Category Archives: social networks

Best Superbowl Ads of 2014 – Crowdsourced

Here is another reason why I love social media. A ranked list of crowdsourced Superbowl ads from Nick Kellet! It will be fun to watch the commercials and to see the ratings come in from viewers all around the world. And now I won’t have to worry if I miss any – I can watch them any time! #superbowl #commercials #2014

Social Media and Public Relations Update

pr social media agencyI realized it has been a few months since I last posted on my personal blog and here we are in June. Where is the time going?

The kids are out for summer vacation and my oldest is going into fifth grade and my youngest is going into first grade.

As for me, I have been writing about social media and public relations for Creative Concepts, a Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media Consultancy. If you are interested in learning the latest and greatest, I recommend reading their agency blog and following their social media news feeds.

I will be sure to update my blog more often in the future and until the next post, happy summer!

Girl Scouts Go Social, Celebrate First National Girl Scout Cookie Day

national_gs_cookiedayThe Girl Scouts are celebrating their first National Girl Scout Cookie Day today. As a marketer, I am glad to see that they are embracing social media as part of their strategy.

Highlights include a #onemorebox contest with winners announced the day of, and live coverage of the day’s events. @GirlScouts will even be tweeting the location of The National Girl Scout Cookie Day Truck as it makes its way through New York City, staffed with Girl Scouts selling cookies.

The girl scouts also have a new app that helps you locate thin mints pronto. After you download the app on Android or iPhone, put in the ZIP Code and it will ask if you are looking for sales going on today, the weekend or the next seven days. You can also sign up to receive an alert when there is a sale in your area!

We can even accept credit card payments at our cookie sale booth. Did you know you can donate cookies to the troops?

The cookies have a new package design and as a food allergy mom, ingredients are listed and “may contain” statements are included so kids with food allergies will know if the cookie is safe to eat (the may contain statement is not mandatory and that is where cross contamination occurs.)

My family was in the girl scouts – my mom was a leader, my sister was a Junior and I was a Brownie. My daughter is in her third year of girl scouts and is a Junior. She has learned leadership skills from cookie sales and project work. She has gained compassion through community service. She has gone outside of her comfort zone at camp and in a canoe and emerged a stronger, more confident girl.

I have already seen changes in my daughter. She has cleaned up our street on her own as a result of one community service clean up project and started a side business selling bracelets. The sky is the limit in her eyes and it is exciting to see her grow into an active, responsible citizen and future entrepreneur.

I am thankful for organizations such as Girl Scouts that give our children the life skills they need to succeed that they might not get otherwise, in the classroom or elsewhere.

February 8 is National Girl Scout Cookie Day!

Join in on the fun and festivities on National Girl Scout Cookie Day, when we’ll celebrate the world’s largest girl-led business and make it easy for you to buy or order cookies from your local Girl Scout Cookie Professional. Here’s how you can stay in touch throughout the day:

UnPitching: How Not to Suck at Pitching the Media – Vocus Webinar with Scott Stratten.

Yesterday’s Vocus webinar was titled “UnPitching: How Not to Suck at Pitching the Media” by Scott Stratten from UnMarketing. Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. He is an author, blogger and was named a top influencer by Forbes.

Stratten quickly got to the point about public relations and marketing and what it’s all about. People react, people respond, people reach out. It’s about relationships. It always has been and always will be.

Stratten is an industry influencer with his blog Un-Marketing. As a result, he has been added to media lists and has witnessed firsthand what it’s like on the other side. He has received nightmare pitches of email blasts to a large BCC list, generic emails in ALL CAPS (unless you are giving birth, don’t use all caps in an email subject line!) among others.

The danger with media lists (and I fully agree) is that some people send an email blast without further qualifying the list and getting to know the journalists and if they indeed are a good fit for your client or company.

A few years ago, it was all about getting the media’s attention and now it is about reaching media as well as influencers.

He discussed a case study about a product launch of a new single cup coffee machine. An agency pitched the client that they wanted help the client gain more share of conversation. They were currently mentioned 0.04% in Canada when people talked about coffee. The agency proposed that they would increase the numbers by reaching bloggers and influencers and canceling the TV budget. (Stratten warns that in order to pitch executives about social media, you need to match the metric with the mind.)

The client eventually agreed and the agency ran a social campaign. They contacted 100 influencers and wrote individual letters. They got to know these people, offered to send a free coffee machine and then followed up two weeks later with a “What did you think?” No pressure to write about it or anything. Stratten was one of the recipients. He loved the machine. Then the agency had him pick 10 friends on Twitter and then sent those people a coffee machine. That is how buzz starts. (“I got to be Oprah!”) Eventually the campaign resulted in 12.6% mentions in Canada when people talked about coffee.

He went on to tell a few more stories about companies doing awesome things, and ones doing not so awesome things, including an unhappy customer at a pizza place that posted an image on Twitter that went viral.

