How Do You Play the Woman’s Card When the Deck Is Stacked Against You? (By Pam Selker Rak)

cardsDon’t worry. I’m not going to blog about the election; but I will say that some of the things I’ve heard over the past 18 months have made my hair stand on-end. But one, in particular, really caught my ire: “She’s always playing the woman’s card.”

I love to play cards; in fact, we Selkers have a long history of highly competitive and downright hysterical card games. Some have even ended in people storming away from the table (not me, of course). But this so-called “woman’s card” is a game I can’t get behind. Why? Because the “woman’s card” feels more like playing 52-card pick-up. Week in and week out, the deck seems stacked against us and we struggle to keep it together.

Here are three examples why:

  • The woman’s card doesn’t give us discounts on anything but our salaries.
    Study after study shows that women, on average, make 21% less than men for doing the very same job. And if that’s not bad enough, go to the grocery store where you’ll see for yourself that women pay an average of 11% more for products than men (for similar items like shampoo, deodorant and more). But hey, ours are pink and have flowers, so that’s something, I suppose…or maybe the pink ink just costs more for some reason?
  • The woman’s card doesn’t prevent us from having to prove ourselves beyond a (man’s) reasonable doubt at work.
    And I have an example. More than 20 years ago, I was in a meeting with the president of one of my former employers. And I (very professionally) disagreed with him regarding the effectiveness of a particular marketing approach. As it proved out, I was right. But a few hours after the meeting ended, the director of HR came to my office and asked me to apologize to the president for disagreeing with him. “Why?” I asked. I wasn’t rude about it and I laid out the facts as to why I didn’t agree.” “Well, you hurt his pride,” she said. “I hurt his pride?” I asked, astonished. Then, it dawned on me. “Are you telling me that he doesn’t like a woman disagreeing with him?” And she just rolled her eyes, telling me that, yes, that’s exactly what she was telling me. “I’m happy to meet with him,” I said. “But I will not apologize for doing my job.” So I met with him and he opened the discussion by asking, “Why don’t you like me, Pam?” That very day – directly after that meeting – I started looking for another job. The “woman card” didn’t get me very far that day.
  • And finally, the woman’s card doesn’t increase in value as it ages.
    Quite the opposite, actually. I’ve never heard a man point out another man’s cute little wrinkles. I’ve also never seen a man hesitate to watch an old, male sportscaster wearing a toupee, yet insist that any woman in sports had better be in a cheerleader’s outfit enthusiastically shaking her pom-poms on-camera (I challenge you to watch a football game without seeing this shot).

I know what some of you may be thinking. “Now she’s playing the victim card.” Or maybe it’s the pity card? And some of you will even blame women for the deck being stacked against us. “Feminism ruined everything. You can’t have it both ways.”

Well, we don’t want it both ways. We just want it one fair way.

So yes, the woman’s card is many, many things, well beyond the three outlined here. But you know what the woman’s card isn’t? A trump card.

Disclaimer: The facts in this blog belong to everyone; but the opinions are those of the author’s and do not represent the opinions of her employer, even though they are one in the same woman (maybe it’s just her mood swings). If you take offense, calm down. You’re just being sensitive. Or maybe it’s your time of the month. Try smiling, you’ll feel better and you’ll look prettier, too. The author also encourages comments, especially ones like, “Nice Rak!”

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Marketing an EVENT with Social Media

We recently promoted a BIG event for one of our clients, American Healthtech. They were attending one of their biggest industry expos and we had to really get the word out in order to give them the most exposure. Many industry leaders, current customers and potential customers were attending this event and plenty of other competitors were setting up shop at the expo, so we needed to make sure that we got everyone’s attention both before and during the event. Here are just a few of the ways we leveraged social media to help market the event.

Making a Plan

The first step was all about planning. Not only did we plan the kind of messages that we wanted to go out during the conference and expo, we also planned what we wanted to promote before and after the event. Of course we had some messages planned out in advance, but that didn’t mean all the work was done ahead of time. It’s important to be on standby during the event to post last minute changes, post photos and videos as they happen and tscreen-shot-2016-11-02-at-1-59-43-pmo make any changes. When the event is over, you can use the time to connect online with any IRL (in real life) connections that you made at the event. Save those business cards!

Linked In

We started out with a master list of the event’s attendees. This was no simple task, as the list held the names of thousands of individuals. We sorted the list and highlighted current and potential clients, so we focused on those people first. First we used this list to make connections on Linked In. Of course, you can’t follow other people via your company page. But Pam was going to be at the event, interacting with people, and we knew others would recognize her face. So we made sure to connect her as many people and companies on the list as possible. That way, people could recognize her face at the expo because of the Linked In invitation. It also ensured that we wouldn’t miss any company updates from the people and companies we wanted to meet.


