Polina Opelbaum

    • Member Type(s): Expert
      Communications Professional
      Media - Freelancer
      Media - Broadcast
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Student Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
    • Title:Community Services Specialist
    • Organization:ProfNet
    • Area of Expertise:social media, editing, writing

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    ProfNet Google+ HOA: How to Market Your Event

    Thursday, September 11, 2014, 4:16 PM [social media]
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    It's that time again! We are having our next Google+ Hangout On Air next Thursday, Sept. 18 at 12:30 p.m. EDT. We will be discussing everything organizations need to know about marketing their next event. Two great guests, CEO of GrowBiz Media Rieva Lesonsky and Cofounder & Strategic Director of Orbit Media Andy Crestodina, will be joinging us to share everything from what type of event will help an organization's goals to SEO practices that draw people an event page.

    Click here to register!

    Hangout With



     (Please note: Video will not go live until 12:30 p.m. EDT the day of the Hangout.)



    Tweet your questions and comments by using #ProfNetHangout!

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    The Q&A Team: The Impact of Photojournalism

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 10:25 AM [The Q&A Team]
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    Photojournalism plays a large role in visually explaining a news story. Some of the most memorable news stories have been captured in a photograph. However, what does it take to capture that perfect photograph? What role does the law and public play when trying to take a photograph? Photojournalist Ricky Flores shares his expertise on these topics and more:

    How did you get involved in photojournalism?

    I received a small inheritance from my father who was a merchant marine, so on my 18th birthday I purchased my very first camera, a Pentax K1000. It was only natural for me to start taking photos of my friends, family and community, and it happened to be during the 80s during the end of the South Bronx fires. Somehow I survived the 60s and 70s without having my family burnt out of our building. As time went on, I began to question what was taking place in my community, the one that I knew as home. When I went to college, I began to explore what was happening from a perspective that was outside my fishbowl, and I became politically active. I began to document not just my friends and family but expanded that coverage to include what was taking place in my community, which included the fires, the development of the Hip Hop Movement and anything else that drew my interest, including Bronx and New York City politics.

    What drew you to photojournalism?

    The most powerful aspect of becoming a photojournalist was that it empowered me to have a voice on the issues that concerned me. These issues included poverty, racism, AIDS, police brutality, political corruption, and how it impacted the communities of people of color. The 80s were a turbulent time in NYC, which saw the rapid change between three different mayors as a result of those issues which heavily divided the city.

    What role does timeliness play in the success of a photojournalist?

    Time has always been a factor for photojournalists and is far more pressing than any other aspect of journalism. We actually have to witness history unfold before us. No other options are available if we miss and don't see something. In the past, it was based on how we could take an image before the advent of digital photography, turn that around and produce it so that a photo editor could purchase it. It meant running to a darkroom or a lab and generating negatives and prints, a process that could take several hours, because you had to factor in travel, processing film, editing and captioning. Today that entire process can take place in a matter of minutes with a camera and a cellphone, or just a cellphone.

    Are there any situations where a photograph is off limits due to legal reasons?

    Photos taken in any public street or publicly owned facility are pretty much fair game. The only discussion that comes into play, are images of death, and that’s based on ethics and morality. It’s about what should be shown to the general public out of compassion to the families whose lives were affected balanced with the right for the public to know. These discussions are always heavily weighted in the families favor. Also, and obviously, photos that violate any individual rights, such as a sexually exploitive photo without consent can bring criminal and civil repercussions. For any good new organization, the photo is unacceptable for use and are grounds for termination.

    Have you ever been in a situation where you got in trouble for taking a particular photo?

    That issue is a constant one that photographers struggle with. We do have to push boundaries that may be offensive to the people who we are photographing, and then editors have to deal with the fallout over those disagreements. In the vast majority of cases, most of these issues can be minimized with active dialog with the people you are photographing. You can also give your editors a heads up that they may be getting phone calls from someone who objects to what you have done. In all cases, I try to be respectful to the people that I am photographing. The only grouping of people that I tend to be heavy-handed with are politicians -- and only if they are formally being investigated for criminal reasons. We entrust those officials to represent the interests of people as a whole and not for personal gain.

    Are there any ethical guidelines every photojournalist must follow?

    Yes, absolutely. Never manipulate a news image through artificial means such as Photoshop. Never stage a news photo during an event. Never misrepresent yourself to the public. The public relies on us to provide detailed and accurate information so that they can make informed decisions about an event. That essential trust is what our very livelihood is dependent upon.

    What kind of an impact can a photograph have on a breaking news story?

    Some images can have profound impact on how a community, the nation or the world can react to seeing images from a breaking news event. Timing, magnitude and the ability for people to have a emotional connection to an event make all the difference on how much impact those photos and videos will have on the public. Think about Sept. 11, Sandy Hook, or a local tragedy.

    What type of reactions do you get from large crowds when you take photos of them to tell a news story?

    It all depends on the situation. In riot conditions you can be welcomed or attacked based on the crowd’s perception of who you are and whose interests you represent -- real or imagined. In those situations it is important to make your intent known and establish some rapport with the crowd and leaders. It is also always good to work with groups of photographers to watch each other’s backs in rapidly changing environments. In general, if there is a large group of people at an event, they tend to understand why you are there and let you do your thing.

    How has social media affected a photojournalist’s job?

    That need to push out news events via social media in a competitive market in real time is having a profound effect on how the media responds to events in your community. Photojournalists today have to be multi-disciplined and be able to produce stills and video in a timely matter. We have to actively build audiences through social media and engage our audience. It is an exciting time for photojournalists, because the Web is inherently a visual medium. It has expanded the tools we have available to tell a story as well as our role as the central element in the newsroom.

    Do you incorporate social media into your professional work?