Some other sound bites from the webinar:

  • Your brand can’t have a great person on Twitter and a sucky customer representative – you have to linear!
  • Pitching should be like a first date: get to know someone before you ask them out.
  • Social hasn’t diminished PR; it’s just shifted it. PR is no longer a megaphone. It’s a telephone & it’s on speaker. It’s about engagement.
  • Start the relationship before you need the relationship. (true in PR and also in personal networking)
  • Face-to-face isn’t dead. It’s more important than ever.
  • Don’t just pitch me. Be sincere. Get to know someone first.
  • There are two types of people you don’t want to upset. Geeks and Moms. If you anger a geek mom, good luck.
  • Outrage does not take the weekend off!! If you’re gonna play in Social Media, it’s 24/7
  • what you tweet is a billboard. you are always an employee – what you tweet can/will impact your employer.
  • You are not PR, you are the PR expert. Everyone in your company who represents your brand is PR.
  • Internally, PR pros should be social media training everyone, not just media training your CFO.
  • You have to match the metric with the mind! It’s not about Likes or Tweets. It’s about the conversation and sentiment.
  • You can’t stop the “geekalanche” – don’t censor your customers.
  • If you are in PR, spam is not okay. Do your homework. Make sure the people you pitch have expertise that aligns with your pitch.
  • Unless you are giving birth, don’t use all caps in an email subject line!
  • If you put your employer in your Twitter bio, every tweet represents your business.
  • Companies aren’t awesome, people are.
  • When you write to a company in anger, sometimes all you want is to be acknowledged.
  • Don’t put influencers on the spot on Twitter for help. If you wouldn’t do it in a crowded room, don’t do it on Twitter.
  • We are a forgiving society if we are “Immediate. Authentic. Appropriate” when something goes wrong in Social Media.

He shares these insights from his second book The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome. It is surely a great read and one to go on the bookshelves for marketers and public relations professionals alike.

Vocus offers a free webinar series for PR professionals. I recommend it to anyone involved in marketing, PR and social media.

Your Personal Brand and LinkedIn.

linkedin tipsI spoke with a niece of a friend recently who had just graduated from college and we were talking about marketing. I asked her if she was on LinkedIn and offered to connect with her.

She mentioned that she didn’t have her profile filled out just yet. I was surprised since I assumed that the younger generation was more hip on social media and that she would know that LinkedIn is the single most important place to post your digital resume.

My dad works with his local chemical engineering association to line up speakers of interest for events. He recently had a recruiter speak that emphasized LinkedIn as the number one place where businesses and recruiters go to find talent.

If there is only one thing that you do today for your personal brand, go out and make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out 100%.

  • Optimize your headline for your job search. What keywords will people search for you?
  • Ask friends and colleagues for a reference – LinkedIn makes it easy.
  • Make sure you have skills identified as those are searchable for employers.
  • Fill out past positions with keywords and descriptions of your past jobs.
  • Personalize your LinkedIn URL.
  • Use a professional picture on LinkedIn.
  • Have a blog? Add a link to it. Use anchor text with keywords in the link (select Other and name the blog using keywords).
  • Add social media accounts like Twitter.
  • Check the apps and add any that might apply like Amazon Reading List, Slideshare or TripIt.
  • Join a relevant group in your industry. Talk with others in the group.
  • Ask a question in Answers. The community is very helpful.
  • Keep your profile updated as you go. It will always be a work in progress and updates keep your profile fresh.

Now you are ready to go. Also, build your network before you need it. Connect with everyone that you have done business with and make it an ongoing process.

Small steps can go a long way to ensure your future!

Image by smi23le on Flickr.

Business Trends in Social Media.

I recently attended a webinar from Mari Smith and Guy Kawasaki entitled The 7 Hottest Business Trends in Social Media. It was very informative and relevant for all businesses.

The top trends include:

1) Big Brand Bypass – New platforms are allowing consumers to bypass big brands and buy, sell and exchange directly with each other. The internet has leveled the playing field for businesses of all sizes.

2) Humanize to Monetize – Brands need to show a human side to make a more personal connection with consumers. Brands with personality such as Zappos, SouthWest Airlines, Starbucks and Virgin are succeeding online. The size of your business no longer matters. People crave a human connection and receiving acts of kindness.

3) Cause-based Consumers – Consumers’ growing concern over the environment calls for companies to communicate charitable and green initiatives. Companies need to be transparent, share ethics and how policies are shaped and regulated to build trust and credibility.

4) Super Social Status – Badges, gamification, influence scores are all increasing in social media. Status ratings such as Klout are changing the way society regards influence. One example is restaurants using FourSquare and rewarding the mayor and those who check-in to make customers feel extra special.

