Connector: “It’s not who you know, it’s who they know.” is something I’ve heard repeatedly from Paul O’Donnell, my co-worker and fellow lover of all things networking. Hiring an outside source as your social representative can be beneficial in so many ways beyond what they post and how many of your followers they engage. Your social specialist should be someone who uses sites such as LinkedIn to keep connected and up-to-date with happenings within the industry and business community. They would bring their own circle of business and personal associates to the party – anyone with a loyalty to them, would become involved with your company. This individual should also be out attending networking events and promoting your organization face-to-face. The right person will spend time on follow-up after an event and make sure to stay connected to the people who can benefit your company.

social-networks-V2

Communication Junkie: Your social media manager needs to be in the thick of news about your industry. They should follow the rule of thirds: One-third of the posts they create should be about your company – promoting your business and generating profit; one-third about your industry – sharing ideas and stories from industry pros and like-minded businesses; and one-third should be personal – posts about your company culture and the individuals who make your organization what it is. Think about sharing company picnic photos, spotlighting an employee with a Q & A, sharing employee posts, and so on.

If the individual you have in place to handle your social media doesn’t have a clear understanding of SEO and keywords and if you’re seeing a lull in your company’s social posts, if you’re finding the posts to be dry or uninteresting, or if you’re noticing a decline in your followers and the amount of engagement – it may be time to explore taking on a social media specialist. Think about this – if your office manager or team accountant is supposed to be the one posting on social, you’re doing it wrong. Free up their time to do what they were hired for and let a professional take over. Someone who is big on content creation and customer service and an individual who is a community connector and communication junkie – someone who follows my 4C’s of social media.