    On a daily basis, I use Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter to push stories out or promote projects that I am working on.

    How have you seen photojournalism evolve over the years?

    I have witnessed the change from analog to digital, as well as an explosion of interest in photography by the general public with the accessibility to cellphone cameras. It has had a profound impact on how we cover and turn around imagery from news events. I think it has also created confusion on how easily and accurate those images are when professional journalists do not vet the source and event. Some newsrooms confuse accessibility to images from the public with quality coverage by a photojournalist. These are two vastly distinct types of photography, and strangely enough, the general public seems to be aware of the difference. When news organizations sort out how to stay fiscally viable, we should hopefully see an increase in the market for multimedia photojournalists. Also our reporting roles have expanded with the introduction of video and other tools, essentially turning the photojournalist into a one-man band in many situations.

    What is the future of photojournalism?

    Currently, guardedly, I see a future in photojournalism. What that will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years down the line, I don’t know. I do know that the future of the media is wholly depended on nurturing professional photojournalists to provide visually powerful elements to drive an audience to their sites. How that will evolve is very much in play right now. One thing that will not change is the need in our communities to have professional journalists to act as watchdogs of local government and law enforcement and to accurately and reliably cover breaking news events in their community and act as a conduit between the government and the community in cases of emergencies. No other organization is built to meet that particular need. Also a well-organized and financially stable institution can guard against constitutional abuses against freedom of speech and abuses of power.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    How to Build a Strong Network

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 4:14 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Many people learn about the power of networking during their professional career. Networking can be the key to building a strong professional relationship with an individual. However, is it more important to network online versus offline these days? Where do you go to connect with professionals? These are all questions we discussed in our last #ConnectChat with Lisa Chau, a social media strategist and PR and marketing consultant. To learn about how you can develop and maintain a strong network, here's a recap of the chat:

    Can you tell us a little about yourself?

    I am a Dartmouth alumna who worked at Tuck School (PR), Geisel School of Medicine (education), and Dartmouth (alumni relations). A few summers ago, I taught "Introduction to Social Media and Professional Networking" at MIT. For a better idea of my trajectory, please see my Spotlight Alumna interview with Wellesley (pages 3-6).

    What major changes have you seen in the way people network over the past few years?

    We are becoming a relationship economy. Read Ted Rubin’s work about Return on Relationship™. Social media revolutionized the way we network. Technology makes connecting with people and companies much easier and quicker. This chat is a great example of how social media has changed the landscape of conversation.

    Can you explain a little more about how social media has affected networking?

    People use social media to create personal brands. Harvard Business Review and Forbes contributor Dorie Clark writes about this extensively. People can find your digital reputation before they ever meet you in person. Your blurred online and in-person reputations are more valuable than the company you currently work for. Social media can also be dangerous if you are not thoughtful in what you present publicly.

    Is Facebook a good place to connect with individuals?

    Facebook is more about connecting with people I already know. Twitter is more about connecting with people I want to know. For instance, Facebook gives me a lens into the personal lives of Ted Rubin, Bryan Kramer, Tim McDonald, Tami Cannizzarro, and Sarah McAloon.

    How can you reach out and form networks with people on Twitter?

    For professional reasons, I love Twitter -- I can Tweet anyone with an account! Facebook is much more closed for direct contact. Twitter is great for leveraging ambient presence -- maintaining a constant presence without being intrusive.

    Another way to form networks on Twitter is through chats. Also, if you travel for business, consider focused tweets by geo-location Lazqa for vetting new connections.

    What tips do you have for people forming professional relationships on LinkedIn?

    Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions. Provide useful insight. Highlight your area(s) of expertise. Mentor! Always add value.

    Ask what and how you can help. Give before you take. Ted Rubin and Tim McDonald are good examples of this. Listening is the first step to learning how you can add value.

    I co-authored more tips with Daniel Vahab in "LinkedIn and Other Social Media an Essential Tool.”

    What are some other things people should always remember to do when using social media to network?

    When using social media to network, always add value, be polite and grateful. Respect other's views.  Also, build your network *before* you need it. No one wants to be approached only when you want help. Mind your relationships always.

    Listen, engage, help and love. It's about that simple.

    What are the things people should avoid doing when using social media to network?

    When using social media to network, don't just take -- don't be that person. Don't speak more than you listen. Avoid forcing your views onto others. Keep an open mind. You aren't always right. Learn before you teach.

    We talked about networking online, but what about networking offline? Is it just as important?

    Absolutely! Networking offline is just as important as networking online. Offline meetings might be more important. In person closes the deal, personally or professionally.

    I cannot emphasize enough: Networking online is not a substitute for networking offline. If possible, always meet in person. Mike Bloomberg advises that Obama should be golfing every weekend and taking people to dinner every night. He says, "You always can work better with somebody that you have a chance to build a social relationship with.”

    There are many different offline networking events out there. How do you decide which ones to attend?

    Attend offline networking events that best align with your goals. Do the guest lists include people you want in your network? Make a point of being a regular at specific networking events so you really build a presence for yourself. Ally with hosts.

    What type of preparation should you do prior to attending a networking event?

    Be prepared to speak intelligently about the focus of the networking event. Practice talking points and elevator pitches. Without appearing like a stalker, research people on the guest lists that you want to meet. Find common interests and goals.

    When preparing for networking, be ready to listen. Also be approachable and be prepared to meet different people.

    How often do you recommend attending a networking event?

    I try to attend 1-2 networking events per week in person. Depending on schedules, others might go to one per week or month. Avoid burning yourself out, but do pick certain ones to attend regularly, both online and offline. The more often you go to the same networking events, the more people will be able to remember you. Stay in their minds.

    What kind of introduction should you give when you first connect with someone at the event?