5) Awesome vs. “Flawesome” – Consumers realize that companies aren’t perfect. Companies that admit they made a mistake and quickly take action to right the wrongs achieve a Flawesome status. Showing transparency and empathy will keep customers and fans satisfied. Handle negative comments and reviews, don’t delete them. 68% of consumers trust reviews more when there are good and bad scores. (Source: Revoo.com January 2012) FedEx and Comcast are great examples of brands embracing social customer service.

6) Mad for MobileMobile device usage outnumbers computers 5-to-1 worldwide. How is your business adapting to mobile marketing? Websites, email, video and online marketing messages need to be optimized for mobile devices.

7) Privacy ParanoiaPrivacy backlash with Facebook and Google show a growing concern about information misuse. State your privacy policy upfront – your terms, what you are going to do with the data – and that will help people feel safer and want to buy more of your products.

Facebook for Timeline Business Pages – 21 Key Points.

If you have a Facebook fan page, you are probably aware that your page will automatically convert to the new Timeline design on March 30, 2012.

Mari Smith, a social media speaker and author, has put together an informative post which covers the majority of basic settings and features you need to know. She has also included a great infographic that highlights all the key elements of the new layout. [Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – 21 Key Points To Know]

Facebook timeline for pages guide

The Changing Landscape of Marketing and Public Relations and The Social Customer

As the world gets smaller, marketing and public relations landscapes are getting more complicated to navigate. And as the digital age advances, consumers, customers and the media are getting harder to reach.

Listening to today’s New Social Customer #SMTLIVE twitterfeed, we are in the third phase of a social world.

3 phases: pre-Google (information scarce), Before Social (information available online), and Now (information abundance)

How do we navigate through this era when the buyer has as much information as the sales person? Here are some highlights from the New Social Customer twitterfeed.

  • Only 1/4 of site visitors want to be contacted by sales. (retail)
  • E-mail has been passed by social media on the amount of people who use it daily.
  • E-mail use is down 59% among people 12-17.
  • Build relationships with qualified prospects regardless of their timing to buy.
  • This “new revenue cycle” thing is critical. Take notes.
  • Awareness and Friend stages precede traditional relational development sales stages. Use brains, not budget.
  • Seed nurturing – building relationships with qualified prospects before you even have their contact info.
  • Difference in marketing today — using content, social media rather than traditional big, costly advertising, etc.
  • “seed nurturing” precedes lead nurturing. Build relationships before you have contact info.
  • Seed nurturing is 2-part: listening, then engaging. Can take place on your site and off your site.
  • Gonna just start with one platform? @lazerow says go with Facebook.
  • 50% of #facebook users login daily!
  • How companies are investing in social media: 1. Facebook 2. Twitter 3. YouTube 4. Blogs.
  • Who’s doing the Social Media work? Marketing, digital and PR seems to be the biggies.
  • Everyone, though, is really touching SoMe for a company.
  • Socialmedia is now seen as cutting across #customerservice.
  • Only 13% of companies use #socialmedia for recruiting, content generation, & community.
  • Do you have sharing functionality on your website? Do you know how much revenue is driven through the sharing?
  • The average FB share generates $2.10 in incremental sales. (retail)
  • The average conversation rate for a Facebook shore is 10.2%.
  • What days and times are people sharing? Who is sharing? 27-33 yr/old women share the most.
  • 12:13-1:45 is a “magic hour” for sharing on #socialmedia.
  • How do you take everything that you do, across all of your touchpoints, and add a social layer?
  • Fans, followers, & likes are not business #metrics.
  • Social commerce is all about empowering the customers – give them info, relevance, and the tools to share/advocate.
  • World has reorged around people.
  • How are @lazerow numbers fit to B2B? Even in B2B you’re selling to people.
  • 4 levels of #socialcustomer engagement: 1. none 2. individual 3. departmental 4. enterprise
  • Social CRM is the biz strategy – business rules, workflow, conversations, transparency.
  • Departmental engagement gets company involved with customers.
  • #SocialCRM: #Marketing-soc marketing insights, rapid soc mktg response, soc campaign tracking, soc event mgmt, soc pull thru mktg
  • SocialCRM #Sales: sales insights, rapid sales response, proactive lead gen, direct & distribute comm, demand gen, dynamic supply
  • SocialCRM #service – #social support insights, rapid social response, peer to peer unpaid armies
  • With the rise in use of mobile devices…time to develop engaging video content for ppl to view on these devices-#YouTube!
  • For small biz, use tools for customer engagement and monitoring. Build relationships. You time is your biggest expense.
  • Most tracking tools are free. Money for a small business in social media is in time. Do you hire out? When do you do it?
  • Seed Nurturing On Site (Anonymous) requires Visitor Analysis (Listening) and Dynamic Content/Personalization (Engaging)
  • Seed Nurturing Off Site (Online/Social Media) Social Profiles, Listening and Social Signals and FB Open Graph (Listening)
  • For those who attended the #SMTlive webinar with @lazerow @socialmedia2day, we have a ton more free resources here http://t.co/o6gFSZh4

Also, this infographic by HR Marketer shows just how much marketing and public relations are changing.

