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You know, often the most inspiring and impactful things in life are also the most difficult and daunting. I’d certainly put leadership in that category.

I’ll never forget several years ago a pastor friend of mine telling me, “Pete, everyone loves you until you lead.”

Leadership is one of the greatest privileges given to any human being. I’m sure that many of us in leadership would agree that it is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life.

But, in leadership you carry a weight and responsibility which can drive you to a very lonely place. And this is true whether it's leadership in a church, in the workplace, or even in your home. 

The key to being a healthy leader, however, is to find ways to allow this loneliness to drive you to a greater dependence on God.

I'm reminded of this loneliness when I look at Jesus’ life. Luke 22:39-46 recounts how Jesus asks His disciples to pray with Him. It was such an intense time of temptation. The Bible tells us as He prayed, "His sweat was like drops of blood." After He finished, He walked back over to His disciples to find them asleep.

Can you imagine how defeating that would be?

In leadership you're often going to feel as if you're fighting a battle alone. You're going to ask...

  • Does anyone care?

  • Is anyone else as passionate as I am about this cause?

  • Will anyone else sacrifice?

Jesus lived in the reality that even when you do life in community, leadership can be lonely (and just hours later, even his closest follower would deny knowing Him).

Reflecting on this passage and these principles makes me realize a few things:

1) If it happened to Jesus it will happen to you.

People will abandon you and yes, you will feel lonely. And let's be honest, because you and I are not Jesus and we have sins like pride and arrogance, we’re going to bring some of this upon ourselves. I certainly have. Just remember, whenever you step into any kind of leadership role to make sure that you count the cost.

2) Extend grace whenever possible.

One of my favorite scenes in the Bible would happen a few weeks later in John 21, when Jesus and Peter (one of Jesus’ disciples who had betrayed him) have a little chat on the beach. Jesus would take this opportunity to extend grace to Peter and re-communicate His belief in him. Jesus always chose to see people for who they could be rather than who they were in that very moment.

I certainly haven’t done this perfectly but whenever it’s possible, extend grace and forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Truth be known, a lot of leaders are leading out of a deep hurt that came along with the price of leadership. And unfortunately, the grudge that they carry poisons so much of the good they’re attempting to do.

3) Don't get bitter and withdraw.

I've had way too many leaders tell me they don't do "friends". Whhhhhhat? Listen we've all been hurt. We've all been tempted to withdraw into our own little cocoon and never trust again. Don't fall into that trap. Jesus invested in a bunch of guys who he knew would abandon Him in His time of greatest need. Developing authentic relationships is risky business in the midst of leadership, but it's a risk you need to take.

So, long story short in leadership: expect to feel very alone in moments, come to grips with extending grace even if you feel it’s a one-way street, and wake up ready to love more each day. This will carry you through all seasons of leadership- the good, the bad and ugly.

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Ever find yourself deep in the weeds of your marketing strategy only to measure ROI and discover you haven’t achieved anything?!

It’s frustrating and discouraging. And sometimes, it can even look like a strong enough case to abandon this whole marketing plan and marketing strategy and marketing tactics thing altogether. But before you go, we want to show you another side of the coin. Here are just a few reasons why your marketing strategy might not be working.

Your Tactics Are All Wrong

Let’s clarify something here, there are a few parts to a marketing plan: most marketing plans start with goals and strategies which are made possible or achievable by the tactics you employ to implement your strategy in order to meet your goals.

For instance, let’s say that one of your basic marketing strategies is to grow your online audience via social media so as to convert those people into customers. Your tactics (the way you carry out your strategy) are items like using influencers or creating robust content to share on those channels.

So, while trying to grow customers by building a stronger online audience might not be bad strategy, the tactics you’re using could be all wrong. Have you done enough research to know whether or not your target audience responds to influencers? Do they even want to read content on social media? For example, a better tactic might be to run some Facebook ads that speak directly to each group of your target audience to get them really excited about a new free offer that you have.

So take some time to review your tactics. Make sure they make sense in the grand scheme of your target audience’s needs, wants, habits and behaviors. And keep in mind that what might have worked a few months ago might not be working today AND what works for one company might not work for you.