    Introduce yourself with a smile and confident handshake. Name, current projects and what value you add. "How can I help you?" In your introduction, you might also add an interesting fact to help the other person remember you, i.e., "I was an Olympic rower."

    How can you make sure to stay in touch with an individual you meet at a networking event?

    Stay in contact with people you meet at events by sending follow-up emails within two days of speaking. Many won't respond to your initial follow-up email. Especially if there is no immediate opportunity for collaboration.

    You can also exchange information (can be Twitter handles) and send a quick note couple days following the event.

    Link to them via LinkedIn on the spot and add a follow-up reminder. Social media can be a game changer to maintain engagement.

    If you reach out to that individual but don’t hear back, what should be your next steps?

    Use Twitter to continue chatting about common interests. However, mind subtle cues. If someone repeatedly does not respond, move on. Don't force a connection -- or rejection.

    What are some ways to keep track of the people you build professional relationships with online and offline?

    Use whatever method works for you to keep track of people you meet online and offline. I'm a business card collector. Others might be more comfortable with the mobile app options available these days. Or Evernote. Or Excel. It's preference.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: How to Build a Strong Network

    Thursday, August 14, 2014, 12:24 PM [#ConnectChat]
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    Now more than ever, it is important to know how to connect with professional contacts. The challenge lies in how you build these strong networks. Social media plays a huge role in people meeting each other and forming professional relationships. Yet, it is equally as important to know how to form professional relationships offline and without the use of technology. Lisa Chau, social media strategist and PR and marketing consultant, will explain what and how to use social media when forming connections. Chau will also discuss the importance of not focusing all your efforts on social media when networking.

    To participate in the chat, join us on Twitter on Tuesday, August 19, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. EDT and follow the #ConnectChat hashtag to follow the conversation between @Lisa03755, @ProfNet and the rest of the chat participants.

    If you cannot join us on the day of the chat, you can find a recap on ProfNet Connect the following day. We hope you will join us!

    About Lisa Chau

    Lisa Chau is an international marketing and public relations professional published in U.S. News & World Report (over 50 articles on business, entrepreneurship, leadership and technology), Huffington Post and Forbes. During the most recent Social Media Week New York, she presented and moderated a panel at Columbia University: How Technology and Social Media Are Changing the Business Landscape. Her TED-Ed lesson "Networking for the Networking Averse" garnered over 16,000 views during its first week live online.

    Chau is the founder of Alpha Vert, a private digital strategy consultancy specializing in content marketing and social media. Previously, she spent five years working for her alma mater Dartmouth College, as Assistant Director of alumni affairs and Assistant Director of public relations for the Tuck School of Business. Her teaching experience includes a summer course at MIT: Introduction to Social Media and Professional Networking.

    Chau has also guest lectured MBA and undergraduate courses in e-business strategy at Baruch College and The New School.  

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Keeping up With the Mompreneur Movement

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 3:28 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    In our mini-blog series about mompreneurs, we introduced mompreneurs, discussed the marketing done by mompreneurs, and are now ending it with some final suggestions from six mompreneurs. These mompreneurs share their experiences and expertise on the best way to balance being a mom and business owner, the future of the mompreneur movement, as well as any final tips they want to share with moms running or looking to run a business.

    Having a Healthy Balance

    Being a mother is a full-time job in itself, but balancing a business and being a mother is even more challenging. As a mompreneur, it is essential to have a healthy balance between these two things. Diana Ennen, author/speaker/coach of Virtual Word Publishing, thinks that the most important thing for a mompreneur is to figure out what works best for her.

    Ennen also says, “Set boundaries and stick to them. Be clear in the beginning how you run your business and relay that to your clients. Of course, there might be those times where you need to pitch in under an emergency and clients will appreciate that. You just want to make sure it’s not the norm.”

    Lyss Stern, CEO/Founder of Divalysscious Moms, suggests that mompreneurs can continue to keep a healthy balance between motherhood and their business by always remembering to breathe. She always tell moms that they must at least take a ten minute "MTO" (Mommy Time Out) and do something just for themselves each and every day.

    Other ways to keep a healthy balance is to involve your children in the business. Annette Giacomazzi, founder and CEO of CastCoverZ! explains, “Older children, 10 and up, can actually help with the business. They can do some basic filing, vacuuming, dusting, etc., tasks. Responsible teenagers can help with packaging, social media, the website, even answering the phone. Involving them allows you to spend time with them and you're teaching them basic skills.”

    Future of Mompreneur Movement

    Giacomazzi believes: “The future is very bright for mompreneurs. As we move into a knowledge and virtual economy, workplaces will become less and less important to the success of an enterprise. Additionally, having a drop-shipper inventory, warehouse and ship your products has made having a large space almost unnecessary. As a result, mompreneurs can run multi-million dollar businesses out of their homes and/or garages.”

    “The future is just going to continue to get better and better. Mompreneurs have been around for a long time. However, the difference today is that they are so widely known and respected and it’s commonplace today to hire one,” states Ennen. “Plus, social media has just opened up so many doors and enabled them to connect with their potential clients and clients in a way that didn’t exist before.”

    Stern strongly agrees with Ennen. She says, “We are going to see more and more mompreneurs in the workforce. Moms want to be able to be with their children, raise them while also earning money and doing something they love. There's no stopping the mompreneur movement!”

    Alison Bernstein, president/founder of Suburban Jungle Realty Group, believes that larger companies looking to retain women as they head into motherhood will provide a more fluid stepping stone and try to retain the talent providing more flexibility and helping mompreneurs while taking an interest -- therefore providing mompreneurs greater resources and a faster kickstart.