As consumers have more access to information, buying cycles are changing. Add to this changes in the media and how to reach them, which is a  fundamental shift in the way marketers and PR professionals reach the public.

SEO On A Budget Presentation – Jenny Munn – Digital Atlanta 2011

SEO on a budget

SEO seminar with Jenny Munn.

I recently attended Jenny Munn’s “SEO On A Budget” presentation during Digital Atlanta last week. Munn gave an informative talk, chock full of tips and techniques for those new to the world of SEO.

What is SEO? Search engine optimization is a way to make sure your web site appears in search engines when people are looking for your type of business or service. There are no guarantees with SEO and algorithms are always changing with search engines, but there are some basic ways to improve your web site search ranking.

Munn was right on when she said “there is so much information out there about SEO, that people can get paralysis with analysis.” I was pleased to learn many things about the SEO and am ready to further optimize my site and those of my clients.

Munn offers a three-phase approach to get started with SEO. Her bite-sized tips are great for small businesses who want to improve their web site search appearance without being overwhelmed with data.

Phase 1
- keyword research – a keyword is usually a key phrase of 2-3 words that people search to find your type of product or service
- competitor research
- title tags and descriptions

Phase 2
- on-page optimization
- understand anchor text
- Google Analytics
- commit to blogging

Phase 3
- create content pages
- backlinking strategy
- advanced social media strategy & execution
- creating linkbait

Keyword Research

Brainstorm a list of keyword prospects. NOTE: keywords are not your company name or name (unless you are a brand or celebrity.)

Google has a free keyword tool - look for keywords with low competition and high searches.

Create an Excel spreadsheet with your keywords. The order of the words is important as well as using singular and plural keywords. Log out of Google for an objective search result.

If you are a small business, utilize location as part of your keywords. IT is impossible to compete with large corporations on common keywords. They have entire departments staffed in IT, marketing, blogging, social media, content creation and pay-per-click advertising. You can stand out locally.

Keyword Research Mistakes

- Trying to rank for 100 keywords (pick 5 – 15)
- Selecting many keywords per page (no more than 2 keywords per page)
- Not knowing keyword competition
- Choosing keywords that have no relevance to web site.

1) Write down all of the web site pages that you have.
2) Pick 1-2 keywords for each page.
3) Map out pages/keyword strategy.
4) Any other popular keywords – optimize blog posts for specific topics.

Title Tages and Descriptions

Is your web site current in design and navigation? Or is it five years old and has no social buttons or updated material? Make sure your web site is presentable before you optimize with SEO.

Once your web site is updated, fill out title tags and descriptions first. You have 60-70 characters in the title tag. If you are using WordPress (which is recommended for ease of use) get the All in One SEO plug-in to easily add Title and Description tags to pages/posts.

Optimize Web Pages

Focus on 1-2 keywords (key phrases) per page.
Start with your home page.
If you have a blog, this gives you additional opportunities to talk about specific topics/keywords.
Prioritize and assign keywords to specific web site pages.
You optimize web pages, not web sites. Search engines examine each page – which is why blogs are extremely helpful with SEO.

Place keywords in the Headline (first), once or twice per paragraph in the body. Write for the reader and try to keep the keywords naturally flowing in the text. It is tough to balance the creative message with the keywords. Include keywords in image ALT tags and anchor text. Use anchor text in a call to action. Google likes anchor text links.

Link Building

Half of SEO = your efforts to optimize your site and content. The other half? Links that point to your site. Google sees credibility in people linking back to your site. Build links where you can – in directories, press release sites, etc. Guest blogging can link back to your site as well as anytime someone else references your site.

Key Takeaway

Just get started. A halfway optimized page is better than a non-optimized page! Learn as you go, check YouTube for how-to videos and Google for SEO articles.

Social Media Tips for Human Resources

Social media and human resources are an odd duo. Obviously there are many negative reasons on the legal and standards front, but there are many positives as well.

HR professionals need to source, find, and retain great talent for their organizations. They also need to do about 100 other things throughout their days and weeks. Which is why social media can be a valuable addition to HR for recruiting, staffing and employer branding.

I recently wrote a post for Talent Acquisition.net titled “Social Media Basics for Human Resources.” Employer branding is a key way to bring talented folks to your company – inbound recruiting, if you will.

Employer branding helps communicate the company, culture and values. It supports the organization’s corporate voice and helps tell the story of the company, giving it a human touch.

Companies need to show why someone would want to work there and that should reflect in the web site, social media sites and throughout all of its touchpoints.

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