Staff Spotlight on Margaret Sanchez

In just a handful of months, Margaret Sanchez has made a profound impact on the energy of Sokos Social.  Her effervescent personality is brightest when working directly with our clients to generate ideas and implement solutions.  She is a talented writer who is full of ideas – a true asset not only to our team, but to anyone within her orbit.

Title:

Client Success Specialist

Tell us a bit about your background.

I was born and raised here in Bradenton. I am the oldest of 4 girls and love my crazy family. After high school, I went to Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and loved every minute. After I graduated, I spent a year living in Madrid teaching English and traveling.

Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I always knew I wanted to work with people and I like to think about everyone’s perceptions. I wasn’t sure what that would look like until I took intro to PR…I immediately fell in love with this industry. It just makes me happy.

Tell us about your approach to customer service.

I approach customer service with patience first then I try to see everything from the client’s perspective.

Is there something that excites you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

Going a trip (or really any big event)! I’ve stayed up almost all night before big trips for no reason other than I was so excited.

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

When you’re really hungry and the waiter turns around the corner carrying your food.

What’s your pizza order?

I’ve never met one I didn’t like. It just depends on my mood. I usually go for the house specialty anytime I try a new place. But I love pineapple on pizza and veggie pizza too.

What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?

He would probably say I should put away all my laundry sitting on the chair in my room, I talk on the phone a lot, and he loves me sneaking him my food.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Network Makes the Dream Work

It’s true what they say: it’s all about who you know. If you are a professional, chances are you have been invited to, or have attended a networking event. Although to some it may not seem like networking events can impact your business, the connections you may encounter can possibly add huge value to your organization. There are a number of benefits associated with networking, like learning valuable tips from experts in your industry and especially making your brand more visible in the community.

While some individuals thrive in social situations, we know that introducing yourself to others can be a little more difficult for the introverts in the room. We have some helpful networking tips if you are new to the professional world, or would just like to brush up on your social skills for events in the community.

Move Around the Room – If you are more on the shy side, introducing yourself or starting a conversation out of the blue can fill you with dread. However, typically at networking events, there are smaller conversations happening. Mingle around the room, and stop to linger for a conversation that may sound interesting or beneficial to you. If there is already someone you know in that conversation, even better. A shared connection gives you the opportunity to be introduced to a new group of people and ideas.

Quality over Quantity – Some individuals define a successful networking event by walking home with a bundle of business cards. While that may feel satisfying at the time, it may not be the best approach. Our magic number is 3. Focus on establishing 3 solid connections at your event, and really get to know these people, instead of checking them off on an imaginary  list. Scout out the type of people and organizations that you would like to connect with and why they could be beneficial to you and your organization. This makes the connection more strategic and valuable to you and your business.

Market Yourself – For some, it can be difficult to praise yourself and your successes to the world. Remind yourself that you have just as much to offer at this networking event as everyone else there… that’s why you were on the guest list! People coming together sharing ideas from different experiences is what makes networking valuable to us all. Realize what you bring to the table that adds value for others.

Nonverbal Communication – While it is very important to choose your words wisely when pitching a new idea to someone, sometimes it’s what you don’t say that speaks volumes. While having a conversation with someone, always make eye contact with that person. Having your focus on them makes the person feel more validated, and will be more likely to open up to you and share information. Body language is also the key to appearing  more confident and, in return, increasing others’ confidence in you. Be aware of fidgeting or moving around while speaking. A strong stance with your arms comfortably at your sides (not crossed!), and your feet firmly planted on the ground gives the impression of confidence and dependability.

Follow-up – After attending the event, it’s important to conduct follow-up emails to your new connections. Our founder, Eleni Sokos, suggests creating an email template for following up with new connections. Of course, this template should include friendly greetings, and mention common connections or opportunities for collaboration. Go one step further by customizing each follow-up email with a couple key tidbits that demonstrate your appreciation for the time you spent engaging with that person. Try to remember things like their spouse’s name or an upcoming vacation to establish a personal relationship. Always include a subtle call to action whether offering to buy them a coffee, or encouraging the person to join your company’s email list, or invite them to send you a Facebook friend request. These last steps in the process of making your networking goals become actions will help deliver results from your outreach efforts.