    Yet, with all these positives for the future of mompreneurs there will also be more competition. Julia Min, founding partner of TWELVElittle, explains, “Moms will be even smarter and braver to run their own business, along with raising a family. But hopefully they will have more resources to help them be a great mom and as well as business owner.”

    Resources for Mompreneurs

    Stern recommends for mothers who are looking to become mompreneurs to talk to other already established mompreneurs. There is a huge community of mompreneurs out there already that would love to help new ones. Stern throws a big event every year called the Mom Moguls Breakfast where 300 moms attended to listen to other successful mompreneurs and for the moms in attendance to ask questions, talk to the panel and more.

    “Start a blog and join a networking group. A blog will help you create relationships virtually and a professional networking group can help you with face to face interaction. Great websites such as Meetup.com can help you connect with these types of organizations,” advices Lenya Shore, cofounder of Wallaroo Hat Company.

    Giacomazzi says, “Check out ‘The Mom Inventors Handbook’ by Tamara Monosoff. Monosoff packs a ton of useful resources, practical advice and tools in a 357-page book. It's a crash course with pedigree to getting a product to market.”

    For a site that offers lots of great tips and resources for the work-at-home moms, Ennen suggests www.cwahm.com.

    Final Tips

    “The best thing to do is focus on an industry you know well and find an inefficiency. It does not have to be necessarily something related to children or what you have recently been doing -- just looking at things and being able to say to yourself that something can be done better!” –Bernstein

    “Continue to grow and learn along the way. It’s important to keep up and it’s never been easier with so many offering free webinars and teleseminars and training.” –Ennen

    “Be prepared to make mistakes (including bad decisions) and have setbacks. It's just part of the process. If you know this reality of business you won't be surprised when they happen. You just deal with them and move on.” –Giacomazzi

    “No matter what, family is priority. As long as you keep that in mind, balance between work and family will be simpler.” – Min

    “Believe! It's such a simple and overused tip in life but honestly it's the only way you're going to make it. If you believe in your product, the way you are doing business and the people on your team, others around you will feel your confidence and want to help you succeed.” – Shore

    “Don't be afraid to ask for help.” –Stern

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Picture via Cristynix.com

    Patient Engagement: The Future of Healthcare Communications

    Monday, August 4, 2014, 2:36 PM [Event Recaps]
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    Business Development Institute (BDI) hosted an event about how leading healthcare brands are planning for the future including integrating big data, digital, mobile and social for innovative communications that improve patient outcomes. The event was moderated by Steve Etzler, CEO/founder of BDI. Here are the seven panels and highlights from each panel:

    Presentation: Perspectives From a Hospitality Leader in Healthcare

    Presented by: Sven Gierlinger, VP, chief experience officer, North Store – LIJ Health System

    • Worked in hospitality until he was bedridden and then saw a huge difference between the two industries.
    • Patients are not customer-system centered.
    • At the hospital he felt like a person or thing of a specified kind that one has to deal with.
    • Patients want the highest quality care; a warm welcome; interact with competent and nice people; have a hassle-free experience;  have problems fixed quickly and effectively; and consistency.
    • One of the things Gierlinger is exploring is how to select the right employees, set them up for success, and continue to engage them?

    Interview: The Evolution of Patient Engagement

    Raymond Russo, vice president, Global Chest Pain Pathway, The Medicines Company interviewed Lee Davies, SVP health practice at Makovsky.

    • Russo: Healthcare industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world, as far as what and how things are said.
    • Russo: When they did direct-to-consumer advertising, they tried to educate, motivate and then activate.
    • Russo: Effective communication changes behavior. Communicate and motivate patient to change behavior, such as take better care of themselves, seek healthcare providers, etc. This is patient activation.
    • Davies: Social media has made patients not only recipients of messages but also communicators. They are activists, ambassadors, citizen journalists.
    • Russo: Thinks social media is great and innovative, but curious how next app is going to get patient activation and its impact. He thinks it is a huge challenge and still a lot of work to be done.

    Presentation: Talking About Research Result – Patients are Our Partners

    Presented by: Bill Silberg, director of communications, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (views are his own and not necessarily those of PCORI)

    • PCORI is an independent research institute authorized by Congress through the Affordable Care Act.
    • Why PCORI? Research hasn’t answered many questions that patients face.
    • PCORI has three strategic goals: increase quantity, quality and timelessness of research information; speed the implementation and use of evidence; influence research funded by others.
    • PCORI partners with patients on their communications efforts by featuring patient and caregiver stories on their website.
    • Lesson learned: Sometimes you need to just “shut up and listen.”

    Presentation: Using Social Media in the Age of ACA and HIPAA Regulation s

    Presented by: Joanna Belbey, social media and compliance specialist, Actiance, Inc.

    • 1 in 3 Americans use the Internet to research medical conditions. (Pew Research)
    • Risk of using an Internet-connected device liked Google Glass is security and privacy of patient data risks.
    • If you employ technology, how do you protect it from leaking out? How do you protect frontline staff from themselves?
    • If you are going to allow frontline staff to use social media, then you need to create an appropriate policy. This may take six months.
    • Here’s an action plan for social media compliance: protect patient info; keep adequate records; create an appropriate use policy and train employees; create content strategy; supervise and monitor. 

    Presentation: Painting the Starting Line Together: How Industry and Patients Must Partner to Define Engagement Goals

    Presented by: Todd Kolm, senior vice president of strategy and insights at WEGO Health moderated a discussion with patient influencer MarlaJan DeFusco and Pfizer communications expert Carrie Goldstein.

    • DeFusco: Patients need to be educated and know what kind of medicines they are taking. It is important for them to know how the medicine will affect them.
    • Defusco: Take the time to educate healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals, and that would really help patients.
    • DeFusco: Patients with chronic illnesses get lost in the transition between childhood and adulthood.