Your Strategy Is All Wrong

The marketing world is such a quickly changing world that if you aren’t taking its temperature every month or at least every quarter, you’re likely already running behind. So the problems you’re facing with your marketing work rendering it ineffective could go all the way back to your strategy.

Does what you are trying to accomplish even align with a consumer behavior or trend anymore?

It’s important to note that just because something looked like it might work a few months (or even weeks) ago doesn’t mean it’s relevant anymore. The best way to stay up to date is to do your research. See what marketing outlets are talking about, pay attention to what other people in your industry are doing and evaluate your competitors.

Remember, it’s okay to make changes to your marketing plans—in fact, it’s expected! Your plan is a guide, but it’s not the gospel. In the end, it all comes back to your consumers—your audience. What do THEY want? And how do they want to get it, hear about it, be enticed by it? That’s what should be leading your marketing plans, strategies, and tactics every step of the way.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in your day-to-day marketing tasks, give yourself a chance to look up, breathe and take a wide-angle view of your work to see what’s working and what’s flopping.

Change accordingly and keep plowing ahead. You got this. 

Interested in reading more about this whole "strategy" thing? We have another post that talks about why strategy matters. Check it out.

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Last month, Maurilio and Pete had the pleasure of sitting down with Maina Mwaura at Youth Specialties to discuss The A Group and the work that we have the priviledge of doing every day. 

To stay in the loop of all special announcements, blog updates and more, be sure to click here to subscribe.

And maybe you realize after listening to this interview that you have more questions or are interested in learning a bit more about how we can help you and your organization. We would love to tell you more. Click below to get in touch!

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If I had a dollar for every time one of my three boys complained about how slow our internet is at home, I’d be a rich man. But I guess they’re not alone. Everyone loves some lightning fast internet, so it’s probably no surprise that some really smart people backed by tons of money have been working crazy hard to make it even faster. And in order to pipe in enough bandwidth for that precious lightning-fast wireless feed, we’re going to need an entirely new form of wireless signal—that’s where 5G comes in.

So what is 5G? Let’s trace it back to its roots.

The “G” stands for “generation.” Wireless phone technology started with 1G, and in the early 1990’s it expanded to 2G when companies first started enabling people to send text messages between two cellular devices.                       

Then of course with the steady increase of cellular device usage, we moved on to 3G, which gave people the ability to make phone calls, send text messages, and browse the internet.

4G then enhanced many of the capabilities that had already been made possible with the third generation of wireless. People could browse the web, send text messages, and make phone calls—and they could even download and upload large video files without any issues.

Are you still with me? I’m almost through with the tech details, I promise.

So, about 5G. This is going to allow people to send texts, make calls, and browse the web as always—but it will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred across the network. 5G will make it easier for people to download and upload Ultra HD and 3D video. It will also make room for the thousands and thousands of internet-connected devices entering our everyday world.

Will it be that much faster? Oh yeah. For instance, right now it would take you about an hour to download a short HD movie on 4G LTE. With 5G, you’ll be able to download it in seconds.

When will it be available, you ask? Although both Verizon and AT&T, the nation’s two biggest Internet service providers, are already testing 5G in several states, most experts predict that 5G still won’t be widely available for a couple more years. Which means we have some time to wait, but we also have time to prepare.

Why is this important for your nonprofit or ministry?

Well at the very least, this serves as a reminder to us that mobile devices and the corresponding consumption of information via those devices impacts the way that we engage, market, and assimilate the people we’re trying to reach. Robert Wright, our Director of Technology here at The A Group, told me that “creating sites and applications that are mobile responsive is no longer just an option. It’s critical. What we see across the board, is that the vast majority of the audiences that visit the sites we build do so from a mobile device. Most of our sites probably average around 75%, while we have some sites where it’s as high as 90% of their visitors are accessing their site via a mobile device.”

If these stats bored you to tears, don’t fear. We listed out three things you should consider regarding communication via mobile devices with all those stats taken into consideration:

1. It’s where people are spending their time.

As you consider the journey your attenders, students, donors and target audiences take, mobile interaction is now an integral part of it—meaning that it’s now vital to include mobile.

