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Client Focus: Black Pig Meat Co.

Black Pig Meat Co. is the brainchild of chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart from Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sebastopol, California. These two chefs decided to make bacon the right way by curing their sustainability-raised, heritage pork for up to 21 days and smoking it with applewood for close to 12 hours. The finished product is sweet, salty, smoky and delicious!

black pig meat co company chefs

Looking to taste some of this award winning bacon for yourself? You’re in luck! If you live in or are visiting Sonoma County, you can head to Zazu Kitchen + Farm and enjoy some artfully crafted dishes from Duskie and John and see why their bacon so sizzling.

black pig meat co menu and info

“Delicious, delicate and nuanced with just the right amount of parliament funkadelic to make George Clinton happy. This is a perfect bacon for a smokin carbonara…” – Mario Batali

“The best bacon I’ve had. Great pork flavor…not too sweet or smoky, absolutely delicious.” – Traci des Jardins

black pig meat co bacon company

Want to incorporate Black Pig into some of your own recipes? This amazing bacon can be found in in multiple markets across the North Bay Area, such as Andy’s Produce, Big Johns and Oliver’s Market, just to name a few. If you live outside the area and want to try some for yourself, you can shop their online store.

black pig meat co pigs process bacon

Brussels Sprouts and Black Pig Bacon with Sebastopol Apples

Serves 4

4 ounces Black Pig Bacon (or other quality bacon), cut into lardons
4 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 head frisee, cleaned
1 apple, diced
3 tablespoons Marcona almonds
1 tablespoon quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces shaved Bohemian Creamery Capriago (or a young pecorino)
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, render the bacon until slightly browned, a few minutes. Add Brussels sprouts; cook until browned on at least one side, about 3 minutes. Add shallots; cook 1 minute more.

2. Add vinegar, then toss to combine. Add frisee, apples, almonds and olive oil; toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with cheese.

– Duskie Estes and John Stewart, Zazu Kitchen + Farm


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Social Media Marketing – Pinterest

In today’s tech-heavy world, more and more consumers are choosing to shop online rather than in-store. Options are endless, with new companies launching every day. This onslaught of choices gives them the chance to shop around – not only for the best deal, but also for what suits their individual taste. This makes the visual aspect of shopping all the more important. Currently, the best social media platform for marketing to these visual shoppers is Pinterest.

how to market your business with pinterest

Let’s talk strategy: 

  1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Research shows that approximately 75% of Pinterest users are female, and most are between the ages of 20-50 years old. It is important to keep this in mind when creating boards, choosing what images or videos, and deciding what keywords to use in your text.
  2. MAKE EACH “PIN” COUNT: Pinning is the most important part of Pinterest because that’s how people find you. If you are marketing your business using this social media platform, you want to get the most out of your time and effort. Studies tell us that most users are logged in, and active between 8pm to 11pm, so it would make sense for you to also be active during this time. Now there are two ways you can choose to pin but we recommend using both.
    • The first thing you should do is upload new images of your own products to your boards. Be sure to link these images directly to your website so consumers can click through to your site. Continue doing this whenever new items are added to your site.
    • The second thing you should do is look through Pinterest at what others are posting. You can choose to either follow or repin their items to your boards. Your level of participation will make other users more apt to follow or repin your items, expanding your reach.
  3. USE KEYWORDS: While you are uploading and repining items to your boards, you will also need to add text to attract your desired audience. In order to ensure you are reaching the correct demographic, or showing up in the appropriate searches, you need to know which keywords to use. A great free resource is Google AdWords. By using the Keyword Planner, you can enter different keywords that you’re thinking of using, and see how often those words and phrases are actually searched. This tool also provides you with alternative word choices with search ratings.
  4. PINTEREST ANALYTICS: Once you have set up a Pinterest account and started creating boards and adding pins, you can start viewing your analytics. There is a drop down on your home screen with the option to review your analytics. This is a priceless tool that will allow you to see how successful your marketing is. What it does is it breaks down your daily profile views, your engagement, and how many of the pins viewed are actually linked to your website.

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Social Media Trend – #HASHTAG

hashtag banner new social media trend

Hashtags have grown in popularity over recent years. They went from being strictly used by social media big-dog Twitter, to being used on over a dozen social media platforms. If you’re trying to use these sites to market your corporation or small business, investigating your time in researching this free tool should definitely be on your to-do list.

benefits of using hashtags in social media

The purpose of a #hashtag is to highlight keywords, topics, and phrases in your text. For example, if you are an artist and are tweeting about an upcoming event you are attending, you could say, “Displaying my new pieces at this weekends #Art Trails #Event”. If someone were to search for #art or #event, they could be directed to your tweet. In fact, #art ranks in at 57th in the top 100 hashtags with over 62 million posts. Studies have shown that tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without. However, there can be too much of a good thing. Though posts with 1-2 hashtags gain 21% more engagement, there is actually a 17% drop in engagement if you use three or more.

I’ve mentioned Twitter a lot, but the use of #hashtags has also been adopted by several other big social media players. The list includes Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. If you are using some of these other platforms to market your company, your products or yourself, implementing this tool in your daily posts can be worthwhile.

The best way to ensure you are getting as much as you can out of your tags is by using the right ones. If you use the correct hashtags, you can maximize your post’s reach and in doing so you can create a larger network of followers for your brand. Websites like hashtags.org are a great resource to see what is trending and what tags could be most beneficial to you.
where should hashtags be used

By developing, implementing and managing a social media marketing strategy, your small business will benefit from the many ways in which social media can expand your enterprise. Need help? Ajalon can help you create and maintain your social media for you. Contact us for more information on how.


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Back to the Fundamentals

Communication is a fundamental part of business that is often overlooked. It doesn’t matter how unique, or amazing your product or service is, if you don’t have the skills to properly relay the facts to the public. You’re the voice of your company, and what you say, and how you say it are essential to not just closing a deal with a potential customer, but also in retaining them as a long-term client. Here are some things to always remember when dealing with the public:


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SEO or Paid Advertising?

SEO is a component of your business that you can choose to work on. While SEO is a natural part of your presence online, it is a conscious choice to improve your rankings and successes with search engine optimization with focus from your marketing department and social media skills. However, focusing on SEO may not be the best decision for your business.

Businesses benefit greatly when they focus on SEO. Long term effects are seen and will slowly but surely improve ranking on search engines to boost your company to the top. Sometimes, though, a business needs a quick fix to help improve web traffic. This is an excellent opportunity to shy away from SEO strategies and try other options to bring customers to you.

Paid advertising is a way to find immediate success for your business. By putting money into advertising, you are spending the time reaching out to create initial relationships with soon-to-be faithful customers. You can explore what words, images, and strategies work to bring in consumers to try out your brand. Once you have seen an initial interest in your business, you can then branch out and work to create a long term SEO plan.

There is no way to avoid SEO completely. The effort put into maintaining and growing a relationship with search engines and customers will change your business strategies for the better. But don’t be afraid to take a break and blast the social media sites with paid advertising to make a fast and easy name for yourself while gaining solid footing.

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SEO Success in 2015

As SEO changes, so must the businesses online. SEO is in a constant state of evolution to stray away from marketing ploys and abuse of links and keywords. With Google at the forefront of SEO and analytics, it is up to the businesses to pander to Google’s requirements in order to win a high ranking. Search engine optimization’s keywords are starting to shift as well.

Link building in the past involved creating clickable words that could transport the user to the site mentioned. This was highly misused with businesses using every change they could to create spam links and ad space. Now, Google is looking at brand mentions within social media sites and blogs. Each time a brand is sited somehow, a link automatically is created. Reblogs and mentions will help a brand gain higher ranking. This means businesses need to encourage their followers to mention the brand name more for rewards.