    Presentation: Engaging Patients Online to Improve Market Insight

    Presented by: Lance Hill, CEO, Within3

    • Within3 is the leader in healthcare professional digital collaboration solutions.
    • For pharmaceutical companies, the need for insight from an expanding set of stakeholders is a reality.
    • The patient perspective needs to be deeply ingrained into any healthcare strategy.

    Presentation: Rite Aid Engages & Empowers Patients With Wellness Programs

    Presented by: Jocelyn Konrad, VP healthcare initiatives, Rite Aid

    • Rite Aid acquired Health Dialog and RediClinic as part of their wellness initiatives.
    • Rite Aid’s goal with its wellness programs is to improve outcomes and reduce costs.
    • It came up with the Health Alliance program to help interact with patients.
    • The Health Alliance program is getting rave reviews from patients and physicians.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com. 

    The Q&A Team: Marketing for Mompreneurs

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 3:58 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    In the last Q&A Team post, we explained the mompreneur movement. We also shared the stories of women who are both raising a family and running successful businesses. We are continuing on with this topic to discuss how mompreneurs can put together a powerful marketing plan, run their social media accounts, and learn about helpful marketing lessons.

    Here are seven mompreneurs who share their marketing strategies for their businesses:

    Marketing Plan

    Diana Ennen, author/speaker/coach of Virtual Word Publishing says, "A marketing plan is so essential to your business success, but many don’t take the time to write one. It doesn’t need to be pretty or formal; it just needs to be honest and ongoing."

    “It is important to get to know your customers -- not just current ones, but also new ones who you want to engage -- and to set goals to expand the demographic you want to reach. This is true for both traditional marketing and for social media marketing and is truly how you grow your audience and take your business to the next level,” explains Carla Schneider, CEO and founder of WubbaNub.

    Lyss Stern, CEO/Founder of Divalysscious Moms, adds that "mompreneurs need to see what their competition is like and try to make themselves as different as possible. You want to stand out. Don't be a follower, be a leader.”

    "Celebrities can also be a powerful marketing tool. Wallaroo has been on the heads of Halle Berry, Marcia Cross, Blake Lively and Jennifer Garner’s kids, among others," states Lenya Shore, cofounder of Wallaroo Hat Company.

    What if you’re struggling with coming up with a marketing plan?

    "If you have the budget, it is better to hire a separate marketing/PR team since they already have the experience and connections,” says Julia Min, founding partner of TWELVElittle.

    Social Media

    First thing mompreneurs should remember when they start using social media for their business is to not be intimidated, suggests Nicole Cardone, cofounder and CEO of Sorbabes Gourmet Sorbet.

    "When using social media, mompreneurs should speak in their own voice,” says Stern. “Be who you are, be real. People will see right through your social media posts if you are not authentic to your brand.”

    Other things to remember when posting to social media accounts is that great content and images are key, says Cardone.

    Ennen also reminds mompreneurs that social media is about relationship building. “Don’t just promote. I see so many and it’s sell, sell, sell. Yet, I haven’t connected with them enough to know why I would buy from them. It’s a huge turnoff, “says Ennen.

    Ennen issues another warning: “Be careful on social media. Remember that often times long before someone hires you, they are following you and seeing what you offer. If you are constantly complaining about too much work, not knowing how to do something, or lousy clients, guess what? They are going to run and fast!”

    Shore adds, "Do not post too often; if your customers feel like you’re bombarding them, you will lose credibility and authenticity.”

    When responding to customers, Annette Giacomazzi, founder and CEO of CastCoverZ!, recommends you have one person dedicated to following up with the customers so the tone is consistent. If you’re a one-person shop, which Giacomazzi was for a long time, then respond only 1-3 times per day vs. looking at it whenever it “dings.” Otherwise, you’ll get distracted, quickly. 

    Marketing Campaigns

    Min says, “We had great success with giveaways. It really engages the followers because they post about the TWELVElittle diaper bags, talk about them amongst their friends and show desire to win our bags. We noticed a huge increase in our followers and activity in our own website.”

    For Ennen, she believes, “Probably some of my best marketing campaigns were when I took one of my best articles, developed a pitch and then sent it out to reporters, blog sites, etc., who might be interested. It landed me quite a bit of press and also resulted in clients and sales. Why it worked was because it was an article that was truly of interest and I sent it to the right places.”

    Giacomazzi uses both online and offline campaigns. Online, she uses Google AdWords, Bing, product ads on major marketplaces (Amazon, Ebay, etc.), retargeting ads and Facebook boosts. She explains that it takes a very focused, strategic and concentrated effort to get a return on your investment. Parameters change every six months so you really need to stay on top of it or you are left in the dust. 

    “Offline marketing campaigns,” explains Giacomazzi, “generate amazing results using a very clever, albeit traditional, die-cut postcard in the shape of an arm in a cast or a foot in a boot that is specifically targeted to specialty orthopedic surgeons.”

    For Shore, the campaign for their Christine Collection got them a lot of good feedback. This line of head scarves and turbans is aimed at women who have lost their hair due to a medical condition or treatment such as chemotherapy.

    Shore says about the Christine Collection, “Empowering women about feeling great without their hair wasn’t all we aimed to do though, but also make it known to outsiders that women can be beautiful without their hair.”

    Final Marketing Lessons

    Shore thinks, “Marketing is about having a balance between creating awareness, making your product newsworthy and involving your target consumers in a way that makes them trust your brand. Form relationships with your customers that are more like friendships rather than business partnerships.”

    Giacomazzi adds, “Think like a customer. What do they want to know? Share content they would find helpful and interesting. Regardless of your online or offline efforts, you must stay fresh and relevant or you’ll be playing catch-up.”

