It was the year of fun with social media. The “Harlem Shake” was all the rage at my SoloPR conference and elsewhere around the country. The word “selfie” officially entered the lexicon. We made vine videos and celebrated National Ice Cream Day July 21st with an instagram video. So what do we do to conclude the year at the holiday season? Our team is closing out 2013 with some more fun. Sarah Kinsler and I will be leading the Johnson City Leadership 2015 class in a sing-along this week with a rousing rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” with a social media kick. We’ll be performing wearing Santa hats with Keith Ford on guitar and  Jason Pierce on mandolin.  What do you think of the lyrics? Would you like to share them at your office Christmas party? Enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

12 Days[2]

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The MarketingMel team supports #Socktober: the drive for new socks for the homeless.

The MarketingMel team supports #Socktober: Kid President’s drive for new socks for the homeless.

MarketingMel, is teaming up with YouTube sensation “Kid President” in a nationwide campaign to donate socks to the homeless. “Socktober”, stamped by Kid President himself, is a movement to motivate one-million people to donate socks to the homeless in their communities. The campaign was launched by a YouTube video declaring the month of October, “Socktober.” Our goal is to to get 500 pairs of socks donated to United Way of Washington County, TN for distribution by Thanksgiving! It’s ambitious but we live in a generous community with many wonderful small businesses and non-profits who have already jumped in to help.

“In Johnson City alone we have 718 homeless students,” said Bonnie White who coordinates work with the homeless for the Johnson City school system. “We need socks in all sizes from Kindergarten through adults sizes for boys and girls.”

Donations are being accepted now through Thanksgiving. Drop-off stations are located at Summit Leadership Foundation, Spine & Sports Chiropractic and Appearances Hair Salon. As an extra incentive to donate new socks, Spine & Sports is offering one half off kinesio taping for anyone donating new socks to their office at 215 East Watauga, Suite 100. That is a $10 savings from the normal price of $20 for tapings.

If you don’t live in the Tri-Cities region I hope you’ll be inspired to purchase new socks for the homeless in your area. Please drop us a note and let us know how you are doing in the comments section. By the way do you like the socks Sarah and Emma and i are modeling? Nothing says #Socktober like orange!





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The MarketingMel team at ColorMeRad

The MarketingMel team at ColorMeRad

What could be more fun for team-building with MarkeitngMel’s group of rising young public relations pro’s than “running” one of the most cleverly marketed 5K events in the world? I’m talking about ColorMeRad 5K, billed as “the best way to brighten your life.” A run/walk event that’s geared toward women, ColorMeRad offers all the fun of a run without a clock. I knew this wasn’t a usual 5K was when I stepped out of my car only to see a rotund group of co-workers wearing matching shirts and smoking cigarettes. I knew we were not in Kansas anymore but little did I know we were definitely heading for a rainbow! Who needs a watch when you can go for a stroll through five paint stations and then soak in (literally!) the Color Throw! My “team” included intern Emma Brock and Associate Sarah Kinsler along with their boyfriends, Derrek Pugh and Taylor Alexander. It was just me and all of my 20-something friends heading out to get colored corn starch splattered all over us (along with 5,000 other people!)

Here are some tips we learned from the race:

  1. Plan to have FUN: It’s a very different atmosphere from competitive races.
  2. Arrive early to get in the party mood:  We arrived over an hour before our start time and we were glad we did! We danced, did plenty of warm up exercises led by a local exercise studio and, thanks to the great party host who hosted contests and gave away free t-shirts, we generally got in the mood to have fun!
  3. Wear the sunglasses they give you! It was worth digging my contacts out of the closet to be able to wear the Rad glasses. Then I didn’t ruin any of my good glasses.
  4. If you put on the tattoo it’s on for awhile: Yup! I was RAD yesterday and still today. But hey, my tat was a great conversation starter with the bagger at the grocery store.
  5. If you bring a phone, cover it up in a plastic bag. Frankly, I didn’t take mine on the run because the girls brought and hid theirs. You will want to take photos!
  6. Realize you are not going to have a personal record time: Heck, you’re dodging small children and large adults who started walking in the wave ahead of you. But you can run, sort of.  (I did).
  7. Wear a bandana (I’m still sneezing!) Not mentioned in any of the web site, Facebook or other literature is that your nose *will* clog up from inhaling colored corn starch and you *will* get a headache.  Saline nasal solution is your friend. Some participants said their ears were also full of color (and so were their Q-tips.)
  8. When you’re a team it’s best to travel together. This race attracted 5,000 runners/walkers. Although we initially planned to ride together we ended up driving in two cars. The car that got the later start got stuck in traffic and we didn’t catch up with our teamates till after the race. My recommendation: Pile into one car and start early!
  9. Be sure to wear white to maximize your color. Then bring a change of clothes and a trash bag or at least a towel to sit on after. We were all covered in color and you don’t want to get that on your car seat.
  10. Take a shower as soon as you can. I showered right away and everything came right off (except the Rad tat, but hey, I’m still Rad!)