Consumers are attached to their mobile devices. According to research from IDC, the typical consumer uses his/her device consistently throughout daily activities. In fact, 79% of smartphone users have their phone on, or near them, for all but two hours of their waking day. Four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. And get this! According to this same research, people spend an average of 195 minutes per day using their smartphone. We should be capitalizing on that.

2.  Text communication is crazy effective.

Texting is a powerful way to get your message straight into people’s hands, without the clutter of email inboxes or noise of other channels. Text messages not only have at least a 90% average open rate, but they can also quite literally stop people in their tracks – an astounding 98% of people will read an SMS message within three minutes of that little beep, according to Nielsen Mobile studies. So if you’re not tapping into the power of SMS, now is the time to start.

3. Mobile-friendly sites rank higher.

Google now ranks mobile-optimized sites higher than non-optimized sites. This search giant officially acknowledges the importance of mobile in our lives – and made businesses, nonprofits and ministries stand up and listen. If your website doesn’t look, read and perform well on mobile devices, it will suffer in search results. It’s that simple.

Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected devices will be in use worldwide in 2016 (up 30 percent from 2015) and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. That should be motivation enough right there!

If you’re reading all of this and realize that your web presence is not suited well for the rise of mobile demands, we would love to help you with that in any way possible. Our team at The A Group can help walk you through a strategic process to enhance your web presence so you’re able to keep up with the best of them. 

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Ok, I’m going to be honest with you. I’ve been a little late (or a lot late) to jump on the podcast bandwagon. In fact, until this past January I had never really listened to any podcasts on a regular basis. However, I’m finding it to be an amazing resource these days in my own personal and professional growth. And they’re free! Come on people.

So here are my top five:

#5: The Learning Leader Show with Ryan Hawk

If you’re wanting to grow as a leader this is a great one to add to your queue. Ryan has a unique interviewing style and has a wide variety of guests on the show. Whether you’re a seasoned leader or just putting your toe in the water, you’ll walk away challenged.

#4: Revisionist History with Malcom Gladwell

This has to be the most unique one on my list. In this series of 10 podcasts, Gladwell brilliantly goes back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea, etc. And it’s typically something that has been overlooked or misunderstood. There’s so much research that goes into each episode and it’s absolutely riveting. Malcom Gladwell can tell a story like no other and finds such an inspiring perspective on the subject at hand.

#3: Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

There’s not a more practical podcast out there for people in ministry than this one. Andy takes very complex leadership principles and explains them in very simple ways. I’ve never heard a single episode that I couldn’t take something away from and apply it almost immediately. If you’re in ministry, this podcast is a must.

#2: Chris Brown’s True Stewardship

In full disclosure, Chris is a good friend but I’d listen to this podcast even if he wasn’t. While Chris does have some solid advice about how to steward your personal finances, this podcast is a lot more broad than that. It’s really all about how to be a good steward of your life in all aspects. Every episode inspires me to live a better life. Just trust me. Listen once and you’ll be coming back for more.

#1: Building A Story Brand with Donald Miller

If I had to pick just one podcast to listen to in this season, it would be Don’s. Right now I’m trying to soak up absolutely everything I can on marketing and branding and Don is an absolute genius at this. He has a great variety of guests and is one of the best interviewers I’ve ever heard. His free downloadables that correspond with each podcast are nothing short of genius and help you apply the content in ways you wouldn’t have expected.

At the end of the day, what I think is most important (beyond giving you a list of podcasts to listen to) is to challenge yourself and move outside the confines of complacency. In order to grow as a leader, professional or just as a person in life, you must dedicate yourself as a lifetime learner. Push yourself to learn something new. Come to grips with the understanding that excellence and health doesn’t just “happen”. Feed your mind and heart and you’ll see the fruit.

P.S. The A Group is going to start a podcast! Exciting, right? We think so. If you want to be the first to know about the details and launch date, sign up below and we’ll be sure to keep you in the know.

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Easter. There’s a lot of pressure surrounding this day for pastors, isn’t there? You’ll most likely see people you haven’t seen in a while. Hopefully, some you’ve never seen as well. So you need to be prepared, right?

