The Sky’s the Limit…

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Every client has a story to tell, a goal to reach. We believe every public relations story and marketing goal should be approached with a “sky’s the limit” style.

That positive inspiration carries over to the Hendricks Communications’ blog, below. Offering inspiring tips, news and reflections on writing, marketing, social media and much more, join us in the conversations below!

Small Businesses Struggle with Technology

ID-100127146Even with the marketing muscle of social media campaigns such as “Buy Local” and “Small Business Saturday,” a recent survey found that America’s small businesses are severely struggling to keep up with technology trends. The Score Association, a nonprofit organization based in Herndon, VA that partners with the U.S. Small Business Administration, released a number of eye-opening statistics in early January:

  • Only 51% of small businesses have websites, despite the fact that 97% of consumers regularly search for products and services online

Analyzing the 51% of small business who currently have websites:

  • 82% are not utilizing social media
  • 93% of the websites are not compatible with mobile devices
  • 27% did not include a phone number on their website
  • 68% did not include an email address within their contact information

Researchers at Score found that many small business owners are dismissing their web and social media presence because they feel as though they don’t have time to develop these resources, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, the same study finds compelling reasons for small businesses to devote the time and energy into improving their virtual presence:

  • 91% of consumers have visited a store based upon a positive online experience
  • 96% of consumers surveyed research products or services on their mobile device
  • 73% of mobile searches trigger calls, store visits and sales

Small business owners always account for at least half of the attendance at my social media workshops. It is so rewarding to provide them with the tools they need to succeed on-line! I’m excited to announce several upcoming classes at Gettysburg’s Adams County Arts Council, along with a new location—the PA Guild of Craftsmen, Center for American Craft, Lancaster. Here are the class descriptions, locations, dates and links for more information… hope to see you there! The Art of Social Media

  • Wednesdays, January 21 – February 11, 6:30-8:30pm (a 4-class series)
  • Adams County Arts Council, Gettysburg PA
  • Communication today is multi-faceted. Whether you’re communicating for business or pleasure, in this class you’ll learn to navigate social media channels, select the “best fits” for you, and enjoy connecting with friends, colleagues, and/or customers. Includes how to set up a website or blog with WordPress, plus Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, and Snapfish for photo storage.

The Art of Social Media will also be offered as a weekend workshop:

And for those of you who like to plan ahead… Facebook 101 (10am-12pm) & Twitter 101 (1-3pm):

  • Saturday, August 22
  • Center for American Craft, Lancaster PA
  • Brush up on your skills by taking one class or both!
  • Small businesses account for one of the fastest-growing segments of social media due to its free availability and effectiveness.
  • Facebook 101 is a 2-hour workshop. Learn how to best utilize a media staple—Facebook—to showcase your arts/crafts or small business. The session will provide practical tips and helpful how-to’s, geared towards developing and maintaining a Facebook business page—often thought of as a mini-website. Time for personal Q&As is included during the class.
  • Twitter 101 is the focus of the afternoon session, designed to help you develop a comfort level and strategies for tweeting like a pro! This session allows time for your personal Q&As.

Oh Christmas Tree

Adams County Christmas Tree Farms Offer Homegrown Holiday Traditions

NovDec2014Searching, finding, and cutting the perfect Christmas tree–it’s a holiday tradition that flourishes on Adams County Christmas tree farms. “A lot of families come year after year, going on 30 years, bringing their children and then grandchildren,” says Michael Breighner, owner of The Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm. “They have the Christmas spirit, enjoying the view, smiles on their faces–those are the kinds of things that make the Christmas tree experience worthwhile.”

Click here to continue reading “Oh Christmas Tree,” my cover story in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Extras: Get to “The Roots of the Christmas Tree Tradition” and learn about “Christmas Tree Tips,” online content published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

The infinite, subtle variations between Christmas tree varieties is astounding. Enjoy the photos below that demonstrate why many evergreens are considered “blue” or “silver” needled. All of the photos were taken at Gettysburg (Breighner) Tree Farm in September 2014. It was challenging, waiting for a slightly overcast day, so that the lighting would appear natural for the Nov/Dec issue!

