Steps to Starting a Business for Palomar Performing Arts Students

I’m giving a talk to the Palomar College Performing Arts Students on Tuesday, March 10th.  In that talk I will reference several links to help students start a business as a sole proprietor.  If you’re here, that means you are interested – and I’m excited for you.  Here are the links discussed.  And good luck with the business!

Steps to Starting a Business
These are the links that were discussed in the YouTube lecture (Chapters 5 and 6) on Starting a Business.
1.  Learn about and search fictitious business names (make sure yours is available!)
2.  Fill out a fictitious business name (FBN) form  and file it with the County of San Diego Recorder’s Office.  The closest county recorder’s office is in San Marcos – here is a list of all locations.
3.  Obtain a business license. (City of San Marcos)
4.  Obtain a seller’s permit and resale certificate if you will be selling taxable items.
5.  Open a business bank account (you can use any bank that does business banking – U.S. bank (and SDCCU) have good services!)

Social Media Certificate of Achievement is NEW at Palomar College!

Wondering how to score the PERFECT social media job?  Then invest in just 18 units of FUN classes at Palomar College to prepare yourself.  The NEW Social Media Certificate of Achievement offers courses in Advertising, Social Media, Web design and Online Journalism to prepare you for today’s in-demand careers.  Get the skills you need to work in social media today by registering for these courses today.  And, if you’re wondering which one to start with, consider BUS 150 Advertising — it provides a fantastic overview of all Advertising in both a traditional and digital environment.

Top 3 Social Media Etiquette Posts from BUS 152 Students

The latest assignment for #BUS 152 – Social Media for Business was to curate and share information on Twitter related to social media etiquette. I like crowdsourcing and curating this information each semester as social media etiquette is in constant flux.  Certainly, some rules remain the same (such as “Be Nice”), but new ones are constantly being added as new social networks come online and social media becomes more of our every day communications (such as Attribution:  giving credit to the author of the original source from where you curated).

With that in mind, I’m going to list the Top 3 Etiquette Tips from students this semester that we’ll use during lecture, paying special attention to attribution – giving credit back to the source from which these came.  Here we go:

1)  You are what you share:  What you publish on social media is a representation of you, your business, and your brand.   Proceed with caution and ensure you’re representing your brand in its best light ( Thank you @madisonherber1 for finding and sharing this post.

2)  Always keep your target audience in mind:  Remember that you’re only one click away from being unfriended or unfollowed.  Think about your target persona and always be creating for him or her (not you!) ( Thank you @tia2timesmickle for finding and sharing this post.

3)  The 80/20 rule:  Entertain first, sell second.  Social media is about relationships and connecting with people and brands that are interesting and engaging.  No one wants to be sold to, but most people enjoy being entertained. That’s why 80% of your content should entertain and 20% should promote or sell. ( Thank you @alohamarsh for finding and sharing this post.

Facebook vs. Twitter

As I was reviewing my social media class and preparing for the blogging lecture, a few things occurred to me.  The first is that I need to blog more. The second is that I need to ensure my students are being directed to up-to-date content in the social media class.  So this blog post solves both of those problems.

I noted that on the subject of Facebook vs. Twitter – how they differ, I’m sending students to a 5 -year old link on the topic on someone else’s blog.  Tisk Tisk.  As we’ve discussed in class, your OWN content is best at building your social media influence!  So here I’ll share a graphic that I will show in class:

0_FBvstwitterThe primary differences between Facebook and Twitter  are noted here.  Two that we’ll discuss in class include the lifespan of the posts (they are shorter on Twitter) and the lack of an EdgeRank-type algorithm on Twitter (your timeline is a true timeline).

Top 10 Ideas for #lastclass in BUS 152 – Social Media for Business

Social  media students - Aging Gracefully PhotojournalismMy first semester of teaching BUS 152 – Social Media for Business is quickly wrapping up.  We have only two class meetings left, and I have lots of thoughts on the good and bad of that (which I will share in subsequent blog posts).

Today, I’m going to share the fun and inspiring ways BUS 152 students have suggested we spend our #lastclass together.  And, of course, in great content and social media style, this comes in the form of a Top 10 list.  Here it goes:

Top 10 Ideas for our #lastclass in BUS 152 – Social Media for Business

#1   Pizza Party
#2   Potluck (including foods from different countries to represent the ethnic diversity in the classroom)
#3  Network with each other and share our products and services in a trade fair
#4   Make videos where we discuss what we learned and what our plans are for the next 6 months. Include messages for success for next semester’s class
#5  Brainstorm what the future of social media will look like in 2, 5, 10  years

Social media students - SendOutCardsGuess what?  We’re going to do ALL of those above!  The pizza is on me and the potluck is on you.  Bring your cameras for selfies/video and your big ideas for the future and let’s have a party.  Below are ideas # 6 through 10, which are fun, but will have to wait for another time.

 Have groups break off to into ThinkTanks to discuss how to save the world with social media as a weapon.
#7  Cocktail hour
#8  Ice bucket challenge
#9 Game night
#10 View more grumpy cats and Old Spice men

Thanks for a great list of ideas!  I do (and don’t!) look forward to our #lastclass.

Social media students - SendOutCardsP.s. Interested in this class?  Check out the details for BUS 152 – Social Media for Business here!


9/11 is approaching. Does your brand join the conversation or not?

911The anniversary of 9/11 is coming up on Thursday. It’s a sad memory and a time of thoughtful reflection for most. And at the risk of sounding too much like a marketer or social media strategist (which I admit, I am), I want to remind students about an age-old communications tactic. If you want to be part of the conversation, talk about what’s on everyone’s minds right now.