We hope that these tips to network will make the whole experience less intimidating to our more introverted friends. After all, networking is supposed to be fun and beneficial . When we come together to share ideas and innovate, we create a better community.

Our talented team of Marketing Rock Stars regularly attend networking events representing our clients in the community. If you would like to become one of our clients, email hello@sokossocial and let’s get networking!

Our Clients Feel Like Family

It’s safe to say that the work that our team does day-in and day-out would not reach such a high level of quality if we lacked passion for what we do. Sokos Social specializes in meeting the marketing needs of clients in three main sectors: financial, hospitality and nonprofit organizations. Our team loves bringing vibrant, upbeat energy to the workplace every day. But what really motivates us is watching our clients grow their businesses thanks to their work ethic and passion for their mission.

Many of our clients are entrepreneurs who have cultivated their dream into reality. Some clients are nonprofits whose work is close to our hearts. Nonprofit organizations create a vision of how the world should be, and then get to work implementing it! Experiencing first hand their commitment to such important causes inspires us every day to become better, both in and out of the office.

When our businesses and organizations select Sokos Social as their partner in brand development and marketing we understand the tremendous amount of trust they place in us: their dream, livelihood, and vision for their business. These responsibilities motivate us to establish the best working relationship possible. Our values of working closely with clients are fundamental to a successful working relationship. And as Sokos Social grows and expands as a business, we know that individual human relationships have the most impact on delivering results and exceeding expectations. These personal relationships also lead to our own increased business development – the statistic our CEO, Eleni Sokos, takes most pride in is that 97% of our clients were referred by a friend or colleague.

Each staff member at Sokos Social can identify with a client. From the moment of client on-boarding, to recapping the end of a successful campaign, our team works one-on-one with our clients to ensure their goals are met, allowing us to develop a personal relationship with our beloved clients.

For example, our Client Success Specialist Kendall Lewis loves working with Anna Maria Oyster Bar. Kendall is new to Florida and enjoys the Gulf Coast, old Florida, fun-loving feel that the Anna Maria Oyster Bar brand exemplifies…margaritas included! When she works on Anna Maria Oyster Bar projects, she is invested in the work because she genuinely enjoys the brand. Working with this client helps her feel closer to the community as a new resident. We are thankful for the relationship that each of us have with Anna Maria Oyster Bar. We truly feel like an extension of their staff and more importantly, part of the Anna Maria Oyster Bar Family. Whether it’s joining them on a trip to the annual Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Marketing + Operations Summit or having fun at one of their many events throughout the year.

“It makes coming to work easy knowing that we are making a difference,” remarks Marketing Coordinator, Dylan Howell, about working with our nonprofit organizations. Dylan actually found Sokos Social after volunteering for the Women’s Resource Center. Her passion for helping women who need it the most translates into a true desire to support the missions of for our nonprofit clients like The Women’s Resource Center, HOPE Family Services, Foundation For Dreams, and more.

Our very own Chief Executive Socializer, Eleni Sokos has lived in Manatee County her entire life. She is a foodie who has a passion for travel and creating immersive experiences, whether in person or online. Growing up in a family of restaurateurs and other small business owners, she sees her family’s hustle, resourcefulness, and community spirit in each of our clients.

There are a million reasons to love your job, but at Sokos Social we find new reasons every day. Watching the growth of our business comes from the amazing clients who inspire us every day.

Female Leadership Survey

Attracting and retaining talent to the Bradenton-Sarasota area is a top priority of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, an organization which Sokos Social supports as an Investor-Partner.  Eleni is the Events Committee Co-Chair and a Board Member of this organization which builds brands through creative storytelling in the digital age.

