Monthly Archives: January 2014

LeaPplay: One LeaP Class Member’s Perspective

Last summer I was selected to be a part of the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s Leadership Pensacola program. It’s similar to leadership programs in other cities with a series of opportunities to explore the local community, understand its infrastructure, and potential for future growth. I’ve enjoyed meeting other professionals in the program and I’ve learned a great deal about Northwest Florida.

SH0144 Leap logo(2)What I am most proud of from this experience is the opportunity I’ve had to be a part of LeaPplay, a class project to renovate the playroom space at The Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart. We’re essentially giving the playroom area an extreme makeover that will give the young hospital patients a vibrant and roomier space to play, read and watch movies. It’s a place they can go to get out of their hospital room and enjoy the same activities they would if they were at home.

While I won’t be ripping out walls or installing new flooring (we leave that to the professionals who have kindly sponsored LeaPplay!), I am helping to spread the word about our project to media, potential donors and others who have an interest in helping our cause. Our dedicated marketing committee launched the LeaPplay brand in just a few short weeks last fall. Local creative agencies Appleyard Agency and Clever Ogre provided the project’s graphic identity and website, respectively. We’re using videos on YouTube and commercials produced courtesy of Cox Communications to tell our story on television. We’re active on Facebook and Twitter, and we’re speaking to local civic and community groups throughout the area. You may even see a car wash or two as we look for any potential avenue to get support for LeaPplay and make the new playroom a reality for the kids at Sacred Heart.

It’s been fun to be a part of this grassroots effort and we’re not finished yet. If all goes as planned, we’ll raise the funds necessary to begin construction in March and cut the ribbon on the brand new play space in May. If you would like to learn more or donate to LeaPplay, please visit

Social Media Evolution

Instagram user photo

Instagram user photo

In my last post, I talked about the use of calls-to-action in social media. Instagram was not on my short list of social networks where CTAs can be effective, but new research suggests it has solid potential. Patricia Redsicker summarizes the latest user data from Pew Research in her Social Media Examiner post, “Instagram Platform Ripe for Marketers Shows New Research.” She includes some good examples of how you can make the most of your brand’s presence on the photo sharing site.


On any social platform, whether you are using calls-to-action or just sharing informative or entertaining content with your community of followers, it’s important to know the demographics of your audience and how the nuances of the network can support your overall brand and business objectives. In social, it’s always evolving, too. What worked last year may not be the best approach anymore. It’s a happy new year, in deed.

Are you overlooking this critical element in your marketing strategy?

Yesterday I was interviewed by Polina Opelbaum with PR Newswire about the use of calls-to-action in social media. The interview, which also includes comments from other industry professionals, appears here on the website ProfNet Connect. Seeing my comments in the Q&A article reminded me how much my own blog has become a classic case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes. I’ve been busy writing for clients and other media while my own neglected blog gathers virtual dust. So with that said, in this long overdue post I’d like to expand on the comments included in the ProfNet Connect article and offer you a few more of my thoughts on using calls-to-action in social media.

Are you overlooking this critical element in your digital marketing strategy?

Although it should not be a part of every social media post, a call-to-action is critical for those Facebook posts, tweets, etc., that are designed to get a response from your audience. The call-to-action very simply tells your audience what to do next as a result of the information or visual content that you’ve shared. If you’ve gotten their attention and they want to know more, it tells them what to do to get more information about your brand (e.g., visit your website or landing page). If you are offering a specific product or service in your communication, it may direct them to email, call or complete an online form.

Calls-to-action are not new. They are often used in sales letters, brochures, ads and other traditional marketing vehicles. In social media posts, calls-to-action have the advantage of being able to drive the audience to engage with you in real time. Facebook and Google+ may offer the most flexibility in terms of the length of your written content and the types of visual content you can include. If your call-to-action is short and to the point, Twitter can be a good option. You see this a lot when a company asks its follower to retweet a message to encourage the viral sharing of its content. On YouTube, the call-to-action often appears at the end of a video similar to how it might look at the end of a TV commercial.

An example from Twitter:

Please visit and like our Facebook page,, to read today’s news release announcing the @LeaPplay project.

— LeaPplay (@LeaPplay) November 18, 2013

Many times brands use social media to gather sales leads, so they will use the call-to-action to drive prospects to a landing page where they can get free advice, download an ebook or whitepaper, or perhaps register for a giveaway. It allows the marketer to capture email addresses and other contact information for its use in future marketing efforts. Other calls-to-action are simply intended to create awareness by driving traffic to the brand’s website or encouraging users to share content that is useful or entertaining.

I’ve seen calls-to-action as simple as a sign in a sandwich shop that read, “Like us on Facebook and get a free cookie.” The payoff for the business and the consumer is instant.

Calls-to-action have to be explicit in telling the audience what to do next and how to do it. Including a link to your website or landing page is helpful because you can take them straight to the source of more information and encourage them to engage with you directly. In some cases it helps to not only use a call-to-action, but specify a time frame in which the reader/viewer needs to respond to take advantage of your offer. So basically, give them a deadline or emphasize the immediacy (e.g., call today or register by Friday). You should avoid calls-to-action that are overly complicated. If it’s not concise and easy to understand, it won’t work.