"Swiss Silver" Strain of the Concolor Fir

“Swiss Silver” Strain of the Concolor Fir

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

Long, Lush White Pine Needles

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Bluish-Green Tint of Canaan Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

The Silvery Underside of the Normandy Fir

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Michael Breighner talks about the relatively quick growth of a Scotch Pine

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

Scarring caused by deer, seen in the interior of a tree

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

The Serbian Spruce is characterized by patches of silvery and dark green needles

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Dark blue-green Canaan Fir

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Side-by-Side: Comparing the Swiss Silver Strain of the Concolor Fir (left) to the standard Concolor Fir (right)

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm's 33 acres

Christmas tree varieties are mixed throughout Gettysburg Tree Farm’s 33 acres

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas with family and friends close by your very own Christmas tree!

Branching Out

Autumn conjures up colorful images of crimson and golden leaves… as well as crimson and golden apples fresh from the orchards. Apples have been at the core of Adams County’s economy for decades. However, many local orchardists, wineries, and entrepreneurs are leading a new movement–a revival is the beverage industry–and utilizing Adams County’s cash crop to bring back a beverage that’s as American as apple pie itself.

Celebrate Gettysburg magazine sept-oct 2014Click here to read my latest article for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, Branching Out: Adams County Apples Give New Taste to All-American Apple Cider. I’m honored to say it’s the cover story in the September/October issue, featuring gorgeous photography by the talented Casey Martin.

“People are falling in love with our wineries & we hope they’ll fall in love with our cider makers as well,” says Carl Whitehill, director of communications for Destination Gettysburg. For another angle on the story, click here for The Apple of Tourism’s Eye, my article on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.

Freelance assignments have kept me busy all spring and summer! Here are a few additional highlights:

Caught in the Crossfire: Preserving the Stories of Civilians in the Civil War, cover story in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, July/August 2014

Licensed Town Historians are working to keep the stories of downtown Gettysburg and her 1863 residents, alive, from their York Street location - as profiled in Caught in the Crossfire

Licensed Town Historians are working to keep the stories of downtown Gettysburg, and her 1863 residents, alive, from their York Street location – as profiled in Caught in the Crossfire

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Gardening for Community Good: Adams County’s thriving community gardens, Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014

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A profile of photographer Ted Scarpino, Evolving from Photography to iPhoneography, for Handmade in PA, Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen:

Photography, at its very core, is a merging of art and science. And you could say that photographer Ted Scarpino was truly born into both fields, since his mother was an art teacher and his father taught science. The family’s home even included a dark room in the basement… Click here to read the full article.

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Aging in Place

“Aging in Place in Adams County,” Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014:

“There’s no place like home” is a beloved line from the classic film The Wizard of Oz, but it’s also a sentiment echoed by more and more seniors who wish to spend their golden years living in their own homes as long as their health and finances allow… Click here to read more.

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Instagram Images: Social Media Eye Candy

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

The Philadelphia Zoo is wild about Instagram!

By Karen Hendricks

This column examines the latest social media trends, while highlighting Gettysburg and Adams County businesses.This article was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2014.

One of the fastest-growing forms of social media, Instagram features smartphone-based photography combined with a variety of fun apps that add vintage appeal. About 5 million mobile photographers are signing up weekly, and Instagrammers recently surpassed the 50 million mark. It’s a remarkable success story, as Instagram went from a zero-revenue startup to a $1 billion company that Facebook purchased in April 2012.

Instagram’s visual appeal ties in perfectly with one of the biggest topics in social media circles: the growing prevalence of images and the decreasing amount of text, on both the Internet and social media channels.

Whether you join Instagram purely for fun—sharing photos with family/friends—or whether you approach it from a business perspective, Instagram offers a unique blend of smartphone technology combined with a nostalgic twist. The app lets you select from a variety of 20 filters, many of which give your photos a retro feel. For example, there’s the “1977” filter with a Polaroid-type appearance.

Basically, your “feed” consists of photos from people you follow, similar to other social media streams. The big difference is that Instagram is 100 percent eye candy—photographs with very little text except for short captions, which are optional. Like Twitter, hashtags help identify photos within a theme.

