Category Archives: marketing

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!

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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.

Women, Beauty and Advertising.

I recently watched this video from Peter Shankman (to his wife and female friends) that my friend shared on Facebook. He explains that he saw an advertisement at a local Wal-Mart while on a business trip. An ad for women in the clothing section that shows a woman putting on makeup and saying that she can be beautiful. His message is refreshing – that women are beautiful. No matter what time of day, what they are wearing or what makeup they may or may not have on.

So much of advertising to females – women, teens and girls – sets a high standard of beauty. Body image and definitions of beauty for girls usually start with Barbie, princesses and Bratz and it only gets worse from there.

“Girls’ perceptions of their femininity and appropriate behavior are largely formed before they even hit first grade—good reason to consider these dolls a lot more than child’s play. “Until children are about five, they can’t distinguish fantasy from reality,” says Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D., coauthor of Packaging Girlhood. “So what they see is how they think the world operates and what it means to be a girl.” – Glamour

Read More http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/2007/04/sexy-children#ixzz1wZhKMciH

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was one of the first to expose the unfair standards of beauty set by the media and to show real women, confident, independent, beautiful.

“Based on the findings of a major global study,The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Dove® launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004. The campaign started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. Among the study’s findings was the statistic that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful.” – Dove

Females grow up comparing themselves to unrealistic images of beauty in magazines, advertisements, on television and in movies.

As a mother of two young girls, it is my hope that they will be more self-confident than I was growing up. I want them to realize that they are beautiful, intelligent, capable women and that they are a gift to this world.

Common Sense Media – Girls and Body Image Tips

Image via BeautyRedefined.net

5 Small Business Website Tips

spoke

Your small business website is the hub of your online marketing strategy.

First impressions of a business happen in a few seconds. Be sure that visitors are engaged with these five tips.

  • Who are you? Clearly define who you are with a clean logo and keywords that people might search for your business.
  • Who is your customer? Describe your target audience and how you can help them. Keep it short and sweet.
  • How can we reach you? Social media buttons, phone number, email and address should be readily available on the home page as well as in the footer on every web page.
  • What are you up to? Be sure your events and news postings are current and the navigational panel is simple to use.
  • Tell me more about yourself. Use your About page to add a human element about your business. Tell your story in a clever way and offer why someone would want to do business with you.

These are just a few small business website tips. A website is a work in progress. It should change and evolve just as your business does. Keep it up to date and regularly ask your employees, customers and other audiences for input.

Seven areas of a site draw users’ attention the most, according to a new eye-tracking study. Is your site up to par?

Email Marketing Infographic, Tips and Tricks

Thrust in the shadow of social media, email marketing is still an important part of an integrated marketing strategy.

For marketers, the challenge is communicating to customers and prospects when, where and how they would like to receive information. Email marketing can help businesses build profiles through list segmentation to provide the best possible experience.

An infographic from Mashable shows the best days and times of day to send an email. It also shows  what words are most effective in subject lines as well as those words that are not. Image

Daily Deals Infographic

I am helping out a new local Atlanta daily deals site, Coupsicle, and found some interesting research. While Groupon remains king, many local daily deal sites are entering the market. Consumers love deals and are returning to establishments once they have used the coupon.

daily deals

24 Juicy Publicity, Social Media Tips in Free ‘Best of’ Ebook from Joan Stewart

One of my favorite PR newsletters to receive is Joan Stewart’s Publicity Hound. Joan serves up no-nonsense public relations tips that any business can use right away to improve their publicity program.

Right now you can download the best of ebook and see the best PR tips of the year.

Here’s what you’ll find in this year’s book.

Social Media Tips Galore


  • Tips on how to attract more Twitter followers by using Twellow, my favorite Twitter directory, to really drill down and identify people in your target market—and make it easy for others to find you
  • 6 bios that need updating. Trust me. They’re either filled with stale information, or your bios are missing key links for new social media profiles you’ve created.
  • 3 strong reasons for joining groups on LinkedIn, and the recommended number of groups to join.
  • How to create a link for a Facebook status update so you can pull more people to your Facebook page. This still stumps many Facebook users.
  • 3 ways to use Twitter lists to save time, get in front of influential bloggers who write about your topic, and start to build relationships with journalists.
  • A big no-no that several LinkedIn “gurus” are teaching about how to write your LinkedIn profile.  It looks bad, it smells bad and it can get you into trouble.
  • A  new feature on YouTube that lets you edit your videos right in the browser!
  • Where to find a valuable template on how to write a product review that you can share on the social media sites or at your blog.
  • Where to find “52 Headline Hacks,” a handy cheat sheet for writing blog posts that go viral, or headlines you can use on articles.
Publicity Tips for Traditional Media   
  • An important reminder if you’re planning an event so you don’t blow a big chance at publicity in a magazine.
  • 6 ways to avoid corrections and what to do if a mistake in your press release or article slips through and ends up being published.
  • The one word to never use when you’re talking to journalists.
  • Angles for news stories you can pitch so you can get onto the most watched TV newscast of the entire week on your local station.
  • Why press releases are usually ineffective if you want a journalist to cover your story—and the one thing that works instead.
  • 3 types of publicity photos that scream “We’re lazy. And we don’t mind boring you with this photo.”
  • The one person to follow on Twitter who can provide lots of hot leads from traditional media who are looking for sources to interview.
Tools for Online Publicity
  • A hyperlocal website that’s begging for neighborhood news in 16 bigger cities in the United States. This site is perfect for news from clubs and civic groups, schools, nonprofits, churches, political campaigns and neighborhood groups.
  • A news powerhouse that you should be pitching because its stories get high rankings on Google News and Google Blogs. You’ll also find a link to a valuable video that explains exactlyhow to pitch.
  • A local publisher that wants news from hundreds of communities in 19 states in the United States. They’re competing with local newspapers for stories, photos, videos and ad dollars.
  • 4 tips for creating your 2012 Publicity Plan for online and traditional media.
 Tips for Building Your Business & Nonprofit
  • Where to find step-by-step instructions on how to format a book for the Nook, the Barnes & Noble ereader, and Amazon’s Kindle—sometimes in less than 30 minutes.
  • Where to find detailed instructions on how to produce webinars that sell your products and services. Includes a recommendation for what webinar company to use.
  • Nonprofits, 9 ways to make it easy for people to donate at your website.

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.

Stay at Home Mom, Working Mother

A friend of mine recently started a blog “The Accidental Stay at Home Mom” detailing her adventures going from a working mother to a stay at home mom. I went through this transition in Summer 2009 and still feel a bit out of sorts with where I fit or how I define myself.

Her recent post “So what do YOU do?” really resonated with me. I have been in this type of conversation socially more than once and still describe myself as a former working parent who is now home, as if I need to apologize for it. That I’m not measuring up since I haven’t gone back to work full-time.

I like to think that I’m a hybrid – a new crossover incorporating being home with my kids and freelancing when I can. Where does this fit on a resume? Or in society for that matter?

I am acquiring leadership roles like room mom and girl scout brownie leader. I volunteer at nonprofits donating my time through marketing, public relations and fundraising. I utilize negotiation skills with my kids daily. I multitask on the fly and stay organized with my old school Retro Mama calendar in the kitchen.

And best of all, I am spending more quality time with my children. They come home after school and can relax. They have not been sick as often. Dinner time is more pleasant since we are all not arriving home at the same time and tired after a long 9-10 hour day elsewhere. The list goes on.

All moms work and there is guilt on either side – I have been on both. Unfortunately, there are perceptions on each side about the other.

I hope that this divide, this wall will crumble and that we realize that it’s not a title or occupation that defines us.