Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ENGAGE! 5 Tips to Engage with Facebook Fans

Did anyone grab any great deals on Cyber Monday? I didn't this year... instead I went home early yesterday with a terrible cold. But I am rested and back with blog-vengeance today!

I stumbled upon this excellent article on Social Media Today about engaging with Facebook fans, that I want to share with our retailers. I found this article to be pretty witty, but also very informative. As the Direct Marketing Representative at Alliance, I try to implement these simple social media tips throughout my day. Read the tips below and let me know if you use these same tricks without even realizing on your own retail Facebook page. Write me below by leaving a comment!

With more than a billion active users, Facebook is a behemoth of a marketing opportunity – and one that a growing number of companies are positioning themselves to take full advantage of. According to a September 2012 study conducted by the social media experts at HubSpot, 42 percent of marketers consider Facebook to be an integral part of their marketing strategy. Though a substantial percentage of businesses now have fan pages, at this point in the game, simply being on Facebook is not enough. For a fan page to be effective as a marketing tool, time must be devoted to cultivating and maintaining an active, engaged fan base.   
1. Be cool.Facebook is high school and you’re running for election. People who like your brand or business may “like” your fan page, but the personality behind the label is what will drive them to engage. Don’t be afraid to be funny or spunky; fans respond to posts with individuality. If you have a dedicated social media manager, reveal who’s posting: “Dave from Extreme Hockey World” beats “Extreme Hockey World,” any day. 
2. Forget the text – go visual.In June 2012, Social media researcher Dan Zarella analyzed 1.3 million Facebook posts of varying types and the response rate of each. His conclusion? Photos garner more attention and engagement than any other type of media on Facebook. More responses means more exposure, which equates to more opportunities for expanding your follower base. 
3. Pad the deck.Invite friends and business contacts to connect with your fan page by uploading an email contact list and inviting everyone on it to “like” your page. People familiar with you or your business are far more likely to engage with your fan page than those with whom you have had no previous contact. This opportunity is only available to Facebook pages with 4,999 likes or less, so take advantage of it while you can. 
4. Make your fans interesting by association.Everyone wants to be clever and entertaining on Facebook – so give your followers what they want. Post genuinely unique, compelling content that is relevant to your brand or business. Your fans will like it, comment on it, share it – and love you for making them look good. Each time they share your content, their friends will have the opportunity to like your page too.   
5. Don’t be a vacuum salesman.Use Facebook as a means to build relationships, not hawk your product. If your fans like you, business will follow. Make interaction the goal, and don't underestimate your followers – they like being marketed to about as much as you do. If you're genuine and give with no expectation of getting, your fans will respond. 

If you have a minute, swing over to our Facebook page to examine our engagement with fans.
Have a good day!

- Emily

(Article Source) - (Image Source)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Small Business Saturday!

Alliance hopes all of our retailers had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends!
We hope you prepared for and promoted Small Business Saturday around your community.

Please be sure to share your Small Business Saturday success story by commenting below.
Have a great weekend!

- Emily

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We at Alliance are thankful for all of the retailers who we work with. Thank you for allowing us to be your source for products, for trusting us with your business, and for all you do to keep our industry vibrant! In 2012 we have made many changes to our infrastructure and our marketing tools with one intent – serving you even better. Thank you for working with us through the changes and for the amazing input and guidance you provided in the process. We look forward to serving your store far into the future!

Enjoy your holiday with family and friends! Treat your loved ones by teaching them a new game you currently love.

Let us know what games you played over Thanksgiving by leaving a comment below!

- Emily 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday UPS Schedule

Alliance Thanksgiving Holiday Shipping Schedule

With the holidays fast approaching, please be aware of the holiday UPS schedule.

Tuesday, November 20th: Normal pickup and delivery service for air, international and ground packages. UPS 2nd Day Air packages picked up 11/20 will be delivered Friday 11/23.

Wednesday, November 21: Normal pickup and delivery service. UPS Next Day Air packages picked up 11/21 will be delivered Friday 11/23. UPS 2nd Day Air packages picked up 11/21 will be delivered Monday 11/26. Air and International Packages for pick up 11/23 must be pre-arranged by today (Wed).
NOTE:  This is the last day to ship UPS Ground until Monday, 11/26.

