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Stephan Hovnanian
Works at Shovi Websites - Email, Content, Web Marketing
Attends Email Content & Web Strategy
Lives in Boston, MA
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Stephan Hovnanian

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A simple way to make it easier for brand champions to share content

In an age where we'll take any edge we can get to put more eyeballs on our content, enlisting the help of brand and employee advocates seems to be a powerful, trust-building channel.

Until it isn't, because marketers and corporates in suits decide to control the message being shared a little too much. Participation and enthusiasm wanes, leaving the advocate's network wondering if that company they were so proud of isn't one they should be proud of anymore.

Now, for those of you veterans on Google+, this concept is not new, although it's been definitely spun in a different direction in my latest blog post about brand voice, and how the right one makes sure your advocates continue to attract the most trusted eyeballs possible on your content.
Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales's profile photoChristine DeGraff's profile photoStephan Hovnanian's profile photo
+Alexandra Riecke-Gonzales thanks!! I think I need to make a pull quote graphic out of that
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NEW: Alternatives to group emails and Bcc:'s
My latest article for Bambu by Sprout Social.

Get rid of the team@ email address in favor of this smarter approach to internal comms. And cut out 21 different types of emails in the process!

Internal emails are often lost or forgotten in employees' inboxes, which is why you need a broadcasting tool to manage and curate your company's content.
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Just published: 8 ways to show your appreciation for your brand champions.

Swag, coupons, and other material things are only part of it. As a relationship grows you'll need to look for opportunities to keep it fresh and mutually beneficial.

Something for businesses of all sizes in here. Hope you get some ideas!
It's critical to locate and communicate with your customer advocates so you can continue to grow relationships down the line.
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All of this makes perfect sense. The question then becomes, as with any discussions that include Microsoft and LinkedIn, how well will they execute?

Honestly, I'm hopeful. As a B2B marketer the deal makes a ton of sense.
5 ways Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn could impact email users and email marketers.
Microsoft’s announced $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn could affect email users and email marketers in these five ways.
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I posted the same conclusion. Stock market agreed with a 48% surge in stock value of LinkedIn yesterday. 
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In a twist of fate, I was reminded of this series of discussions by Facebook Memories. Of course, everything said, minus any specific technical instructions, is still true today as it was 3 years ago. Enjoy.
Posting, Sharing and the Character of YOU on Google Plus
Yesterday I posted a "teaser" image to a blog post I wrote for businesses to understand the various ways to post and share content on Google+. What transpired was in-depth discussion that traversed three amazing threads about character, writing and style that I hope you take the time to enjoy. I've paraphrased below, although I hardly do the 120+ comments justice. If you care at all about the type of person you want to portray here on Google+, these are worth a few minutes of your time.

To Share or Not to Share -
(original post by +Stephan Hovnanian
We talk about rewarding extra effort, developing a style that characterizes who you are on Google+, and how to still have casual, lighthearted discussions despite the perception that so much of Google+ is still business- and marketing-focused.

How Do You Show You 'Get it'? -
(thread started by +David Amerland about the post above)
Anything David writes typically raises my IQ 10 points, he's so masterful with the way he communicates, and this discussion was no different. Summarized, Others can see whether we care or not about the content we share and the picture we project, they can see whether we are invested or not and then they respond accordingly. Our behavior is an integral part of the platform dynamic, what makes it different, unique, special even.

If a post falls in a forest does it make a sound? It depends. Did anybody share it before it fell? -
(share by +Michael Bennett  of David's thread above)
Signal to noise was the common theme in this discussion, covering how we, as writers to an audience, have the ability to shape the role we play here on Google+ and within our blogs. 

And a special thank-you to +Nikolaos Bogioglou  for being awake, halfway across the world in Greece, when I shared this at 2am my time. Had he not shared it, David would not have picked it up, and Michael would not have reshared. That is the power of Google Plus.

Oh, and the post that started it all? The one in the link below? Yeah, it's probably worth a read too :) 
Some Google Plus users spread the word differently than others. A look at 3 ways to share, and which to use when.
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I remember these posts! And if I recall correctly, I may have even posted something with a play on the title of +Michael Bennett's post as part of a continuing conversation.
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How to use the UTMftw Chrome Extension

If you downloaded the UTMftw Chrome Extension last week, then you will definitely want to watch this second video with +David Kutcher on how to use the extension effectively to track your links.

Amazing how much information David and I can cram into 15 minutes!

Want more videos like this? Subscribe to RCUW
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I like
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Services to help run employee advocacy programs

I'm a big proponent of content marketing with a sales enablement focus (or value nurturing, if you're looking at it from the other side of the funnel).

But here's the rub: you can't create content like this until you've done the work, and walked in the shoes of your customer. Or at bare minimum, be able to empathize with their experience as it relates to your services.

Only then can you put stuff like the sales sheets below in front of them to move the proverbial needle.

(Side note: I'm so proud of how these turned out, we have an amazing design team at +Sprout Social​ and they totally captured my vision for these!)
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Normally I don't share other people's posts to this collection but +Vincent Messina​ brings up a good point about contextualizing things like feedback and strategy that's worth preserving.

The world needs purists. They are by definition pure. ;)

However, they can also be myopic failing to see the forest for the trees or the big picture. To them, every problem is a nail that needs a hammer.

The hammer is great. No one doubts that. Particularly those who need a nail driven. The hammer becomes problematic when in the short term, a simple tac will do.

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Pro tip: to prevent feedback from turning into judgment, get specific.

We've all had situations when we've asked colleagues for feedback on something, only to get some harsh criticisms in return that may even feel unwarranted.