Content marketing requires businesses to focus more on social media mentions from Facebook and Twitter. Google is now openly suggesting that analytics will be scouring the social platforms for business mentions. As more and more ecommerce and link sharing moves to social media, the analytics trends must follow. This also means that websites need to be more mobile friendly. The less usable a site is on a smartphone or tablet, the less likely that link will be clicked at all.

Think smart and focus your marketing toward the places that really need it. Your customers need you to make yourselves available and easy to access.

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Buying on Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a management tool that helps businesses schedule their posts to reach their desired viewers. With different customer groups residing on different social platforms, it is important to reach the right slice of followers at the right time. Hootsuite has revolutionized the ability to maximize a business’s reach. Now, with ecommerce always on the rise, Hootsuite is working to shcedule Buy Buttons.

Both Twitter and Facebook are working on the Buy Now buttons, which will allow impulse buys to reign the social media platforms. A buy button will  be placed alongside any ad or product mention online. Buyer information will be autofilled into the shipping and credit card areas for an easy purchase. With projected success, Hootsuite will allow their users to schedule the Buy Button for different platforms at different times of day.

This will revolutionize the ability for businesses to sell online. Keep up with the trends and look out for the upcoming buttons that will change your business forever!

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How to Keep a Blog Audience Tuned In

Your business blog should be able to keep your audience coming back for more. It is important to give your customers incentive to tune in for another post online. There are many ways to make your topics interesting, but the best way to reach your customers is to answer their questions.

Everybody likes to have their voice heard. There’s something undoubtedly cathartic about finding an answer to something you’ve been wondering about. So why don’t you give your blog audience that satisfaction. The important thing to do is to allow a forum for these questions and comments to be voiced.

Begin by working on your online presence. You have to let your followers know that you are consistent and caring. Open up a topic that you invite your followers to address and let them ask questions. Perhaps post something on a social platform and see what topics and questions arise from your followers. Once you have received responses, base a blog topic around that question. Reference directly back to the source of the question. This will give your business an air of trust and accountability. Your readers will appreciate it.

Create your content based on your followers and they will return. By making yourself a self-proclaimed listener, more customers will come to you to talk and converse. This is a best way to learn and create. Happy writing!

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Strategizing Analytics with Coupons and Specials

If you have stepped in to the analytics game a little late, it may be difficult to understand the information. While it’s easy to monitor the status quo and see what trends keep on trending in your business, it might seem difficult to figure out how to inspire change in your businesses social media efforts. One of the ways to see where your business is experiencing success is to offer unique coupons and specials.

For every new campaign, you can create a link that drives traffic onto a unique landing page. By releasing information about a coupon or special on your social media sites, you can monitor the bump in traffic by watching the numbers grow in your analytics pages. By correlating the numbers you can start to see where people are paying attention and what types of deals appeal the most to your customers.

Analytics is a tricky game, but with a few clever runs with new marketing, specialty offers, and renewed focus on certain social platforms, you can best see how to create changes in your business plan.

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Client Focus: Summerfield Waldorf School

Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm is a unique learning experience for children and parents alike. Nestled in Sonoma County, this is an environment that focuses on the individuality of each student to help them grow into their own strong personality. The school involves the children in the Kindergarten through twelfth grade with creative projects such as carpentry, theater, and music. These accomplishments are shared with the community.

Ajalon Print & Web has created many different products for the Summerfield Waldorf School’s various events. Open houses are wonderful events that the school often holds and winter festivities get their own well-deserved press.

The most recent product Ajalon has created for Summerfield is the 2015 wall calendar. Each page of the month features student-made artwork from each of the many years the school teaches. A variety of mediums have been used and the final products come across nicely in the profession print job for the families and friends of Summerfield Waldorf School. A description of the processes of learning through art are also included in the calendar to show what the children are experiencing through their time at the school.

We are very proud of our work with Summerfield Waldorf. The school is a special place in the community and we are happy to support it. If your business is enjoying these wonderful products and would like to try your own wall calendar or postcards, contact us at Ajalon Print& Web.

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