May all your dreams be colorful and your runs be happy!

Did I mention….have fun with it?!

Have you ever participated in a ColorMeRad or Color Run? If so, what’s been your experience? If you haven’t please tell us why you haven’t or if you’re secretly jealous of our Rad shirts?

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SMAC header

Tri-Cities PRSA, Ad Club, SPJ Team up for #SMAC13

I’m so excited about this upcoming event I wanted to share it with you, my dear blog readers! For the first time ever we’ve gathered three fantastic groups of communicators together to produce what’s going to be one great event!

The Tri-Cities Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, along with Greater Tri-Cities Pro Chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists and The American Advertising Federation of Northeast Tennessee will host Social Media and Communicators, #SMAC13, a discussion on navigating the ever-changing social landscape, Thursday, September 19, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Venue in the King building in downtown Johnson City, 300 East Main Street, Suite 200.

This inaugural event will feature the region’s leading journalists and corporate communicators as they discuss how social media plays a role in news gathering, public relations, advertising and our everyday lives. The speakers will take part in an informative panel discussion about this sometimes controversial and often misunderstood medium.

Panelists will be Josh Smith of WJHL, Rachel Cain of Eastman Chemical Company, Becky Campbell of the Johnson City Press, Jennifer Clements of East Tennessee State University and Eric Vaughn of Wellmont Health System.  I have the honor of serving as moderator.

“#SMAC 13 will provide an excellent opportunity for communications professionals to share best practices and for the public to learn more about the rapidly growing field of social media,” said Jim Wozniak, president of Tri-Cities PRSA. “We have assembled a tremendous panel and moderator who are on the cutting edge of social media developments, we are grateful to have such wonderful partners in SPJ and AAF who have helped develop a first-rate event.”

Audience members will be encouraged to participate in the conversation and send questions before the panel starts – via Twitter using the hashtag #SMAC13. Even if you can’t join us live please tweet us some questions in advance and we’ll do our best to work them in!

The cost to attend is $15 for PRSA and SPJ members, $25 for business professionals and $10 for students with valid student ID and it includes lunch provided by Cranberries. Attendance fee and lunch is included with Ad Club membership.   RSVP is required for this event as seating will be limited.

For more information about the event or to learn how you can get involved, please visit the #SMAC 13 Facebook event page at Facebook.com/Tri-CitiesPRSA or email .



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MarketingMel team of Mary Ellen Miller and Sarah Kinsler meet Gene De Libero of Digital Mindshare

The MarketingMel team of Mary Ellen Miller and Sarah Kinsler meet Gene De Libero of Digital Mindshare

(The following blog post is co-authored by Mary Ellen Miller and Sarah Kinsler.)

“In marketing the primary objective is remarkable customer experiences.” That’s what Gene DeLibrio of Digital Mindshare said during a recent presentation to the Ad Club of Northeast Tennessee recently. Gene admitted we all sometimes feel “overwhelmed by the digital space.”  He added, “Remember, the user is always in control. We freely give out our information.”

“Sometimes we have trouble keeping up,” said Gene as he pointed to a visual graphic of the adoption cycles of well known brands. The adoption cycle of a telephone was 75 years. Angry Birds? 35 days! That’s how long it took to get to 50 million users; the same amount of time it took the phone to get to that number of users in 75 years! He said that Smart plasma screens that “know” who you are and recognize your attributes are replacing old fashioned poster kiosks at movie theaters. “Music is smart, they get it. They adapt to users preferences,” he said using Pandora as an example.
Here are five takeaways from this marketing technology expert.

1. Change is Happening, Be Proactive 

The way we communicate and gather information is forever changing. Make sure you are adapting to these changes by engaging in the new technologies. You don’t want to get left behind!

2. Don’t Underestimate Data
While most of us only think of analytics when studying data, there are many functions of this sometimes stuffy information. Data can uncover ideas for new opportunities and help transform customer experience. Utilize these findings to your advantage.
3. Marketing is FAST, Sometimes too fast
While technology is great, it can hinder you in certain situations. When dealing with the public, things such as “Auto Tweet” need to be watched carefully. Ex. Boston Marathon/ Tweet Disaster when some companies were using pre-scheduled tweets rather than empathizing with the victims, thus making them look cold and uncaring. Gene said some of the companies tweeting that day are still cleaning up from their P.R. disaster.
4. Don’t be Greedy, Share Your Information
Although contrary to the popular belief, it’s actually a positive to give away your information. Helping others by volunteering your expertise will make you more valuable.