Small businesses, associations and nonprofits are hopping on the Instagram train every day and adding it into their marketing campaigns. What a beautiful way to showcase a brand—snapping exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos or highlighting products or events in order to reach new audiences. Some of the most visual and creative Instagram images are posted by USA Today, Starbucks, National Geographic and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Three Adams County businesses currently using Instagram to their advantage by showing local scenery and events include:

If you enjoy Gettysburg area scenery and events, these are three accounts to watch!

Destination Gettysburg's Instagram Profile

Destination Gettysburg’s Instagram Profile

And to read more about the upward trend of visuals, see our previous article, The Visual Vocabulary of Social Media.

 

 

With Teens in Mind

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Karen Hendricks

Welcome to “Gettysburg Social!” This column examines the latest social media trends and was first published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, March/April 2014. 

Ninety-five percent of American teens have access to the Internet and 78 percent own a cell phone—two reasons that social media use continues to soar among teenagers. According to the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of online teens use social media. What can adults do to help teens stay safe and maintain a healthy perspective?

Arm yourself with the e-facts

  • Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the top three social media sites used by teens. All three require users to be at least 13 years old.
  • Sixty percent of teens use privacy settings on Facebook, meaning only friends can see their posts and photos. That means 40 percent grant public access to their photos and information.
  • Ninety-two percent use their real names on the profiles they use most often; 91 percent post photos of themselves.

Set e-rules

Social media can be accessed on cell phones, computers, iPods and other devices. Set usage limits and make sure teens maintain a balance of “real life,” studying, sports/activities, family time and socializing with friends vs. “screen time.” This may not win you a “mother-of-the-year” award!

Be e-savvy

Talk to teens about boundaries, privacy and safety. Topics for discussion include location-enabled services, privacy settings, appropriate language and examples of cyberbullying.

Limit e-photos

Photo-sharing can be a wonderful aspect of social media, especially for teens’ friends or family in faraway places. But talk about the permanence of viral photos and stay on top of a trend that spirals out of control for many teens: posting “selfies.”

Look at the big e-picture

Social media use can impact future college and job applications. Help teens understand that their actions, online or otherwise, have consequences that reach beyond their teenage years.

Show e-love

One last statistic: 72 percent of parents say they do not get involved in their teens’ social media use because they are “overwhelmed by technology,” and they just hope for the best.

To see previous Gettysburg Social columns, click here.

Karen Hendricks, the mother of three teens, owns Hendricks Communications, a Gettysburg-based firm specializing in PR, marketing and related services such as social media. She also teaches social media classes regularly at the Adams County Arts Council.

The “Visual Vocabulary” of Social Media

Social Media Week NYC - Buzzing with Energy

Social Media Week NYC – Buzzing with Energy

By Karen Hendricks

One of the prominent themes woven into last week’s Social Media Week NYC was the increasingly growing use of photos on all forms of social media. Images now comprise 40% of the internet and 70% of all social media channels. Wow.

A few more statistics:

  • In our lightning-fast-paced society, people process images 60,000 times faster than text.
  • During a recent survey, two out of three people said images are more powerful than text.
  • Six in ten people report they are taking more photos than ever before, thanks in great part to cell phone cameras.

What does all this mean, for those of us involved in Marketing and Social Media?

Images are compelling: Our eyes can certainly “read” images faster than text; our eyes are drawn to images. Photos can trigger emotional responses. A picture is worth a thousand words. Social media strategists even know which colors our eye prefer–a recent study of Instagram photos revealed that blue-tinged images receive 24% more “likes” than red-hued images.

Feedback from social media images is valuable: Major companies, including retailer Nordstrom, are adapting their marketing campaigns based upon direct feedback from images on social media including the number of “likes” or “pins” garnered by photos of new fashions. Nike is even designing custom shoes based upon fans’ Instagram photos.

Images need to be put into context: What are we losing as we shift (from text to visuals)? Answer: Context. Images, although powerful and emotional, can be taken out of context. When we post images, it’s up to us to provide an accompanying message.

It doesn’t mean we don’t read anymore. Yes, images are the driving force of social media. On Facebook, more people engage with photos than text posted alone. The entire concept of Pinterest is based upon the pinning of images. But “combining text and visuals is much more effective,” according to Will Palley, Trends Strategist for Marketing Communications giant JWT. The length of text shared via social media depends on the time of day. During the workday, brief is better. But on weeknights or weekends, when people are relaxed and have a bit more time, successful communications can include more details.