Caitlyn Haley, community relations coordinator at Firkins Nissan, Manatee Young Professionals Leadership Committee member, MBA student at USF, and friend of Sokos Social, created the following survey as a research project for her MBA. There is especially a dearth of females in leadership roles, and in particular, leadership roles that are accessible and available to women.  We wanted to share Eleni’s submissions to the survey as insight into the talent attraction and retention crisis that our region is currently facing. Caitlyn graciously shared all of the survey responses with us, and we’ll share some insightful responses anonymously below.

Q: Are you involved in any non-profit boards, volunteer groups, community advocacy, or business networking groups? (List up to five)

ES:

  • Manatee Chamber of Commerce’s Manatee Young Professionals, Leadership Committee, Networking Chair
  • Leadership Manatee Alumni Association
  • South Florida Museum, Marketing Committee
  • Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, Events Committee Co-Chair and Board of Directors
  • Manatee Seminole Club, Board of Directors

Q: What made you originally decide to live and work in this area?

ES: After college, I wasn’t entirely sure which field to pursue despite having a number of interests, but I fell into a great opportunity and built a career out of it, including eventually growing my freelance enterprise into a company that employs 6 people, grew 125% in 2018, and is on track to continue that growth by a slightly more manageable 60% in 2019.

ANON:  Weather, people & water!

Q: What positive things has this area brought to your business?

ES: The local business network, especially in the Manatee-Sarasota area, is incredibly strong and supportive.  Our marketing & sales efforts have relied nearly 100% on referral/word of mouth, which is the most valuable marketing tool.

ANON: Where do I begin…this area has provided so much! A sense of community, collaboration, a thriving population of young professionals. An active chamber of commerce which has made such a difference in my business. The networking opportunities and volunteer opportunities in our area are wonderful allowing me to give back, help, educate and improve my business.

Q: List one challenge that your business has gone through from being located in this area

ES: The talent pool of college graduates looking for a job in their senior year/upon graduation is extremely small.  And companies like ours have a tough time competing against larger players with better compensation packages, despite more hands-on learning experience and better work culture.

Q: What would you currently say is your biggest achievement from working within this company or the local community?

ANON: Working with the community has helped me achieve building relationships with people who are different from me.

ES: Our clients’ successes are our greatest achievements.  We had four clients win major local AND national awards in 2018, and each attributed some portion of their success to our marketing plans.

There are so many reasons to love the Tampa Bay area and Manatee County. Sokos Social, as well as our fearless leader Eleni Sokos, is committed to contributing to the growth of Manatee County. We love our home and are blessed to be a part of amazing networking circles, nonprofit and charity resource development, and our clients’ success.

Team Sokos Employee Spotlight: Ashley Graham

Building a strong, talented and hard-working team is the absolute foundation of any successful organization. Employees who are knowledgeable with a passion for their career is the most important asset to Sokos Social. We very much value the human experience with our clients that in turn ensures the creative process is seamless. Sokos Social love to pair our talented employees with our clients’ passion for their work.

One such example is our Production Manager, Ashley Graham.  Affectionately known as “the glue” that keeps everything together, Ashley is a graduate of University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. She began working as an intern for Sokos Social, and since then, has been promoted twice, most recently to a newly-created role as Production Manager.

Even in her previous roles as Client Success Specialist and Production Assistant, Ashley eagerly supports her coworkers the same way she supports our clients. She thrives in opportunities where she can develop eye-catching visuals and create a voice for local businesses and nonprofits.  Coworkers describe her work ethic as dedicated and resourceful, giving our clients top-of-the-line work.

Ashley is a Florida native who resides with her husband, Ken, in Bradenton, FL. At home, Ashley is a craft queen who enjoys learning new things and any opportunity to get creative.

What’s a Marketing Plan and Why Do You Need One?

