• 8 Steps to a Professional Online Presence

    9/7/2016 2:17:48 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    July 21, 2010    By: Pam Lontos, Martha Ciske   TravelAgentCentral

    Creating a professional online presence is a must for businesses these days. Many business professionals are wondering how they can be online without sacrificing personal privacy or appearing less than business- or Internet-savvy. The following strategies can help you feel more comfortable and make sure you build your online presence in a professional manner that will help get you clients, customers and business.

    1. Use a professional photo of yourself and use it consistently on all of your online profiles.  Using the same photo helps potential clients and the media recognize you. Using cropped or unprofessional photos can really hurt your image. If it was taken on your cell phone, it shouldn't be your profile picture. Also, use a picture of you, and not your logo on the accounts with your name on them. A photo of you makes you more approachable. If you have a company page or account, logos are fine, but make sure they are correctly sized and clear.

    2. Use established social media sites.  These include MerchantCircle, Facebook, Plaxo and LinkedIn. The idea behind using social media is for you to be reachable and visible on the sites where your clients and customers already are. You might personally find an up and coming social media site to be great, but the majority of your potential customers are on the major social media sites and may not want to join you on a lesser known site. Don't forget the Yahoo and Google local business directories, which can help you show up to local searchers. Beware of the business directories that solicit your business wanting you to pay for your listing and promotion on their unknown site.

    3. Sharpen up your resume and experience, and be consistent.  If someone is looking for you on the Internet and gets three or four different versions of what you have been up to these past few years, they are not likely to call you or visit your establishment. Be honest and straightforward about your experience, awards, and purpose.

    4. Tweet professionally.  You may have a personal Twitter or other microblogging service where you keep up with friends and family. That's fine but make sure you keep your personal tweets to yourself. Keep a separate account for your professional updates and share information that is helpful to your readers. Share tips and advice that makes your readers' day better and they will return to you when they need your professional service.

    5. Use privacy controls. You might already have personal accounts on social media sites, but these should not be synonymous with your business persona. Use privacy controls to make sure your personal conversations and activities are not getting in the way of your business. You can "like" a political party candidate or post those pictures that show what a great time you had out on the town last night on your own account, but make sure you limit who can see that information.

    6. Put your best foot forward by having a short summary of who you are and what you offer.  Many professional sites have space for a summary, which allows you to highlight your strengths. This is a great spot to point out how you are unique and how your experience and skills work to your customer's advantage. Be creative and catchy in your self-description, but don't sound like a braggart or unprofessional. This is your career, not a dating ad. 

    7. Consider a video interview or demo. Many sites like VisualCV, MerchantCircle and Facebook have the ability to host short videos.  These can help highlight your abilities to your clients. For a service-based business like yours, include a description of what you do, and how you do it. Showing your comfort working with various clients, and your ability to deliver a message effectively over video is important to many career paths and for clients who want to see who they will be working with.

    8. Remember to offer information you would want to receive as a customer. When building and reviewing your online profiles, remember to think like your potential client or customer. Is your contact information readily accessible? Did you include a link to your website or address of your location? Do you clearly state the purpose and offerings you and your business have to offer? Ease of finding information on your social media profiles is what starts the client's experience working with you and your company.  If your profiles are only half completed or don't offer helpful information, your potential clients and customers will assume the same is true about you and your business.

    Before you start building your online presence, make sure you have the tools to do the above steps at hand. Gather them all in one place so you can reference them quickly. It is also better to have a few well-done social media and online profiles than to have a multitude of incomplete profiles. Search online to see where your competitors have online profiles and view their pages.  That way you can make note of what you do or don't like about their profiles, and what seems to be working for them as they interact with their customers.

    Most importantly, if you need help, find someone to help you.  It may be hard to admit that you need help with all this technology, but biting the bullet and asking for assistance is much better than the potential of ruining your professional online reputation.

    Pam Lontos is the author of I See Your Name Everywhere: Leverage the Power of the Media to Grow your Fame, Wealth and Success. She is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm that has recently placed clients in The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Forbes and USA Today.

    Martha Ciske is the Technology & Social Media Account Executive of PR/PR Public Relations.

    Call for a free consultation at (407) 299-6128, or e-mail pam@prpr.net. Sign up for a free publicity tips e-newsletter at www.prpr.net.

  • Norwegian Epic arrives in Manhattan

    9/7/2016 2:17:48 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    NCL's Norwegian Epic Arrives in Manhattan for Christening

    Published on: July 2, 2010

     Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Epic, the largest ship ever to dock in the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, arrived July 1 for its official inaugural festivities following its maiden transatlantic voyage from Southampton, U.K. The ship, with a height of 200 feet, cleared the Verrazano Bridge by approximately 24 inches at 7:40 a.m. ET.

    The 153,000-gross-ton, 4,100-passenger vessel will be officially christened by country music star Reba McEntire at 2 p.m. ET on July 2. Comedian and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Jeff Garlin will serve as host of the ceremony. The ship, which is docked at Pier 88 at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, will then sail on a two-day preview sailing before returning to the pier the morning of July 4 to host the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

    The Norwegian Epic will offer entertainment including “Blue Man Group” in its first at-sea production; “Cirque Dreams and Dinner,” an interactive theatrical dining experience; “Legends in Concert live tribute show, making its at-sea debut; the Second City improvisational comedy show; the “Howl at the Moon” dueling piano show, which encourages audience participation; and “Nickelodeon at Sea,” offering family entertainment and programming. In addition, Norwegian Epic offers the next generation of Freestyle Dining with more than 20 dining choices and 20 bars and lounges.

    Nightlife includes the first Svedka Ice Bar at sea and Spice H20, with entertainment day and night. Additional amenities feature an Aqua Park, with the only tube slide and largest bowl slide at sea; a 33-foot-high rock climbing wall and the first ever rappelling wall at sea; six bowling lanes; a sports deck offering eight athletic activities; and three separate kids’ and teen activity areas. The ship features several new types of accommodations, including the curved New Wave staterooms; the largest Villas suite complex at sea, with 60 suites and villas on two private decks; and spa and family-friendly accommodations. For more information, call 888-625-2784 or visit http://epic.ncl.com or www.ncl.com.

  • Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas

    9/7/2016 2:17:48 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    I had the opportunity to visit the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas when she visited Boston in September. She is truely a beautiful vessel! Not as large as the Voyager class of ships, the Jewel of the Seas has a more intimate feel. With a guest capacity of 2,112, she has plenty of room for all of the activities you might be looking for on a cruise ship. There's a rock climbing wall, miniature golf, a fabulous spa, a casino, great restaurants, and more. The Jewel of the Seas has some great itineraries, too. Visit the Panama Canal, Canada/ New England, the Caribbean & other marvelous places. For more information, email susan@hmstravelconsulting.com.

  • ACE Aruba Certified Expert Convention

    9/7/2016 2:17:48 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Aug.30, 2009

    The 2009 ACE Aruba Certified Expert Convention was held Jun.25-29. This was my 4th trip to Aruba and my 3rd ACE convention. I had the pleasure of being hosted by the Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino. I had a wonderful room on the Executive floor. One of the nice things about the Executive floor is the private lounge that serves continental breakfast, afternoon tea and an early evening happy hour. Although my schedule did not allow for time to enjoy this except one or twice, I did have the opportunity to experience it. I would highly recommend this extra level of attention.

    We had a very full schedule which began as soon as we arrived (3 hours late thanks to American Airlines and lost luggage, too). We had a site inspection of the Westin Aruba and a lovely coktail rception. Then we were off to the Tattoo, for a fun evening. The Tatto is an Aruba party boat, and let me tell you, they know how to party! We were entertained by a cast of dancers & entertainers, including "Michael Jackson".  We had a lovely dinner as we sailed around the island. The dinner was catered by A Taste of Belgium.

    Friday morning began at 7:30am with a breakfast seminar at the Aruba Marriott. This year's theme was Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. Every venue presented their wedding finery. We had a tour of the resort followed by a presentation on Wedding in Aruba. Our next visit was the Renaissance Aruba Resort in downtown Oranjestad. This is a great location for vacationers who want to be near everything. Shopping is prolific. There is a pentitude of restaurants. I was really impressed with the Ocean Suites section across the road. They have a lovely pool with a small beach and wonderful suite accommodations. Although the main building is adult only, this section caters to families. I would recommend it for couples too, because all of the rooms have king beds in addition to the sleep sofa for the kids.

    After lunch at the convetion center, we were off on an island jeep tour. Now let me tell you, this is not for the faint of heart! Over hill & dale, we traversed the back side of the island. It was a bumpy ride. A rider should be in good health with no back, neck or head problems.

    Dinner was at the new Divi Aruba Phoenix. This is primarily a time-share resort with lovely accommodations. They have a very nice beach and had it all set up for an Aruba beach wedding. We also go to meet the "friends" from the "90,000 Friends you haven't met" promotion.

    Saturday began at the Hyatt Regency Aruba for breakfast & a tradeshow. I met several of the islands tour operators, hotel managers, wedding planners and restauranteurs. Then a site inspection of my host hotel, the Radission Aruba. After lunch, we had a nice snorkeling trip hosted by Red Sail Sports. The evening activities were just across from my hotel at the "Village" a lively nightlife area.

    Sunday we broke into smaller groups to visit an assortment of hotels before lunch and met at the Holiday Inn for lunch. After lunch, we went in our small groups again to see more hotels. The evening event was a real wedding at the Occidental grand Resort. WOW! If you've never seen or ever considered a beach wedding in the Cariibean, let me tell you, it's incredible. Sitting there with my toes in the sand at sunset, waiting for the bride & groom was breath-taking. The reception on the beach that followed was incredible.

    Monday was my only "free" day. My flight left at 3:00pm, so I had a couple of hours to actually enjy the lovely beach at the Radisson Aruba. I got my toes into the zero entry pool, too. Then, off to the airport and back to Connecticut. This time, American Airlines managed to stay on schedule and didn't lose my luggage !

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