I personally believe that Easter is the best time to reach and assimilate new people into your church family. But it doesn’t happen just by chance. You have to prepare.

Here are seven tips to help set you and your team up well:

1. Be intentional – This is an “all hands on deck” Sunday. Plan every detail you possibly can and expect excellence. It’s that important. Hopefully by now you have already started talking about it, but people need to know the importance you are placing on the day. Make it a big deal, because it is a big deal.

2. Ask members to sacrifice – For this one Sunday, ask your most committed people to serve in ways they may not otherwise. I always used the weeks leading up to Easter to ask people, who had never served in our church, to commit to just help us out for that one Sunday.

In the long run, it built up a lot of our volunteer teams as many of them had so much fun serving that they served on a regular basis after Easter. You need to be fully staffed from the parking lot to the baby room. You need extra greeters. You need people willing to attend a non-traditional service time to accommodate for growth. For Easter—if no other Sunday—think for your guests.  

3. Share hope –  Don’t overthink it. For years I used to beat myself up thinking I had to have a new twist on the resurrection or make each year’s service better than last. Listen, just tell them about the hope that comes along with Easter. Because of Easter there is forgiveness for their past and there is hope for their future. That’s a message everyone can identify with.  

4. Start a new message series –  I would always use Easter Sunday as an opportunity to invite new guests to come back and be a part of this journey we’re going on as a church. Plan a three-week series that starts on Easter Sunday. Then make an intentional invite. Say something like, “We hope that today has been helpful and if this message or the music or something else you’ve experienced today ignited something inside of you, why don’t you make a commitment right now that you’ll come back and finish this three week series with us.” Joke with them and tell them you’re not asking them to commit to attend until Jesus returns but to just try it for a few weeks.

5. Make people feel welcome – Please, please, please don’t use this as an opportunity to beat up on people for only attending once a year. That is never helpful and it doesn’t work. Give them hope that will help them want to return more often. And that’s not just a “sermon” thing. Feeling welcome should start in the parking lot. I used to say all the time that I needed every volunteer to partner with me in creating irresistible environments for guests. Long before they would hear a word come out of my mouth as the pastor, they had more than likely already decided whether or not this was the kind of place where they felt welcome.

6. Plan a follow up – Something we started doing a couple years ago was offering our first-time guests a gift. We did this for a couple reasons. First, we had discovered that over the years, fewer and fewer first-time guests would actually give us their information. They were leery and who could blame them. So we set up a table and offered them a gift (maybe a coffee mug or a water bottle) that they could pick up when they dropped their information card off at the “welcome” table. Now, whatever you do don’t take that information they give you and just sit on it. Reach out to them and communicate about all the different things your church is doing in the community and talk to them about how they could become a part of it.

7. Take a day off – (Stop laughing. I’m serious.) This is a stressful time, and if you aren’t relaxed and rested, you’ll find you spent all your best energy on preparation and have no strength left for the real thing.

We want to help equip you and your team further as you enter into this much anticipated season, so we have put together a FREE Easter Prep Worksheet to help you in this process. It dives into the nitty-gritty details of everything guest services and what to do with higher volume of attendees to volunteer needs and training. Check it out- it’s worth it.

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What is THE most important thing your brand can do right now?

As a Creative Director, I have the privilege of working with a variety of organizations that all have very different needs and goals and assets. When you are exposed to so many different problems to solve and so many different clients to serve, you start to notice patterns in activity, choices and behaviors.

Think about it. Any given day, I can hear questions like the following:

  • How should we say the things that are really important to our audience?
  • How should things look if they are to really connect with our audience?
  • Do we already have the assets (logos, messaging, photography, “look" etc.) that we need to make the most of the moments where we might engage with our audience?
  • How do we make the most of our visual assets and voice so we can reach our goals?

These are all really great questions that all need answering but, they only address a symptom. They are “band-aid” solutions for what are typically deeper desires and problems that organizations face like:

  • We are not seeing the results we want to see.
  • The world is passing us by and we don’t know what we can do to change that.
  • We’ve noticed that our audience has decided that a different organization is better than ours (or, better said as “we are losing relevance and influence among our audience”).
  • We are just starting out and we want to make sure that we are off to a great start!