5. Use (and Be) T-shaped Talent

Understand your business end to end.”Be fluent in business strategy and technology as at least one language and be literate in many,” said Gene. He also said we must employ agile marketing in a world of constant change. “Testing and data is the new normal of modern marketing.”

Which tip resonates with you and why?


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MarketingMel speaks on personal branding to the Elite Strategic Partners.

MarketingMel speaks on personal branding to the Elite Strategic Partners.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Warren Buffet

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the Elite Strategic Partners group last Tuesday in Johnson City.  This group of business and community leaders gets together for lunch three times per month to share referral sources and hear from guest speakers. The ESP group is already gaining a great reputation for its members (way to build that brand!) WHile I was there they contributed a $500 check to Rise Up, an organization that mentors young people.

My topic was “Powerful Personal Branding” which I define quite simply as the sum total of your online and your offline reputation.  It is how others perceive you! Here are a few other tips from my talk.

  1. Focus on Your Strengths– There is a great book called Strengthfinders by Clifton and Buckingham that urges us to focus on our five core strengths. I enjoyed joking with a CPA in the crowd that people like her will always find employment when there are people like me around! The point is, hire someone who’s really good in your weak area so you can focus on what you do best (in my case it’s strategy, not accounting!)
  2. Get Media Exposure-I love to say that “media begets media” and it is really true. Once you appear TV or radio or you’re quoted in the newspaper you are seen as an “expert” and a go-to personality.
  3. Blog Your Expertise- Blogging is a great way to keep your web site fresh and push you up in the search engine rankings. You are bound to have a keen knowledge of something that others want to know more about. Share it regularly on your blog. And if you can’t think of ideas, invite a guest blogger to come on board from time to time. It’s great exposure for them and for you.

These are just three of the 15 tips that can be found in the Personal Branding Tool Kit, created by Maria Peagler and me, that is now on a back to school sale! We’ve reduced our price by $50 to a great rate of just $47 for an easy to follow infographic and tips, action plans, an mp3 of our webinar, transcript and a “ready-set-go” plan to carry out the 15 steps to building your personal brand. Just click this link and use the promo code “school.”

Do you have your own personal branding success tips? Please share them here.

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Image: My Clever Agency

Image: My Clever Agency

Are you a perfectionist like me? (Hey, I’m a Virgo, what can I say.) Well, I ran across this excellent infographic from “my clever agency” (don’t you love that name?) that tells us how to create a perfect social media post. Thanks to Mark Ragan at PR Daily for drawing my attention to it. I thought it was really terrific and would be worthwhile for my readers.

mycleveragency Social Media Perfect Post Infographic
Social Media Perfect Posts Infographic is an infographic that was produced by mycleveragency

Read more from How To Create The Perfect Pinterest, Google+, Facebook & Twitter Posts [Infographic] – mycleveragency – Full Service Social http://www.mycleveragency.com/2013/06/how-to-create-the-perfect-social-media-posts/#ixzz2a4zIdXKI

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The following is a guest blog post by MarketingMel associate Sarah Kinsler.

Twitter Hashtags and TV

Twitter Hashtags and TV

Last year CBS reported more than 108.4 million people tuned in for the Super Bowl. Of those viewers, many were chatting it up on Twitter.  Over 24 million game day related tweets were posted during the event. Between Beyonce’s performance with a surprise visit by the other members of Destiny’s Child and the 35-minute blackout, users had LOTS to talk, or should I say Tweet about.

The Super Bowl is a prime example of how social media is changing how we watch television. We are no longer just watching, we are communicating. Social sites such as Twitter makes it possible to share your insights, opinions and questions with others across the world. We aren’t just sharing our thoughts with those in our living room anymore.

The development of hashtags (a way for users to organize and search tweets by marking them with a #) has made it possible for users to collaborate their views and engage in conversation with others about popular shows.  Every week millions of people tune in to their favorite shows and login on to Twitter. Shows like The Bachelor, Lost and numerous sporting events gain so much social media attention, their hashtags often are the top ones on Twitter. (This is known as trending)

The presence of social media is forever changing our communication habits. While the technology is fascinating, I can only help but what wonder about the future of interpersonal communication. What do you think? Are you a “Tweet-a-holic” or like to keep your conversations face to face?

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler

MarketingMel Associate Sarah Kinsler


Sarah Kinsler is a member of the MarketingMel team. She creates marketing, public relations and social media strategies for Mel’s diverse group of business clients. 


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