    “Be consistent. That’s one of the biggest mistakes I see. Businesses go full steam ahead for a few weeks and then disappear for a few months and then go at it again,” cautions Ennen. “Some repeat this time and time again and what happens then is the next time you say, ‘I’m back.’ No one cares.”

    Last but not least, “Do what is right for your brand. It is so easy to compare yourself with other successful companies and follow their exact path. But what works for them may not always work for you,” advices Min.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Picture via Pinterest.com/melaniekissell/

    Taking Your Mobile Business Into the Fast Lane

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 4:29 PM [Event Recaps]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Last Thursday, Social Media Club NYC hosted an event to talk about mobile businesses. The three panelists discussed why they started a mobile business, challenges they have encountered, as well as their marketing and social media strategies. The attendees also joined the conversation to share their expertise and insights on the topic. The three panelists included:

    Why did you decide to get into the mobile business industry?

    Green-Ingram: I was a bus operator at the time and a friend called me and told me to look into mobile businesses. I had a brick-and-mortar that lasted for nine months, so I thought it was a great idea. I Googled to learn more about it, but nothing was really popping up. I went to the law department in NY to find out the law behind it and they said they weren’t sure. They told me to try it and let them know how it works out. I went and bought a truck, gutted it out, and the truck was born.

    After, I didn’t know what to do and decided to go to Harlem, because I drove the bus up and down in Harlem and saw fashion. I didn’t really think it would be a big deal or get the response it did. At first people were skeptical, but I would tell them to step inside and take a look -- it's free to look. People then started coming in by word of mouth. After a piece was written about me, the word about my truck really spread.

    Mammolito: Back when HIV was a huge issue in the city, they decided to start the mobile clinic. They would park it around Chelsea and would go into a lot of areas in Brooklyn where rates were the highest. Today the mobile clinic travels into neighborhoods where people may not have access to healthcare or may just want a quick, free test and not need to worry about traveling to a hospital or center.

    Di Mille: After being involved in the advertising industry -- specifically high-end print -- for 25 years, many things had changed. My life partner and business partner at that time was also out of work. We had a substantial amount of money to start a business, and we saw a trend going around the city. We would surreptitiously stand in front of trucks and watch what they did. What I later did was re-invent the business and turn it into an event and marketing company. It’s my passion and it's what I enjoy doing.

    Why a mobile business vs. a brick-and-mortar business?

    Green-Ingram: The rent was just too high when I had a brick-and-mortar.

    Di Mille: It exposes you to many more people than if you were in one set location. You do have to pay rent with the truck, such as fines every single day.

    When you started your mobile business, what challenges did you encounter?

    Di Mille: The third day out, we parked across the street from The Plaza Hotel and within two minutes a national ice cream franchise truck approached us about being in their spot. Then within our first month, we were selling brownies, cookies and croissants, and that was a major threat to The Halal Guys who were selling shish-kebabs and all that. What they would do early on when we parked the first couple of weeks is they would park their hot dog carts in front of our truck and burn things, which would go into our truck. Fortunately, we had a photographer come out to feature a story on us and caught all this, and an article was written. This was a great thing to happen to us. We have also had problems with brick-and-mortars, where they called Hazmat and the bomb squad on us.

    Mammolito: For us, it is about limited space, such as labs and limited refrigeration. Getting parking permits is also a complete nightmare and it varies by borough.

    With a healthcare truck, did you have any challenges getting people to come in?

    Mammolito: It isn’t as big of an issue as you would think. When we have press or an event, then people are less likely to come in, because they are worried about privacy. We do want the media coverage, but we don’t want to scare people away.

    How do you let people know where you are?

    Mammolito: We have a set weekly schedule that goes out every week on Twitter, Facebook, and on our website. For events, we market it through social media and get it in event calendars. We have a small budget, so we have done some guerilla marketing.

    Di Mille: Social media plays a big role. We tweet about events and have some serial followers. If we go to four locations in a day, those people will be in all four locations. We build equity in our brands. When we do a fully-branded truck or company, our name is very prevalent and it benefits the client, because there is a lot of equity in our brand, especially in NY where people know Sweetery. Ten people come down from their building and let another 25 people know the Sweetery truck is outside giving out free cupcakes, and then those people come down too. It becomes viral.

    Since your clients want to target a specific demographic, what do you do?

    Di Mille: You can’t fine-tune too much, but you can definitely target certain areas. For example, Maker’s Mark is a client of ours, but we can’t give it out on the street. What we can do is bake with it or infuse it in ice cream. Then we go to the food editors at food magazines and park outside. We have relationships with some of these people, so we will tweet at them and get them to come down. Then the food editors will write about what an amazing cupcake they just had that was made with Maker’s Mark. This is invaluable for the brand.

    How is social media part of your marketing plan? What kind of social media accounts do you have?

    Green-Ingram: I have a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account. I pay a lot of attention to Instagram. When my customers come onto the truck, I ask them what social media they use, and the majority of them say Instagram. I then give them little Instagram cards. They love the cards and it really catches their attention. I use the cards as my marketing tool. Some things that I post on Instagram, I try to send to my Facebook and Twitter page, but I am having an issue building a following on Facebook. I am not reaching a lot of people with my posts.

    Gary Nix: Organic reach on Facebook is at an all-time low. Big agencies are going through it as well too.

    Howard Greenstein: My co-faculty at NYU found that when you do a promoted post every several posts, the other posts tend to draft off of those and get more views. By spending a little bit of money, you can get the additional outreach and views. There is no more free exposure.

    Cecilia Pineda: If you see your Facebook engagement is not as effective as you would like it to be, but Instagram is working for you, then you should focus your energy on Instagram. Also Instagram is perfect for your business, as well as Tumblr and Pinterest.