Being able to articulate bigger picture problems and goals is how you take a huge step toward identifying a path to success. Why is it so important to talk to a marketing and technology agency like The A Group about these deeper issues, as opposed to just requesting the “band-aid” project? Because you will get a more effective solution that will conquer the deeper issue and set your organization up for long-term success! Wouldn’t you want that?

This leads us the the biggest question of all: What is THE most important thing your brand can do right NOW?

The answer might not be what you expect, but here it is:

Get your bearings. Triangulate your brand. Figure out where you are.

So what in the world does that mean?

When I think about my own life and need to “get my bearings” I will usually write down my accomplishments, write down my goals, figure out my resources and look for examples of success around me that could help me learn. I put together an informed plan to get to my goals and get to work. I think the same could apply to your church, nonprofit or ministry’s brand. You have to look at those around you that seem to be getting it right and ask “what is the difference between what they are doing and what we are doing?” Ask yourself questions like, “has my audience/community changed?” or “are we still doing, what it is that we do, for the right reasons?"

Once you are armed with that information, you can decide if you want to create an original, more unique pathway to success, or emulate a path that has been proven.

Every brand has a life-cycle. Every brand is experiencing something that seems unique to them, but many have been there before and found success…or failure. Figuring out where your brand is in its life-cycle is a good way to make an informed decision about your next steps.

If you need help answering these questions and "getting your brand’s bearings”, know that The A Group works with brands like yours every day. When you work with an agency like The A Group, the answers you will get, while tailored to you, are informed by an awareness of the many other clients we’ve served that were standing right where you find yourself, and have found success. Let's chat!

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We’ve all heard that there are no dumb questions. That may or may not be true, but there are certainly some questions that are much better than others.

Every once in awhile, I get the opportunity to talk on the phone or possibly even in person with someone I greatly admire. It’s often a pastor I look up to or a leader who I want to learn from and when I get my window of time with them, I want to make sure I take full advantage of it.

If you want to grow in knowledge, skills, and leadership you’ve got to learn to make the most of these incredible opportunities.

Here are a few guidelines I use to make sure I capitalize on the opportunity and ensure they know their time wasn’t wasted with me:

1) Don’t ask them a question that can be answered on their website.

For instance, if you get 30 minutes with a pastor who you really admire, don’t ask him or her how many campuses they have or where the campuses are located. All you have to do is go to their church website for that information. You’re wasting their time (and yours) with questions like that. Do your homework in advance and make sure you're asking them questions that can’t be easily accessed elsewhere.

2) Don’t spend the majority of your time telling them your story.

As much as we all love talking about ourselves, this is not necessarily the time and place. Here’s a measurement I use: spend 20% of your time asking questions and sharing and the other 80% of your time listening. Remember this isn't an opportunity for you to tell them about all the incredible stuff you feel like you're doing. This is your moment to learn from someone who's willing to download to you the experience they've accumulated over time. Take advantage of every second and if you utilize that conversation to its maximum potential and hit it off, the likeliness that the relationship will continue increases (which will likely lend itself to those more personal conversations).

3) Don’t waste time asking questions that someone else on their staff is better suited to answer.

If your meeting with a CEO, don't ask them questions about development. If you want to learn more about development, meet with the VP of Development. Tap into the relevant space they operate and lead in- this is where they will have the most useful advice to offer.

4) Respect their time.

Some advisors and leaders may take your occasional phone call, but this doesn’t mean he or she can talk to you on a monthly basis. Be appreciative and respectful for the time you received and don’t waste it by using it to try to get more time out of them in the future. If they have additional time to offer, I promise you they’ll graciously offer it.

5) Don’t ask them questions about someone else.

If you’re talking with Leader A, don’t ask him or her questions about Leader B. Ask questions about their life, their leadership, and their influence. This will make them feel valued and appreciated for their time with you.