With that said, this coming week you will probably see lots of social media postings and commercials about the 9/11 anniversary. You’ll see postings from your liked/followed companies and brands offering their 9/11 tribute. You’ll see special ads created just to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary (here are a few examples). Note that the first two commercials were well received. The third one – not so much.

But here’s the question. Should your brand or product reference 9/11 in its marketing? Will your followers see you as a thoughtful partner or a shameless marketer? There’s no clear answer to this. A lot has to do with your product or brand and your followers.

For example, is there ANY relationship between your brand and 9/11? The first example from the link above was from State Farm Insurance. They sell insurance. Their ad makes sense. What’s more – the ad was really well done and didn’t leave me feeling “icky” after. Compare that with the Marriott hotel, which offered complimentary coffee and free mini muffins on the anniversary of 9/11. Free mini muffins? Really? That not only seems trite – it also feels icky. (On a side note, some of the 9/11 hijackers stayed in a Marriott hotel the night before the attack).

As savvy marketers and social media strategists that I know you are all becoming, this is a topic I want you to think about and comment on. What makes sense for your brand? Does commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 have ANY place in your marketing or social media? I look forward to your comments. Until then, thank you to all my students and their families who are firefighters, police men/women or are on active/reserve duty in the military. I respect and appreciate your service.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

As a social media enthusiast, I’ve been intrigued by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sweeping Facebook.  Why has it been so successful?  And what can we learn about using Social Media to drive engagement  for our own products, brands, or causes?  Whether the creators of this challenge knew it or not – I see TWO key tactics they incorporated that resulted in the large number of people taking part and ultimately, driving donations (the business goal) to

1.  The first tactic is to create content that will elicit emotion.  ALS is no laughing matter, but who doesn’t want to see their friends looking silly for a moment  — all with good intentions of helping a worthy cause?  Watching these videos takes you on a mini roller coaster of emotions — you may first laugh at your friends, and then think about a loved one who may have suffered from the disease, and finally become fearful that your name might be tagged to be the next one to take the challenge!  Emotional involvement is key in social media.

2.  The second tactic is that the content was easily created so it could be duplicated and shared over and over (virality!) by anyone.  Who doesn’t have a bucket, ice water, and a friend or family member with a smart phone?  My favorite part  was watching different people’s take on how to do the challenge.  I’ve seen friends in backyards, pools, tubs, and spas — all putting their personal spin on the challenge — and thus making them that more emotionally involved.

As social media pervades marketing more and more, analyzing the campaigns that work well (and don’t work well) will become a critical skill.

I look forward to seeing students in my BUS 152 – Social Media for Business class so we can talk more about this and perhaps, create our OWN fabulous content that goes viral.

Infographic and Content for BUS 125 Class

I was teaching Content Marketing in my BUS 155 Marketing class today at Palomar College in San Marcos, and it reminded me that I could be a better content creator myself.  Then, during office hours, a BUS 125 Business English student visited so we could edit her paper together.  During our conversation, she said, “You should have a Top 10 BUSINESS ENGLISH grammar mistakes list – or something like that“.  Ding, ding, ding!  My Content Marketing spider senses tingled and I thought, “Why yes, I should!”.  What a great piece of Content Marketing that will be.  I know my BUS 125 Business English students will find it useful. I could share it through my social channels. Perhaps others will share it and it will add a little more cache to my personal brand.  Cha Ching!  Content is king.

socialmediabookNew for Fall 2014, the Business Administration Department at Palomar College is offering a new course, BUS 152 – Social Media for Business.  This course will explore social media use from a business perspective. Students will learn how to develop a social media strategy to promote a business, build strong customer relationships, and coordinate a common message across multiple channels. Strategic and tactical review of the major social networking platforms will be reviewed in order to drive business goals and create a personal brand online. Join your instructor Mary Cassoni for this hybrid course on Thursday afternoons from 4:30 to 6:30 pm – one day a week live and the remainder online.

5 Tips to Prepare for the First Day of School

Starting the school year off right is a great way to ensure success.  Here are 5 preparation tips to help start off Monday, August 19th on the right foot:

1)  Log into Blackboard to see if your instructor has set up a section for your course.  Many online (and in-class) course sections have a Blackboard site that the instructor will turn on the weekend before school begins.  By logging in early, you can preview the course syllabus and get a good sense of what the course (and instructor) is all about.

2)  Clean out your backpack/book bag.  A tidy book bag with pens, pencils, your calculator, notebooks, and other essentials not only looks good, but also helps you feel fresh and ready to go.  Clean out last semesters old papers and other stuff and fill your book bag NOW with everything you’ll need for that first day/week.  Don’t forget a water bottle and snacks!

3)  Get a good nights sleep.  Tonight is a school night.  Respect your body and your brain by making sure you get 6-8 hours of sleep tonight.  No one (including your instructors!) wants you to feel groggy on that first day.

4)  East a good breakfast.  See advice above.  You want to feel energized on your fist day.  The first day/week of school can be crazy with new classes, instructors, students, and parking!  Don’t start off hungry.

5)  Get to school early.  See comment above regarding students and parking.  Just about EVERY registered Palomar student (~30,o00) will be on campus on Monday, August 19th.  Parking can be limited.  Reduce the stress of searching for a spot by arriving early and being in class on time.

Enjoy the first day!  Happy Fall 2013.