Protect yourself against this by being specific in your request. It's the principal behind sites like

You can't ask for input without an expected outcome that the feedback will hone. In other words, instead of something like "could you give me feedback on my website?" you ask, "does my navigation menu seem too overwhelming?"

Thanks for listening.
Optimize the clarity of your designs by measuring people’s first impressions..
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This! I'm a believer, +Stephan Hovnanian ... Great way to avoid resentment and prevent information bloat.
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How to find brand advocates within your email list, plus what to do once you've found them.

My first blog post for Bambu by +Sprout Social​! 
Through an well-devised email scoring list, you can easily find your brand advocates who matter most to you.
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Tactical tips for financial institutions to build trust on social media using your employees

This guide provides insights on how to curate and position content for your employees to share on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, in a way that navigates the challenges of a compliance-heavy industry. 
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Good read
Jargon hides discomfort (but sometimes also lack of knowledge)

We tend to fall back on corporate buzzwords when we feel a need to demonstrate we're in control.

For me, I view "recontextualize" as the worst jargon of the last 20 years. That word alone signaled the imminent demise of the Dotcom era.
You can't "drill down" and "synergize" your way out of every work-related bind.
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Web strategy, email marketing, conversion optimization
Email marketing, web strategy, content marketing, conversion optimization
  • Shovi Websites - Email, Content, Web Marketing
    Owner, 2000 - present
    Google+ Marketing & Business, 2013 - 2014
    Better, Smarter Web Presence Blog, 2012 - 2015
    Author, Google+ Pro Tips series, 2014 - 2015
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Boston, MA
Bedford, MA - Moorestown, NJ
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Digital Marketing Strategist
About me:
I own Shovi Websites, a web and email marketing company located outside Boston. The company has been in business since 2000, and works best with companies whose products and services have a lot to offer, but who can't seem to connect with their customers and gain market share.

Overcoming these challenges is easy, philosophically: take what's going on inside the company (sales, support, product, process) and put it out there online in a way that shows your ideal customer that you want them to succeed using your products and services. Executing on those strategies, though, becomes a balancing act in brand voice, outstanding writing, using social properly, conversion optimization, and SEO. All of which will make your head spin if you don't hire a company who does this everyday and understands the nuances and changes of online marketing, and how to continue to stay relevant.

Want to learn more about what I can do for you? Send me an email to and we'll set up a free 15-20 minute chat.

Google Plus Strategy 
If you need the expertise of not only an experienced, active Google Plus user, but also someone who understands marketing, web strategy, and how all this works together with your company's Google+ presence, consider hiring me to build you a focused, customized Google+ Strategy.

I am also the author of the Google+ Pro Tips series of ebooks, available on Kindle. You should check these out if you want to ramp up your Google+ return on investment.

Need something free? 
Also be sure to watch Google+ Business Spotlight, my weekly Hangout on Air show (Wednesdays, 12:30pm ET) that talks about how real businesses are using Google+. 
  • Steady Demand's Brand Page Audit (checks connections between your G+ page and your website for free, an absolute must for any new business page)
  • Steady Demand Pro (tracks performance of your profile, business page, and up to 3 competitors or prospects, use code BRANDMANAGER for 20% off for life)
  • Circloscope (bulk circle management Chrome extension)
  • NOD3X (social listening and network analysis)
  • CircleCount (free personal Google+ monitoring)


You'll want to put me in circles that relate to
  • Google Plus tips & techniques
  • online, email and/or social marketing
  • business and entrepreneurship
  • website design & development (including mobile)

What I will share here on Google Plus:

  • Google Plus strategies, tips and techniques
  • Good email marketing content from people who know what they're talking about.
  • Microbusiness challenges when it comes to making the most of their web presence.
  • News about me or my company.
  • The occasional personal quip or observation.

One more running list of posts I refer to frequently:

Bragging rights
I'm the favorite son, right Mom?
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  • Email Content & Web Strategy
  • Shovi Websites
    Entrepreneurship, 2000 - present
  • Rutgers-Camden
    MBA (Finance & Marketing), 2000 - 2002
  • American University
    BS International Business, 1995 - 1998
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Don't call me Stephen, Don't call me Steve, They are different people altogether, and I don't have the time for people who are too lazy to sound out my name., Besides it's written on the damn screen for you!
Stephan Hovnanian's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Marketing Chat With Stephan Hovnanian | Rare University marketing chat series host marketing experts every week to discuss everything marketing. This week's guest is Stephan Hovnanian from

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One of our favorite places to go for tapas and quality Spanish food. Baby lamb chops in apricot glaze, and paella Valenciano never disappoint. Their fries are pretty amazing too #justsayin
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
I've had few things more delicious than their cheddar and chive biscuits. Totally worth the guilt. 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt it was a tiny bit pricey, but ambiance, service, and our food was very good.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
My go-to place for business lunches and special family dinners... Because... Desserts :)
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Pulling up, I didn't know what to expect. Inside, I was greeted by Ken, the owner, and his extensive knowledge of wine from around the world, as well as a collection of over 800 corkscrews. Fantastic experience and an excellent store for that special bottle
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
14 reviews
My wife and I had a pair of chicken tacos and carnitas tacos, both were amazing and, despite being next to hotel we were staying at, we kind of wished we'd found this place sooner.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
My wife and I had a delightful time here. The inn was immaculate, the staff friendly, and the surrounding area a great place for a weekend getaway.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Mark and his team did a great job on a recent campaign I participated in, fulfilling my order quickly and professionally. He knows this business and is on the top of my list to call for my next project.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago