Archive for December, 2012

Define your train car on the social media locomotive before the 2013 New Year departure

December 27, 2012

Social media as a tool for engagement, both professionally and personally, has left the platform station and the end of the line has yet to be determined. As each station passes, a participant’s journey is filled with an ongoing barrage of messages. With every Like, Retweet, and Repin the participant of social media has to leverage their judgment on the worthiness of posted content. As master curator and publisher for their own social networks, quality not quantity is what will keep the train moving forward during 2013.

Quantity marketing, on the other hand, is so 2012. How many times this past year have you unsubscribed from email distribution lists because you received one too many solicitations? With HTML email requirement procedures, such as the CAN SPAM Act, participants of social media have the option to turn off conversations from marketers. Taking control of marketing solicitation might mean leveraging the un+prefix (unsubscribing, unliking, unfriending, and unfollowing), to weed out brands and friends practicing quantity marketing.

Overloaded consumers of yesteryears inundated with telemarketing messaging simply took the phone off the hook. For the multi-device generation, shutting down engagement devices only happens when mandated on airplanes. Social media marketing is not just an evening telephone call; this is a 24/7 conversation-driving powerhouse.

Feeding the social media powerhouse means that brands of all sizes need to stop talking at participants and instead converse with their followers in the never ending twenty four seven conversation. With the help of integrated marketing communications, brands can break down the silo from being a provider of quantity marketing to a provider of quality marketing that is consistent across all distribution touch points.

Flipboard Logo

For those brands that continue to market without a filter, my takeaway is to simplify those conversations down to just one manageable train car instead of trying to manage the entire train. Just as, you clean your house social cleaning is necessary to purge the quantity and re-engage with the quality. Flipboard, an app for iOS and Android has helped me to consolidate content I deem quality into a social media magazine. I recommend holistically examining what social engagements you deem worthy and define your train car before the 2013 departure otherwise you will be derailed.

#26Acts Movement

December 21, 2012

26 acts

On Friday, December 14, 2012, 26 people lost their lives in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Surely, everyone has heard of this event, but sometimes it is hard to do something to help.

Following the tragic news, Ann Curry of NBC News encouraged her Twitter followers to complete 26 kind acts. Curry’s bright idea and words have inspired countless people to do something small but memorable this holiday season. Stories shared on Twitter include paying for someone’s items at a store or leaving a 100% tip at a restaurant but the most touching tweets describe anonymous donors walking into department stores and choosing to pay off layaway items for families. Some donors report that the layaway clerks cry when they hear of the generosity, as do the struggling families when they learn that the cost associated with Christmas gifts isn’t a worry anymore.

Social media helped the #26Acts movement spread during our nation’s time of mourning.

Have you been following the #26Acts movement? If so, what are your favorite stories?

When Does It Become Too Much?

December 18, 2012

Working, schoolwork and volunteer commitments can often be a juggling act! I always put work commitments first, then schoolwork and whatever time is left can be put toward volunteering. Sometimes I feel guilty taking time out for myself or saying “no” when someone asks me to help with a volunteer commitment.

But this past fall, I got sick more times than I ever had before. Between August and November, I had three ear infections and a sinus infection – I just couldn’t beat the germs. I realized that I wasn’t setting aside time for rest and my energy levels were low.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve made a strong effort to give myself at least one free night with no commitments. This way, I can still be active but also have time for myself. And you know what? It’s working…I’ve been healthy and more relaxed! In turn, I feel like a much more dedicated employee and student, which are important qualities to me.

I admit, on occasion, I still might push myself too much. Last Sunday, I didn’t have a paper due so I talked myself into running errands, attending an exercise class at my local YMCA and completing other tasks when I just needed an afternoon to rest. The next day, I was worn out and asleep by 7PM. Because I pushed myself too hard, I lost a night that could have been productive.

Are you guilty of taking on a lot of commitments, too?

What does the DNA of an online marketer look like?

December 10, 2012

Greetings fellow IMC students and blog readers! My name is Jelise Ballon and I am thrilled to say out loud that I am officially half-way through the IMC program! The first half of this journey has been one part excitement, two parts knowledge, and a healthy dose of endurance. But I have to say I am learning a lot — professionally and personally — and I’m excited to start the second half of this journey and take you along for the ride.

Now, a little bit about me. I live just outside the town of Winchester,VA which is the self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World! We are best-known for our beautiful scenery (located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains), for being the birth place of Patsy Cline, a key location during the Civil War (it is said that control of the town changed 72 times between the Union and Confederacy), and for the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which draws over 200,000 spectators to Winchester the first weekend in May each year.


The Patsy Cline house in Winchester, VA

Apple Capital of the World

Winchester, VA – Apple Capital of the World

Mario Lopez in the Apple Blossom parade

Mario Lopez was the Grand Marshal for the Apple Blossom feature parade earlier this year.

Having grown up in the suburbs of Washington, DC I really love living in the country and I think Winchester is one of the best places to raise a family. Speaking of which, my husband David and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary earlier this year. We have three kids, Hannah – 9, and twins, Daniel and Olivia – 7. I tell my kids often that they are so lucky to live where we do, to which they either stare at me blankly or roll their eyes.


A recent family photo, which was taken at a local dairy farm. I love the access to so much local agriculture in Winchester.

I did my undergraduate studies at Appalachian State University and majored in Communications.  If you’ve read my profile then you already know that the App State mascot is also the Mountaineer, so I like to tell people I can only attend schools where the mascot is a bearded man carrying firearms.


The Appalachian Sate mountaineer mascot, named Yosef.

WVU Mountaineer

The WVU Mountaineer

In my professional life I work for a $5 billion, global IT company as their global online marketing manager. This basically means I manage a network of about 30 websites across six different continents. I really love being part of a global company and getting to work with people all over the world. In fact most of my team resides in South Africa, which means I keep some pretty odd hours. Most days begin with a 6 a.m. conference call, and occasionally they end with a midnight call. But on the positive side I get to work from home, often in my pajamas.

I believe myself to be an online marketer at heart. Although my family has no idea what I do – seriously, just the other week at our Thanksgiving meal I quizzed my family members and asked them to tell me what it is they think I do.  I got everything from “you build websites” (yeah, like 15 years ago) to “ aren’t you the head of marketing?” (umm thanks for the promotion, but no). The only one who got it right was my cousin’s fiancé and she’s not even technically family yet (another of the many reasons why you rock, Jessica)!

But I digress. I really do feel like online marketing is a part of my DNA. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way implying I’m an expert on anything! In fact I’m pretty much humbled on a weekly basis with how much I don’t know and all that I should be doing better/faster/smarter in my job. What I mean when I say online marketing is part of my DNA is that it infiltrates most of my thought process and decision making in every aspect of my life.  I think in Facebook status updates. As soon as my kids say something funny I start mentally doing to the math to see if I can get it down to 160 characters. I scan QR codes at stores and restaurants just so I can evaluate if the destination is mobile-friendly. I email companies back to point out the typos in the eDMs they sent me. And, perhaps most embarrassing of all, after I post a blog update to my tiny old blog with only one follower (thanks mom-in-law), I check the analytics hourly to see how many people have read it.

Online marketer's DNA

The DNA of an online marketer

Perhaps it is my love of online marketing that led me to choose an online grad program. Or maybe it’s being accustomed to working remotely and at odd hours. Possibly it’s the fact that I’m a working mom trying to juggle career, family and school. Between you and me, I’m pretty sure it’s a little bit of all three that has made the IMC program such a good fit for me. I look forward to the second half of this crazy journey and sharing some of it with all of you.