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Improv performance and marketing both rely on clear communication

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment
Katie Goodman taught a room full of women life lessons disguised as improv acting lessons.

Katie Goodman taught a room full of women life lessons disguised as improv acting lessons.

When my friend, improv actress Katie Goodman, and I decided to co-teach a workshop, it felt like a natural.

She uses improvisation exercises as a life coach. I’m a marketing consultant who mainly helps small businesses and solopreneurs tell their stories.

What? That doesn’t sound like peanut butter and jelly to you?

I spent last weekend in Montana at an improv workshop Katie led that reconfirmed our connection. Many lessons of improv apply to marketing communication.

As you may know, improv is acting without the benefit of a script.

Through the course of the weekend, we partnered up to write poetry, sing songs and act out scenes totally created in the moment, based on suggestions from the audience — give me an object, an emotion, a type of location.

Katie directed us to listen closely to our scene partners, to be open to new ideas, whether they’re your own or other people’s, and of course to follow the best known philosophy of improv, to always build on other people’s ideas, instead of negating them, by using a “yes, and …” approach. All good advice in life, as well as on stage.

She also advised us to say what’s in our heads. You have to decide who you are, where you are and what you want, and communicate all three clearly or your partner doesn’t know how to react.

For example, we begin an improv scene and I just say “Sure is hot.” I might have an idea that we’re in a sauna, at the beach or standing on the surface of the sun, but my partner has to figure out how to react to me with almost no information.

If instead I say, “Wow it’s hot! I’ve been in this desert for a week and I ran out of water three days ago. Do you have any water?” I’ve given my partner enough information to maybe picture she’s got to get off her camel to share her jug of water with me.

When it works, it’s like watching skilled ballroom dancers. Partners appear to move together effortlessly, and though one is following and the other leading, the direction is invisible to the audience and both have equally important roles in their shared success.

How is improv like marketing?

I frequently see businesses creating content that doesn’t tell me who they are, where they are and what they want. As a result, I don’t know how to react. Read more

Five tips for getting started using Facebook for marketing

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

By this point, Facebook has become so culturally ubiquitous that probably even the remaining holdouts who don’t have an account have at least seen it and are aware of the concept of the interconnected social network.

But even those who are active personally might not know how to use Facebook for marketing.

Sadly, it’s getting harder, as Facebook’s algorithm for what users see in their news feed limits the number of users seeing page content – the rough number thrown around is that only about 10 percent of those who’ve liked the page see that page’s posts in their news feeds. So even if you’ve already liked my business page, or Coke’s or Justin Bieber’s, there’s a good chance you’re missing what we’re sharing with you.

Still, it’s a huge, free channel to not just share your message but engage your fans in conversation, so it’s worth getting to know.

So here’s a guest post I wrote last summer for a business-to-business blog for bakeries, on how to get started using Facebook for business.  Stirring Up Success is run by Dawn Foods, a manufacturer of bakery ingredients and products and distributor to the bakery industry. According to a case study by Crossroads, StirringUpSuccess.com has been featured in top industry trade publications as a unique and helpful tool for bakery owners.

My first post in the series encouraged bakeries to take the time to define their business goals to help them be more effective on social media. Then we built on that with some how-tos for Facebook beginners:

Social Media Strategy – Facebook

Facebook has more than 1 billion active users so odds are good you already have an account with the popular social media site. But are you using it to find high school friends or to help grow your business?

Starting with a strategy for your social media will help guide you, as I blogged about last month. For example, do you want to use Facebook to talk to existing customers or try to reach new ones, and are you trying to make more sales or help improve customer support?

Once you have defined your social media goals, here are five tips for using Facebook for business:

Set up a page – not a profile, not a group. When you create your page, you can choose from designations including local business or brand. Facebook prohibits businesses from using personal profiles, so if you previously set up a profile instead of a page, here’s how to convert it.

Fill in the “about” section. So many businesses don’t take advantage of this obvious place to answer visitors’ basic questions about who you are and what you do.

Manage your page’s settings. Click on Edit Page, then Update Info and you can customize the name of your page to something like https://www.facebook.com/NewvineGrowing . You can also set up email notifications when users comment, and get the ability to either post under your business name or as a person.

Post a mix of content. Photos pop visually in your fans’ news feed, links can direct your Facebook fans to content on your website or blog, questions let your customers know you care what’s on their minds. Variety lets you see what your visitors respond to, and keeps you from sounding monotonous.


Experiment with posting at different times and on different days. According to social media scientist Dan Zarrella, Saturday is the best day to post to Facebook and the best time is noon if you want maximum engagement. That’s on average, though, so it’s important to see if that’s true for your customers.

How will you know if you’re on the right track? Facebook Insights gives you data on how many people your page has reached each day and what kinds of results each of your individual posts got. If you aren’t sure what any of the numbers mean, hover your cursor over the question mark or data point and you’ll get more information.