    Mammolito: Our main focus is Facebook. I have been there for a year and a half, and it has grown from 300 to close to 6,000 followers. Most of the stuff we post is about exercise, healthy well-being, stress relief, and health recipes. That is what people are interested in and it's easy to do. We can post pictures and link it back to our site. We  do struggle with getting those people who engage with us on Facebook into our centers, because I am not sure of who those people are.

    Can you share any social media campaigns that went well and a campaign that didn't go as planned?

    Green-Ingram: I recently started a YouTube channel, so I created an event on Facebook for my YouTube launch. It was a red-carpet event for people to view my first video on YouTube, and I hired a videographer for Instagram. Not many people attended the event from the Facebook, but it was packed with people from Instagram. People were standing outside to view the YouTube video. The video features a few items that I take off the truck and pair together. It is a way to feature the items of the week.

    What lessons/tips can you share with those looking to start a mobile business?

    Di Mille: If you're interested in a mobile food business then you should be ready to work 19 hours a day -- and I really don’t think it pays off. It is a very cutthroat business. It is a street scene and you have to act accordingly. Otherwise, you need to be unique, show your individuality and shine brightly. Mobile businesses also give you the ability to move around. There are a lot of great attributes in being involved in the mobile business industry.

    Mammolito: Select your location wisely. Do some serious research.

    Green-Ingram: I would say to definitely open up a mobile business. I enjoy it, love it, and it’s my passion. It’s a lot of hard work, but I would do it all over again.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    The Q&A Team: The Business of a Mompreneur

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 4:04 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    You may have heard of entrepreneurs, but what about another growing movement called mompreneurs? I decided to explore this movement by speaking with six mompreneurs who explained the definition of a mompreneur as well as how they got into the business.

    I will be writing a small series of blog posts on this topic, so stay tuned for the next The Q&A Team post!

    What is a Mompreneur

    Lenya Shore, cofounder of Wallaroo Hat Company, defines a mompreneur as a woman who is balancing business ownership and motherhood, and strikes a strategic balance between the most important aspects of both.

    Julia Min, founding partner of TWELVElittle, adds, “As a mom and business owner, you must be able to balance meeting demands for work and family very efficiently. This may require flexible work hours since projects may be left incomplete, and work can be completed in a variety of locations: from the office to the playroom. Most importantly, a true mompreneur knows to keep work stress separate from family time, and she makes sure her family and children are always the priority.”

    Annette Giacomazzi, founder and CEO of CastCoverZ!, agrees that being a mompreneur means recognizing that being a mom takes precedence, even over spreadsheets. Her favorite benefit is involving the entire family in the endeavor.

    For those that haven’t head of the mompreneur movement, Lyss Stern, CEO/founder of Divalysscious Moms, says, “It is growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S. as mothers try to find ways to make money, express their creativity or business acumen and also to parent their children.”

    Why Be a Mompreneur

    Jessica Bern, principal at Two Funny Brains, explains, “Being an entrepreneur is all consuming, and although I did have the choice of what my hours were, I felt like I never, ever stopped working. Therefore, it didn't provide me with more 'kid time.'”

    For Diana Ennen, author/speaker/coach of Virtual Word Publishing, in addition to getting to spend more time with your family, being a mompreneur gives you the freedom to make the kind of money you deserve with your skills.

    “My last straw with employment before I went out on my own was when I got a 25 cent raise. I was expecting at least a $15.00/hour raise and was promised as much. Needless to say, that was it. Plus, I was really good at what I did and knew those strengths would prove beneficial. I wanted to partner with others who might need my services,” says Ennen.

    What other benefits are there to being a mompreneur?

    Min believes, “Knowing that your product or business helps fellow moms is one of the most rewarding reasons to become a mompreneur. There is nothing better than watching an idea come to life, especially one that allows all moms to enjoy their motherhood journey in style.”

    How to Become a Mompreneur

    Bern thinks that often times, like most ideas, deciding on a business idea springs from the need to do something, and realizing that there is a void in the market to help accomplish whatever that need may be.

    Read how these women decided on their business:

    Ennen: “I had been a secretary for a medical testing office and was running the entire show. Once I got a lousy raise and my son was born, I knew there had to be people who would need help with word processing, typing, legal transcription, medical transcription, etc. Back then it wasn’t as accepted as it is today and many said, 'You can’t do it.' I loved to prove them wrong. Today, the word processing industry has changed and morphed into the virtual assistant industry and most businesses use virtual assistants. I was honored to be able to help so many get started. The industry is thriving.”

    Bern: “I was able to utilize my knowledge of production, humor, writing, video editing and the world of women 25-49, especially as it pertained to their behavior online and mobile, and create something that I felt was sorely needed and that was, memorable, funny, content that reflected the women we are today. My other reason was to provide work for women in Hollywood who work behind the scenes, such as directors, DP's, crew members, composers, etc. The women in these particular fields are hugely underrepresented and I wanted to be a place where they could go work, get paid and beef up their resumes/reels."

    Giacomazzi: "My daughter, Elli, was 10 when she broke her 6th bone. Feeling betrayed by her body, once again, I did what any mother would do: try to make her feel better. So, I pulled out my trusty, all-metal parts sewing machine and whipped up a cover and a matching sling, then another set and another. CastCoverz! was born. Speed ahead 5+ years and we now have 21 Made-in-the-USA branded lines, distribute another four, bought out our designer colored crutch manufacturer, have 5 employees, and we sell world-wide."