Every organization has objectives and goals that they would like to meet. Setting a Marketing Plan makes it easier to track and execute goals for your organization. Sokos Social works with our clients to develop and implement an Annual Marketing Plan. Our team focuses on reaching your goals through digital channels, and together we map out action steps and objectives on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis through your digital platforms as well as print media, public relations, community outreach, and other types of traditional media. These objectives help meet your sales or fundraising needs through creative content to promote events, communicate new products & services, and execute strategic campaigns for your business or organization.

Sokos Social tracks the return of investment on your advertising dollars to make sure your marketing investments will directly benefit you and your organization. Paying for marketing services without a Marketing Plan is not only ineffective marketing… but wasteful to your business and resources with no way to track progress.

Our Marketing Plans involve creating a narrative each month that ties into driving sales and goals to our clients. These narratives come to life through content marketing, via blog posts, email newsletters, website content, and social media. It can be a call to action, a seasonal holiday campaign, or other strategic promotion for specific time-sensitive content.

For example, during the holiday season Sokos Social creates campaigns for our nonprofit clients surrounding the season of giving to encourage supporters to donate. Each of our clients has different objectives and goals to meet, but Sokos Social rises to each unique occasion thanks to our custom-tailored Marketing Plans.

Using a defined timeline of action steps within an Annual Marketing Plan, communication between the departments of your organization will run more smoothly as well. Sokos Social works as an extension of your in-house team to support achievement of your goals – bringing dreams to reality. With information strategically defined at a birds-eye-view level for the entire year, it’s easier for those team members outside of the Marketing & Advertising departments to embrace long-term vision for your brand and its marketing and communications.

Our clients and their teams are some of the most determined and talented individuals that we have ever met. However, even the most successful and talented organizations need an expert in the marketing field to make their goals and objectives come to life. The team of experts at Sokos Social look over your business operations & marketing with a set of new eyes to add a fresh perspective to your organization. Let our marketing rock stars invent creative and strategic Annual Marketing Plans for your organization.

Email hello@sokossocial.com to see what your advertising budget can really do for you.

Free Brand Identity Consultations

What’s in a Brand?  At Sokos Social, we believe that your company’s Brand lies at the intersection point of Marketing and Operations.  Sokos Social puts it simply – your Brand is the “soul” of your company. It’s what makes you unique as an organization.  It’s how your company makes its customers, staff, and stakeholders feel.  

Your Brand Identity, on the other hand, can be defined as how your audience perceives you.  Consider it the “face” of your company. Without a comprehensive, well-defined brand identity, your audience might not understand who you are as an organization, the products and services you offer, and, most importantly – why to choose YOUR brand from a sea of options.

Sokos Social can guide you through the process of exploring your existing Brand Identity, or we can help you create a NEW Brand Identity from an idea or vision.

Many of our clients are well established and have been operating for decades in the community. In Marketing, part of your market position includes staying relevant with your Brand and how people perceive it. For example, a tagline or logo that was cutting-edge 15 years ago may come off as dull in 2018. If the same message and brand for a business doesn’t change, the community is more likely to ignore that message that is communicated through marketing & advertising.  

Our passionate Sokos Social team takes creative marketing concepts with a keen eye for style to rebrand our clients’ image. During the rebranding process we work together to establish who our clients are as a brand and what you want to convey to the audience. We start this process by spending time listening to your leadership, staff, and customers to define not only a mission, vision and value proposition but “soft” characteristics, like tone and descriptors.

Sokos Social first gives our client a brand exploration survey to define the personality or overall feel of the brand. After the exploration of the brand is created we work with our clients to create a fresh take on their brand with a clear message.

The brand exploration process is more than selecting new graphics, fonts and an overall aesthetic of the brand although it is a large part of it.  Sokos Social dives deeply into the brand by creating an artistic overhaul including a Brand Style Guide and detailed Brand Exploration documents to set a Brand Standards. Verbiage and key words used by the brand are defined to create a consistent brand voice and personality. Through Sokos Social our clients can stay consistent with a brand image across all mediums. We provide brand assets including business cards, marketing materials, social media graphics, letterheads and more for our clients.