We used the same master list to follow other attendees with AHT’s Twitter account. Twitter is a great tool, and we especially love it for event promotion. The conference/expo had it’s own official hashtag, so we set up a tab in Hootsuite that specifically followed that hashtag. That allowed us to see every tweet that used that hashtag. Any time we saw the hashtag being used, we made sure to follow that account (it was usually another attendee) and even interact with that user. Even a simple “See you at the expo!” was a great way to make an introduction and a possible connection. It increased the chances that someone would see our booth at the expo and recognize our name.

We also created our own specific hashtag for AHT that promoted making new connections. This was a fun way to promote our brand, but it also allowed us to monitor any conversations about us on Twitter.


Facebook was definitely the most popular social media tool used by attendees of the conference. Many of the companies attending didn’t have a Twitter or Linked In account (c’mon guys, step up your social media game! Give us a call!) but if they had anything, they had Facebook! We went through our master list and made sure to follow the attendees’ pages with our company page. Now we get Facebook updates from a lot of our current and potential clients.

Facebook is great because you can use so many different tools. One of our favorite tools that we utilized during the expo was Facebook’s live streaming capabilities. We interviewed different people live on the expo floor via video and shared it directly on our Facebook page. It gave our followers the opportunity to see what was going on during the expo in real time. It was also a more personal way to interact with our audience.

We had such a great time promoting this event! It really showed us the powers of social media for making real and meaningful connections. The only thing that disappointed us was that so many of the companies that we wanted to connect with didnt have much of a social media presence! Do you need to rock your next big event? Give us a call today.

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Marketing Matters: Understanding Budget Season

It’s budget season! Okay marketers, how many times have you felt your budget wasn’t getting its fair share of the pie? Watch my blog to see how giving marketing its fair share of the budget pie will enable your organization to gain and maintain the traction it needs to grow, year after year.

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Social Media Trends: Privacy Concerns

new-piktochart_548_f9bddb29572a5745566a34f84636760d3162b64cPrivacy concerns are definitely at the forefront of social media users’ (aka everyone’s!) mind these days. Almost every week we’re hearing about a new data or security breach and it’s scary to think that our most private data–financial info, private data, photographs–could end up in the hands of a criminal. Users are becoming more and more aware of the importance of their privacy and data safety, especially since large-scale hacks and data breaches have been publicized (does the name Ashley Madison ring a bell?). As the world is getting more social online, people are fierce to protect what little privacy they have and what they share.

As more users hop on board with social media, they are demanding that their private information stay private. And answering to users’ privacy concerns can have huge advantages for social media platforms. For example, Snapchat didn’t really explode on the scene until it tightened up its security measures and made users feel more secure on the app.

For marketers, that means that its crucial to stay on top of the constantly changing privacy policies of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Makes sure that you adhere to the rules, or you could face expulsion. Keeping your customers’ privacy should be one of your top concerns. Doing so will help establish and maintain trust.

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Social Media Trends: Publishing Platforms

new-piktochart_548_6b2531c61b41b2d52ad34b2324479a1b2067ce4fAnother social media marketing trend that we’ve been keeping an eye on is the publishing platform. We saw this emerge with Linked In’s Publisher and it has only gained momentum. This tool allows you the option to publically publish articles such as blog posts and company announcements, etc.

This tool can help give your content a lot more visibility. Firstly, it makes your posts searchable via Linked In’s search bar. It’s a great way to establish you as an expert in your field and subject matter, leading to, you guessed it, more connection opportunities. This content has the potential to go viral, with options for liking and sharing.

Facebook’s Instant Articles is a similar tool that has been gaining popularity. Users can publish articles for Facebook users that lets them stay within the app, not forced out to an external source. Social media channels like Facebook want to maximize the amount of time users stay within the app, so they have started offering more and more options for businesses to publish their content within the platform.

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It Takes a Village (By Pam Selker Rak)

I recently spent a couple of days at Annandale Village, shooting a video for a client. And I haven’t been the same since. I find myself thinking about the people I met there, and smiling. A lot.

Annandale Village is a very special place. It serves adults with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries. But those are just labels. And it’s just a mission statement.

Meet Julie, a Villager at Annandale Village working on her rockin' guitar art.

Meet Julie, a Villager at Annandale Village working on her rockin’ guitar art.

The bigger statement is the heart of the people who live there; the “Villagers,” as they’re called. And after just a couple of days interacting with them, I realized that there’s a lot that people don’t know about those with developmental disabilities.

No one tells you how amazing they are. I’ll admit that, when I first walked through the door, I was apprehensive about what I might see and experience. But that didn’t last long. It took just one conversation to fall in love with these people and the place they call home.

And meeting after meeting, interaction after interaction, I found something new to admire about the Villagers. In fact, I began to feel very much at home with them; and in many ways, I felt more comfortable being around them than I do the general population. And I don’t mean that as an insult to the general population.

What I saw in the Villagers was such a sincere honesty that it almost took my breath away. None of them had inhibitions about telling me how they perceived me, and it was lovely. There were no filters. No one was “guarded” or protecting their emotions. There were no “walls” surrounding these folks. Everything was just “out there,” and it was refreshing.