    Min: “We were at that age where most of our friends were married and thinking of having kids or were already pregnant. Conversations about babies and motherhood were common, and having fashion-forward friends, one of their biggest fears was all of the possible changes that could happen to their style. Since Jen (cofounder) and I were both working in the fashion handbag industry in NYC, we naturally thought of which handbags moms were carrying after having kids. When we realized their options were extremely limited, we were excited to launch TWELVElittle.”

    Shore: “Stephanie (cofounder) and I were traveling in Australia when we learned that sun protective textiles were the best kept beauty secret down under. Aside from identifying a niche for more fashionable, yet functional sun protective hats for women, I couldn’t escape my personal passion and interest in the category. I am extremely fair-skinned and have always been concerned about skin cancer. This combined with the lack of attractive sun hats on the market drew me towards the hat business.”

    Stern: “I became a mompreneur once my first son was born ten years ago. I was on maternity leave and had gone to a 'New Mother's Luncheon' on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. As I was walking home from that lunch a light bulb went off in my head and something told me that I had to start my own chic, sophisticated company for moms A Divalysscious Mom is a woman who feels even sexier, stronger and more gorgeous after she has a baby; a woman who understands that loving your child doesn’t mean losing yourself, and that being a mom is the most fabulous time of your life. This is my motto for myself and I feel that message is conveyed by the name I chose for my business.”

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

    Picture via Belevation.com

    The Q&A Team: Breaking Down Event Sponsorships

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 3:16 PM [The Q&A Team]
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    Many businesses partner up with a nonprofit for an event sponsorship. There are benefits to both the business and nonprofit in this partnership. Yet, before the partnership is made, there are various challenges that arise. This is why Lemuel White and Mickey Lukens founded SponsorMatch (the website will be launching soon here). Their platform saves businesses and nonprofits time and money by easily connecting them to one another.

    SponsorMatch's cofounder Lukens answered questions about event sponsorships, as well as the concept behind SponsorMatch:

    How can businesses benefit from event sponsorships?

    In advertising, businesses want to reach customers with the most positive impact possible with respect to cost. Event sponsorships allow businesses of all sizes to control the experience with a customer in such a way that builds a lasting branded impression over other modes of advertising such as television or paid ads online.

    How can a business decide what event sponsorship will work best for them?

    Details of any given event vary greatly. Marketing managers must ask themselves if the particular aspect of the event (of wholes event) they wish to sponsor reinforces the right experience for their target customer and will produce the greatest return on investment.

    Is there a suggested limit on how many event sponsorships a business can have?

    Not at all. However, as with any advertising effort, the long-term return of investment must be greater than the cost of sponsorship.

    Once businesses decide on an event sponsorship, how do they promote it? Do they use social media, email campaigns, etc.?

    Depending on the business, event being sponsored, and customer being reached, promoting in a diversified combination of mediums and digital platforms is usually an effective strategy. For example, social media (when part of a strategy) can be a particularly effective and low cost way of promoting an event. 

    What if a business chooses an event sponsorship that ends up being a conflict of interest, how do they deal with the situation?

    These conflicts are easily prevented with a thorough investigation of the proposed sponsorship and background of the organization. However, if an issue arises that cannot be prevented, businesses should work with the organization to minimize any issue associated with the conflict that might impact the customer. In extreme cases, company leadership should notify customers acknowledging the issue and respond accordingly to keep from alienating trust.

    Why are event sponsorships important for nonprofits?

    The ultimate purpose of a nonprofit is to solve a particular problem in the world. Events are a valuable way for nonprofits to raise money as well as forming strong bonds with their donor base. However, event space, refreshment, tables, A/V etc., are costly. Sponsorship allows nonprofits to minimize cost allowing them to put the maximum amount of money raised towards their cause.

    What is the typical process for nonprofits to find sponsorships for their event? What are the challenges?

    With the exception of very large nonprofits, most small to medium nonprofits spend hours cold calling businesses in hopes of forming a partnership. The entire process is very informal and problematic for nonprofits where they must locate marketing decision makers, pitch their event and levels of sponsorship, and convince the business that their investment would benefit their target consumer. A big challenge to nonprofits is being able to communicate to businesses with the right information that will lead to a partnership. Nonprofits must come prepared with detailed information on their members from where they live, how much do they make, and other demographics.  

    Can you explain how SponsorMatch connects businesses with nonprofits?

    SponsorMatch works by matching a nonprofits event needs to the goals of businesses. With SponsorMatch, nonprofits and businesses are able to save time and money by being able to see exactly what each side is looking for and only reach out when those needs match. The platform will even notify both nonprofits and businesses automatically if it believes there’s a possible match. It’s like a dating website for event sponsorship for social good.

    What made you come up with the concept behind SponsorMatch?

    Our cofounder and CEO Lemuel White had worked with several small nonprofits in California. During that time he struggled with the same challenges we aim to solve with SponsorMatch. Our visions is that we wanted to use technology to help make the world a better place, and we believe giving nonprofits the resources to do that is the solution.

    How does SponsorMatch allow nonprofits to organize the different sponsorships they get?

    Nonprofits will be able to easily divide their event into levels of sponsorship. Businesses will be able to see all the details of any given event and select what level they are willing to support, at what cost, and what exposure they will receive. There will be messaging built into the platform at launch with the ability to share media and documents with marketing managers and event organizers. SponsorMatch allows both the nonprofit and business to hold all of their partnership assets, communication, and details all in one place.

    How do you see event sponsorships changing for nonprofits and businesses in the future?

    I believe technology has allowed the individual to be more informed about the businesses they purchase from and customers are placing the social impact of those businesses at the forefront. As this continues, businesses will incorporate more socially good partnerships to help communities and improve their brand. Technology will also allow nonprofits to change not only the way sponsorships are done, but also how members are found, donors are retained, and visions are fulfilled on a worldwide scale.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com.

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