As technology and trends evolve so quickly here in 2018, Sokos Social prides itself on always being on the cusp of what is trending.

Are you ready to develop your brand and update your image?  We’re happy to offer free Brand Identity consultations (30 minute call, $65 value).  

Fill out our Free Brand Identity Consultation Form and let’s get to work!

 

“Marketing Rock Stars: Live!” Workshops

Sokos Social prides itself on bringing a fresh, vibrant energy married with tech savvy marketing know-how to our clients. Now for the first time, Sokos Social is bringing new learning opportunities to the community for FREE.

Sokos Social is introducing “Marketing Rock Stars: Live!” – an  interactive workshop series covering a variety of topics pertaining to marketing, networking, and the joys & challenges of growing a small business. Our team of marketing professionals will host workshops based on their areas of expertise by topic every other month from 4:30-6:00 pm at the Lakewood Ranch Cowork Building.

The very first Sokos Social Workshop, Social Media for Business 101 will be held Tuesday, October 23rd from 4:30-6:00 pm at Cowork Lakewood Ranch, 8130 Lakewood Ranch Main Street #103. Whether you’re a social media guru or novice, this workshop can benefit any small business owner, blogger or freelance consultant. This workshop will tackle frequently asked questions hosted by Chief Socializer, Eleni Sokos. 

By working together, Sokos Social helps build other professionals and small businesses with the same eagerness to build and even stronger network of local business in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota and Bradenton. Whether you’re a driven entrepreneur or just trying to increase your social net, this workshop series is not one to miss. 

RSVP Below!

Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About!

Sokos Social’s mission is to creatively support small businesses and organizations that think big. In Sokos Social’s infancy, Eleni Sokos started her professional career early with freelance marketing and dreamed big. Today that same idea of dreaming without limits translates to Sokos Social’s areas of expertise: client relations, agency-wide standards of marketing excellence and pride in delivering effective marketing assets that tell our clients’ brand stories in compelling, unique ways, online and in person.

Today, Sokos Social is made up of President and CEO, Eleni Sokos and her team of five marketing experts. Founded in 2014, Sokos Social specializes in integrated web solutions, graphic design, content marketing, public relations and creative marketing concepts with a keen eye for style.

Sokos Social specializes in bringing a fresh and vibrant perspective to your company’s brand, paired with technical marketing know-how to reach your your business’ goals. Sokos Social offers services including brand development and strategy, web & graphic design, print & digital media, and content marketing to clients in the Manatee-Sarasota area.

Graphic design, advertising, web design, community outreach, content marketing, creative campaigns… these can be intimidating subjects for many businesses and nonprofits. We aim to make these tools accessible to leaders who don’t have marketing degrees but need to know how to reach the right people at the right time.  And as technology and trends evolve so quickly here in 2018, Sokos Social prides itself on always being on the cusp of what is trending.

Even more importantly, Sokos Social strives to anticipates our clients’ needs and ensures that each client has the appropriate amount of support to succeed and reach their goals. Working with our clients closely as a marketing agency gives Sokos Social a major advantage with superior client relations and industry/operational understanding – many of our clients think of our team as an extension of their own.    

Depending on your needs, there are several Agency Client content marketing packages available to your business or nonprofit. As Sokos Social is a boutique marketing agency, we limit the number of Agency Client subscribers to ensure each receives the best support possible.  We also believe in an interview process for client onboarding to ensure that our relationship will be the right fit for all parties. Through the end of 2018 we will be taking on three new Agency Clients and are currently inviting those interested to meet at our office in Lakewood Ranch over a cup of coffee to discuss objectives.

Together let’s give ‘em something to talk about… email hello@sokossocial.com so we can get to work.

 

 

The Science of Happiness

How do scientists and psychologists quantify – and qualify – happiness?

Happify, a company helping people live healthier, happier lives through science-based activities and games, has created a fascinating infographic on the science behind happiness. 

How can you increase your personal happiness?  What impact could a small increase in happiness have on your health, career, or relationships… on your life?