If you want to be a good leader, you’ve got to be a great learner. If you want to be a great learner you’ve got to be an exceptional listener. Make the most of these opportunities to sit down with a mentor because they can become foundational to the future of your leadership.

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It’s easy to ask people for money. As a non profit, it’s what you do day in and day out and your livelihood depends on it. But donors can get exhausted easily when asked over and over and over to empty their wallets yet again. There has to be another way, right?

You’re never not going to ask your donors for money, but there are some ways that you can alleviate the constant nagging with more fun and creative ways for people to get involved in your organization and your work.

Donate Expertise

Your supporters all have their own careers, experiences and talents. Why not bring that into your organization? Just because someone can’t donate to you doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything that you can use. So ask them to donate their knowledge or their talents. A well-organized and managed volunteer team can bring fresh vision and depth to your team like nothing else can.  

For example, say you can’t afford to hire someone to enter data. Ask a volunteer to do it. Doing so will not only allow people to be a part of your vision without having to sign a check, but it’ll also free up your internal team to take care of tasks that can’t be passed on to a volunteer.

Or perhaps you need someone to man your information booth at a fundraising event. Get volunteers to do easy tasks like handing out postcards, taking photos, and updating social media to free up your team to have meaningful conversations and interactions with event attendees.

Donate Feedback

Ask your donors to donate their feedback. This can include surveys of how the organization can be even more impactful or effective or feedback from donors on how they want to be talked to, what communications they prefer, etc. Thank donors for their feedback and keep them in the loop as you make efforts to create changes within the organization based on their thoughts.

You can even ask your donors to share their personal testimonies or stories of impact. Ask them to share how being a donor has affected or changed them and share those stories (with permission) on your social media channels, email communications and website. These can all work together to help you build stronger relationships with your donors AND inspire other people to become donors as well!

Donate Pride

Ask your donors to do something silly and share it with their friends and family via social media or email to bring awareness to your organization and introduce their network to your work. For instance, your promotion of this could look something like the following:

“Want to be involved, but unsure of how you can help? Donate your pride! Tell your family and friends that for every $20 you receive to be donated toward (insert organization’s cause or mission or current project), you’ll take a cream pie in the face! Film the pie event and share with your online community. Together we can bring an end to (reiterate cause/mission/project).”

Something simple like this gives people a fun and exciting way to be involved in your organization while also rallying their personal network for your cause! For this kind of approach, be sure to build out a landing page and email communications that include detailed terms and directions of how this type of donation should work.

It’s inevitable that your donors will go through periods of their life where they can’t possibly write out another check to you. Giving these people an alternative way to stay involved in your organization promises longevity of your donor base and provides people with an easy way to stay loyal to you and plugged into your mission. 

If you're working through all things donor development and are looking for resources to help you along your journey further, be sure to check our New Donor Welcome Kit below! 

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It’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re spreading a little love, particularly in terms of social media. In the midst of your last minute Valentine’s Day shopping scramble, we invite you to take a breather and check out some of our favorite social media tips!

It’s all in the name of spreading the love.

1. Listen to your people. What are people responding to the most? What are they re-sharing, what are they commenting on, what are they clicking through? Pay attention to their activity and adjust your content strategy likewise. If your people respond really well to client testimonials and you’re only sharing those a few times a week while burying people in stats and education about your service or product, you’re likely going to lose them in the sea of oversaturated noise.

What do people want to hear more about? If people are emailing you or submitting contact forms—then think through the questions and comments they share. Are they responding to a certain kind of post or news more than others? Share more of that same kind of content. Are they requesting more information on certain products or services? Publish and share how-to guides and free informational downloads.

2. Don’t overthink it! At the end of the day, sometimes we get buried so deep in all of the details that we can’t see the forest for the trees. Details are good, but when everyone on your team is down in the weeds and no one is looking at the situation from a 30,000 foot level, you’ll miss big opportunities.

Make sure you have visionary people who can speak into the general social media strategy. If you don’t have enough capacity on your team to do so, then make an intentional effort at pulling yourself out of the data and the analytics a few times a week to take in the full picture and evaluate what other brands and competitors are doing. You need a bigger vision to follow in order to have a successful social media strategy—it isn’t just about the clicks and the impressions and the followers—it’s about carving out a space for your brand to flourish and grow by cultivating a welcoming space for all who are interested in what you’re doing.