I was so flattered when they said, “You’re pretty,” or asked about where I lived and when I told them, they said that the Pittsburgh Pirates or Steelers were their favorite teams. One man walked right up to me and stroked my arm; and without saying a word, turned around and walked away. It wasn’t offensive in the least; he was simply curious about the material of my shirt and wanted to feel it. And he did.

When we were filming in the art room, a woman started chatting with me, and out of the blue, she said, “People think I’m stupid.” I paused for a moment and said, “You are not stupid. But I think the people who tell you that you’re stupid are the ones who are stupid. You’re beautiful.” She gave me the biggest smile and said, “I know. Thank you.”

Another Villager came up and asked for my cell phone number so she could text me to see if I wanted to photograph her upcoming wedding to another Villager. Of course, I gave her my number but didn’t have the heart to tell her that I wasn’t a photographer!

And then, there was Bill, the man I met in their skilled nursing facility. The caregivers asked Bill if he would like to be in some photos – and boy, did he ever! Once he got started, there was no stopping him. He started coming up with different ideas and brought out different props from his room that we could shoot (with him in the photo, of course!). I completely fell in love with Bill and I haven’t stopped thinking about him since. When I’m working during the day, I’ll often stop and wonder how he’s doing.

I’ve always hated getting my picture taken; but Bill LOVED having his picture taken. And he put his heart and soul into it and had so much fun doing it. He made me realize that I’ve taken more than just a few things for granted.

He also made me realize that, after just two days – not even 48 hours – I developed a bond with these people. I learned that they just want to be heard, listened to and included. They want to be loved.

And so do all the rest of us. But the difference between the Villagers and us is that they don’t hesitate to tell you that. They put their emotions on the table so there are no misunderstandings. I realized that I could learn a lot from them.

They taught me that it’s okay to forgive myself when I’ve had a bad day and to forgive others when they’ve had a bad day. There’s always tomorrow. They also taught me to try to slow down a little, to ponder, to take time to just look around and take in this beautiful world and all of the simple joys we are fortunate to encounter every day.

But I think, most importantly, they taught me not to be so guarded with my emotions and to just tell people what they mean to me. Who cares what their reaction is? That’s really not the point anyway.

So yes, I’ve changed. There wasn’t one pivotal moment when this change occurred. It was many little moments spent over two days. Something just clicked inside of me and I’m grateful for it.

It really does take a Village – and in this case, Villagers.

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Marketing Matters September 2016

What does your facility have in common with MTV? A video revolution! If you’re not currently using video as part of your marketing strategy, you’re behind the times. Our brains process visual content 66,000 times faster than text, so using video will help you convert prospects better than any other medium. Watch my blog to learn why video is essential to healthcare consumers.



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Social Media Trends: Data-Driven Decisions

datadecisionsYes, most of social media is driven by engagement and conversation. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need the data to back up your decisions. Social media can absolutely be measured and the tools to do that are becoming more and more sophisticated every day. Because the bottom line is that you are a business, and you need to see results from all of your marketing efforts.

When you use the right social media tools, you have access to more information about your prospective and current customers than ever before. Everything can be tracked, from the busiest time of day on your Facebook page, to the number of people sharing your content. Harnessing this data can help you fine-tune your social media strategies. You can obtain key information about who is engaging with your brand, which can help you build long-term and fruitful relationships, building customer loyalty for long-run.

The mass-targeting approach to marketing is on its way out, and customers demand a more tailored personalized message. Social media data helps you learn your customers and develop strategies for a more personalized experience.

The most important thing to remember, is that you should use data to help customize your marketing but not dominate it. Creativity and relationship-building should still be a fluid and intuitive process, but the information gained from analytics can help guide you in the right direction.

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Social Media Trends: Real Time Engagement


Of course, the main point of social media is engagement, and marketers have been using it to engage their customers for years. But now, users want that engagement to be faster and faster. 70% of Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to, and 53% of them want that response in less than an hour, according to Search Engine Watch. Unfortunately, 7 out of 8 social messages to companies went unanswered within 72 hours. This isn’t acceptable! If you’re not responding to people via social media, they take that personally, which means losing potential customers and referrals.

In order to catch these questions and comments and respond to them in a timely manner, you need to employ the right listening tools. When it comes to social media, one of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is to talk but not listen. While social media is a great tool to get your messages and content out, it’s also essential that you are listening to what others are saying. There are a variety of different programs available for free and at cost depending on the needs and size of your company. Currently, we like to use Hootsuite, but there are a lot of options out there. These programs alert you when there are comments or mentions on any of your social media accounts, so that you can respond as soon as possible.

Social media moves fast, and if you can’t keep up, you’ll get left behind.

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Video Blog: Omnichannel Marketing

As if we don’t have enough crazy acronyms, words and phrases in the healthcare industry… here’s another one: “omnichannel marketing.” It’s a buzzword, but it’s an important one because it represents a whole new shift in marketing. Watch my blog to learn how you can start implementing this effective approach in your organization. You can also request a free guide on Omnichannel Marketing by emailing

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