We still love a great story. Storytelling is still a “very deeply basic human interaction,” shared Ji Lee, Creative Director for Facebook. It’s just that more and more of our stories shared via social media begin with a compelling image. And that’s changing the dynamics of news-gathering organizations everywhere. “One of the biggest challenges to journalists today is adapting storytelling techniques to a visual standpoint,” explained Jim Roberts of Mashable. Journalists need to tell stories that grow out of a great visual.

Ownership is an issue. The idea of intellectual property changes per generation. While people of all ages seem to know that text is copyrighted and owned by the writer, there is a learning curve with images. Many people think they can just “grab” them from the internet or social media. Millennials, or Generation Y, perhaps due to their freeness in sharing photos on Instagram, especially do not recognize that photographs do indeed belong to the photographer and should not be used without permission. (All photos in this post were indeed snapped by the author!)

Panel Discussion - "Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift Towards Visual Vocabulary" - #SMWJWT

Panel Discussion – “Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift Towards Visual Vocabulary” – #SMWJWT

Credit for these social media insights and tips are thanks to two workshops primarily:

  • Social Media Week NYC’s Reading is No Longer Fundamental: The Shift Towards Visual Vocabulary
  • Social Media Week NYC’s The Changing Face of News Consumption Hosted by the WSJ

Social Media Week, February 17-21, featured more than 800 events in eight cities, drawing more than 25,000 attendees total.

Social Media Week NYC took place at Highline Stages, 15th Street.

Given the topic, I have to include one more visual! – Social Media Week NYC took place at Highline Stages, 15th Street.

Adams County Icons: From Battlefield to Barns

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York Springs Landmark: The Trostle Barn, currently undergoing rennovations

By Karen Hendricks

I won’t ever look at a barn the same way again. These days, while I’m driving through central PA and beyond, I can spot and ID the traditional Pennsylvania Barn–all thanks to Curt Musselman, Historic Gettysburg-Adams County (HGAC) board member and Barn Preservation Project chair. Curt “schooled me” on the subjects of barn preservation, types of barns, and the importance of documenting these historic structures dotting our rolling agricultural landscape. He’s the driving force behind the HGAC’s Adams County Barn Registry. It was all part of a freelance assignment for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

Barn expert Curt Musselman

Barn expert Curt Musselman

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HGAC is selling 2014 calendars featuring Battlefield Barns as a fundraiser–Call 717-334-5185 for more information.

Click here to read the full article, These Old Barns: Preserving Adams County’s Agricultural Icons. And what a thrill… the story was selected as Celebrate Gettysburg magazine’s cover story in the current January/February issue.

Celebrate Gettysburg mag cover Jan-Feb 2014

Cover Photography by Bill Dowling; Barn owner John Trostle is pictured.

I also interviewed Jayne Shord, owner of perhaps the most meticulously-preserved barn in all of Adams County. It was a treat, to tour her beautiful property, Beech Springs Farm, located in Orrtanna, PA. I first met Jayne several years ago when she hosted a dinner including then-Governor Edward G. Rendell and the awarding of the Pennsylvania Culinary Art Award. Since then, the property has grown even more beautiful under Jayne’s expert guidance–including her talent for gardening and her oversight of Beech Spring Farm’s barn preservation project. Below is a collection of photos I snapped while interviewing her back in October. (Click on any photo to open a gallery.)

Also in October 2013, Gettysburg’s tourism community was in the grips of a government shutdown. What could have been a crippling event for a community dependent upon the flow of visitors across the hallowed battlefield, turned out to be an experience that bonded businesses together and produced creativity, resilience and perseverance.

Click here to read Gettysburg Tourism Community Rallies Amid Government Shutdown, featuring stunning photography by Casey Martin.

More to the Stories…

Click here for more Shutdown Stats & Quotes

And click here to learn about the 5 types of barns found in Adams County, the benefits of barn preservation, and a few more stories behind the people interviewed in the article.

Links:

Celebrate Gettysburg magazine / Beech Springs Farm /

Historic Gettysburg Adams County / Shriver House Museum

Hickory Hollow Farm Horse Tours / Gettysburg Tour Center