3. Ignore the one-size-fits-all mentality. Beyond having an editorial calendar and actually updating your platforms, you need to take social media advice with a grain of salt. There are so many experts and thought leaders all sharing what they think you should be doing, but it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is speaking from their unique experiences and the results that they’ve seen. So what worked for a shoe brand to cultivate engaged customers on social media might not work for a new non profit that’s just desperate to generate some awareness.

Social media seems like it’d be a no brainer and super easy to implement, but it can be tricky! With the three tips above in mind, approach your social audiences with a renewed spirit and determination to meet THEIR needs. 

Need more help with your marketing? Check out our library of free resources to help you along the way!

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You just left Amazon without purchasing that exciting new book, and now it’s popping up in your Newsfeed. You see a sponsored post from a company that sells products you purchase frequently (even though you don’t like their page), and not only that, you see that your Facebook friends John, Mary and Sheila like the company too!

Whether you like it or not, Facebook knows A LOT about us. Think about it. When you create a Facebook profile, you’re providing your name and your birthdate, but you’re also adding work and education, places you’ve lived and interests—books, movies, television shows, magazines, activities, hobbies—to your profile.

As Facebook continues the pursuit for digital domination, you’ve probably heard (and seen!) quite a bit about their powerful ad targeting capabilities.

While it can be scary personally to think about all of the data Facebook has collected about us, as marketers, we should be rejoicing! Now, we have the ability to reach our target audience with tailored messages and relevant content in a very affordable and measurable way.

Facebook has a lot of advertising options for how you can reach these audiences—target by demographics, age, gender, and even location.  And now you can take it a step further. Download our Complete Guide to Facebook Ad Targeting today and learn how to use powerful ad targeting options you may not already know about. 

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Valentine’s Day isn’t just for chocolates and roses (but don’t forget those!); it’s also the perfect opportunity for you to stand out to your customers and your donors.

And with the big day only a week away, we want to give you some simple ideas that you can put into play to make your audience feel loved this Valentine’s Day.

1. The Simple Approach

Those fun little Valentine’s Day cards aren’t just for the kiddos—they can be for adults too! So why not design your own? Make it personal and try to include some of your culture and personality in it to give your audience an insider view of your team. We know that one week is a tight squeeze to get a card designed, printed and mailed, so if you can’t pull that off, then consider an e-card.

You can even record a fun video to blast out to your online subscribers to wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day from your team to them.

2. Freebies

Everyone likes freebies! What kind of freebie can you give your audience? Whether it’s a free download, a free resource or a small free product (like a dentist giving away Valentine’s Day toothbrushes!), you can pair your freebie with Valentine’s Day to not only bless your customers or supporters but also make them feel loved and appreciated.

If you don’t want to or can’t give away a free service or product to every single one of your followers, then a discounted service or product might be a little more realistic for you. For instance, if you have an event going on, send a discounted second registration to people who have already signed up. It’s little gestures like these that show your people that you value them!

3. Contests

Rather than sending something really small to your entire audience, do a giveaway instead. The prize for the giveaway doesn’t need to be something from you company, it can simply be a fun giveaway to score an iPad or a $500 shopping spree. You can use the contest to achieve some marketing goals. For example, if you need more Facebook likes, require each contestant to “like” your FB page in order to enter the giveaway.

4. Go Big 

If you have a major client or donor that really helps you keep the lights on and consistently supports you with big business or big donations, take an extra step for them. Send a box of local homemade baked goods or a big bouquet of flowers thanking them for their business or support. Such a gesture might seem small to you, but it will feel huge in their eyes.

Whatever you do to show love this Valentine’s Day, we hope you have a blast doing it!

And from all us here at The A Group, we wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day! We so appreciate each and every one of YOU.

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The A Group
320 Seven Springs Way
Suite 100
Brentwood, TN 37027
Phone: (615) 373-6990
Toll-free: (866) 258-4800
Fax: (615) 373-6991
© 2017 The A Group