Thursday, November 22: No UPS pickup or delivery service.

Friday, November 23: Delivery of UPS air and international packages only. No UPS ground pickups or deliveries. Pickup service for air and international shipments only if arranged prior to Wednesday, 11/21.

Thank you for your cooperation and please plan accordingly.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

How will you be participating in Small Business Saturday?

Are your retail stores prepared for Small Business Saturday? Small Business Saturday will be held on Saturday November 24th 2012. This will be the third year for the annual event. First founded by American Express, Small Business Saturday encourages customers to shop small business the day after Black Friday. It would be great to see some of our retail stores participated in this important day!
Below are a couple promotional ideas businesses will be participating in, this upcoming Small Business Saturday.
“This year, almost half (47 percent) of small business owners nationwide plan to integrate Small Business Saturday into their holiday marketing strategy, reports the first Small Business Saturday Insights Survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express. 
In order to get customers to “shop small,” the majority (67 percent) plan to offer discounts on Small Business Saturday. In addition, 46 percent will create coupons for future offers or discounts; 23 percent will give away prizes or host contests; and 20 percent will give away free gifts with a purchase.”
What will your small business retail store do for Small Business Saturday? Start brainstorming now about giveaways or coupons customers can use another time. We especially enjoy this promotion; it provides an incentive for your customers to return again before the holidays.
What are you doing this upcoming Small Business Saturday? Email Emily at eme@alliance-games.com to tell her your story. We’ll schedule to share your ideas on our blog in the upcoming week.
If you would like, tell us about your successful Small Business Saturday in the past. Any advice you would provide a retailer participating for the first time?
We love your feedback!
-       Emily

PS. The YouTube channel Geek&Sundry will be slowing down TableTop episodes over the holidays. There is a new TableTop episode scheduled today November, 15 2012. Episodes will air again in January of 2013.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Employees Generate Happy Customers

If you have happy and motivated employees working in your retail store, you are bound to make more sales and create stronger connections with customers! Here are a couple steps to keep your employees motivated. Remember, good or bad customer service will affect your customers decision to return to your store or to seek your competition. Try to keep your customer retention in mind, everyday.

  1. Make employees feel they are doing something meaningful
  2. Effectively communicate and share information
  3. Give employees clear job descriptions and accountability
  4.  Give and receive ongoing performance feedback
  5.  Have, and show, faith and trust in your team
  6.  Listen to, focus on, and respect your employees' needs
  7.  Provide recognition to worthy employees
  8.  Foster innovation


 Article Source: The Employee-Motivation Checklist by Dave Lavinsky

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Instagram - Fun and Cheap!

Instagram is a newer tool in the social media network family. It's less about updating your status like Facebook, and more about visually showing your followers what you’re up to or what your interests are. It's a photo sharing network that allows people with like interests to follow you, like your pictures, and comment on the ones they love.

Alliance Game Distributors is jumping on the Instragram craze. We are not sure how, or if, it will be successful but our goal is create community around gaming. We plan to have #hashtag projects regularly if we find them to be successful. It's hard to say how a company will do on Instagram, but we would like you to come along for the ride. After all it's a place for fun, inspiration, and creativity; and we plan to use it for such.

We like this article, and we hope you get the inspiration to join as well! 5 Ways to Grow Your Exposure With Instragram.

Follow us on Instagram: @AllianceGames


- Emily

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Social Media for Small Businesses

In the most recent years, social media has created the most buzz around companies and small businesses. First and foremost, most social media websites are FREE - so if your small business is on a budget, social media certainly fits. Although social media is free, in order for it to be effective, it must be updated and attended to often. Ask around and see if one of your employees would be willing to take on the social media project, or appoint someone who has great initiative.

Your viewers and followers chose to follow you for a reason; they see value in following your company. Emphasize value, when considering social media for your small business. Provide information that your followers should know, and are desperate to hear more about! You can also advertise new product receiving, restocks, events, and tournaments.  

Check out this awesome graphic from Entrepreneur.com about small business on social media.

(Source: Entrepreneur.com Blog
If you have a social media site that you take pride in, please share it below in our comments section with the link to the site. 
- Emily

To read the full article, please click here.