Blog Archives

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!

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.

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

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.

Quick Small Business PR Tip for Building Local Visibility

Small businesses can struggle with public relations, especially if the owner also handles the sales and marketing functions of the company. Here is a quick PR tip for businesses looking to build local publicity.

Find local AOL Patch sites for your city. Sign up for the newsletter and get active on the site. Add your events, if applicable. Comment on stories. Reach out to the local editor and offer to write a column on your area of expertise, if it relates to local readers.

Have any other neighborhood publications? Do the same with them. Build a local media list. Create a relationship and watch it bloom!

 

Great Marketing Ideas Can Come From Anywhere.

I learned the interesting story of the creation of Disney’s Fast Pass while speaking with a customer service rep. for AT&T, of all things. He was an intern at Disney at the time. An engaging fellow, he proceeded to tell me that the Fast Pass came about because of a fire code.

The Indiana Jones ride in CA had a queue about a mile long. One day there was a fire drill and it took about 25 minutes to get the people out. That was not acceptable and the firefighters told Disney that they needed to shorten response times. When they asked “how?” a firefighter said “how about tickets that save people’s place in line?” And the rest is history.

Disney thought about monetizing Fast Pass but later decided the system was acceptable the way it was. A firefighter. An AT&T customer service rep. Creativity can be anywhere!

By the way, Disney gave credit to the firefighter. And the rep? He wrote the Backlot Tour script and is still credited on the script. That is the sign of a great company that recognizes creativity.

There’s Something Happening Here.

Something big is happening. In marketing, business and our culture. We are witnessing a time where technology is growing exponentially right before our eyes.

The internet has become our culture’s favorite hobby, surpassing television. Mobile devices and smartphones are giving consumers instant access to their friends, family, colleagues and even brands.

Checking in on social networks and location-based marketing services are becoming the norm. Updating statuses and sharing knowledge through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has made the world a smaller place, connecting like-minded folks that may have only had a chance meeting in our previous world at a trade show or association meeting.

It is an exhilarating and anxious time to be a marketer. Buyers have changed the playing field and are now in control, finding the products and services that they want and need online at their fingertips through recommendations, ratings and search. Companies are scrambling to adapt to customer demand. If you aren’t paying attention to what is going on, your business is in danger of not being around to see what happens next.

This fundamental shift in communication is well-represented in this slideshare presentation from Hubspot. There is a transformation going on. Pay attention, take notes, talk to your customers, don’t be afraid to try new things and enjoy the ride!

What Twitter Can Do For You

I remember when I set up my first Twitter account a few years ago. I registered, signed in and then stared at a blank screen thinking, “now what?” I was a solo marketer at a small technology company and was trying to keep up with social media as well as my traditional marketing role.

In the years since creating my Twitter account, I can say first and foremost that it has offered me personal and professional development.

I was able to find a community of B2B marketing and PR professionals who were supportive and offered help, feedback and opinions. It was refreshing to find a group of individuals who were so supportive.

I was also able to listen and monitor prospects at trade shows and find and follow edtech leaders, a target market of my job at the time. By listening to this group as well as learning about their daily struggles, I felt that I better understood their perspectives as customers and teachers.

As a parent, I had this group of teachers available to ask questions and get feedback about education. One example when my sensitive five year old daughter (in kindergarten at the time), was shown The Wizard of Oz without my knowledge. She had nightmares for two weeks. I received a lot of support and feedback and advice as to what to do as far as approaching the teacher and school.

In addition to finding communities relevant to my work life, I was able to find people with similar interests. My youngest daughter has food allergies and I had trouble after her diagnosis getting support and advice. Friends and family tried to help, but I have had to educate them as well and they just didn’t understand the constant stresses of coping with food allergies. I have found tremendous support from fellow food allergy moms and dads on Twitter. It is a relief to find other people facing the same challenges in life and to share our experiences.

I have also been able to reach people directly that I would have never in a million years been able to reach had I gone through traditional channels. On the fun side, I asked Stewart Cink for golf advice for my golf enthusiast father and he sent me advice that I then included with his birthday gift.

I was able to research and poll people using Twitter and LinkedIn for a project – just like with a focus group. And Twitter can be used to help with your job search.

When Atlanta ran out of gas, I used Twitter and the hashtag #atlgas to find gas.

The applications are endless. People are on Twitter right now, ready to help. Why aren’t you?

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B2B Social Media Success Secrets – Jay Baer Webinar Notes

Yesterday I listened to Jay Baer‘s free 30-minute Webinar on B2B Social Media Success Secrets and wanted to share some of his presentation on social media. If you aren’t familiar with Jay’s work, check out his blog Convince and Convert.

Thirty minutes is not a long time to cover what is obviously a complex topic, but Jay highlighted some key points that any business needs to know when considering adding social media to their marketing mix.

When starting out, define why social media is valuable to your business. Also define success metrics ahead of time as part of your strategy.

Create a Brand Community – get those customers who like you to love you. Your customers are your strongest advocates. Focus on them first. Managing a brand community is a great way to get customer feedback and learn about social media along the way.

Building Outposts – Chris Brogan was one of the first people to describe outposts and home base. You have a company web site and you might have a blog, Linkedin page, Twitter page and/or Facebook page among other pages (home bases). These are all places that prospects go to actively find you.

But they have to already be looking for you and in many cases, they aren’t. These prospects are seeking information in your industry at other web sites – outposts. You need to be sure that you appear in these outposts as an expert and provide valuable content.

Content marketing – create FAQs and share the same content in different ways. Take a presentation and make a series of blog posts, publish it on Slideshare.net, create an ebook – there are many options. Baer listed a few places that are great for content sharing:

Knol.google.com
Slideshare.net
Scribd
Squidoo

Build social profiles of customers and prospects with social media tools.

Flowtown
Gmail
Gist

The social media success equation:

Know why you need to be there.
Create a brand community.
Find and participate in relevant outposts. (participate, not sell)
Create social FAQ to convert sales.
Measure success that works for you.

Jay uses blog stats such as how long someone was at his site, if they visited his speaking and consulting pages, tracks referrers and is always looking at the search terms that people are using to find his site.

Some great dashboard management tools for social media:

Tweetdeck
Hootsuite
Seesmic
CoTweet

Free social media listening tools:

Social Mention
Addictomatic

There are also a few paid services such as Radian6 and a new company, RowFeeder.

It was a quick and informative webinar and I wish there was more time to hear Baer’s advice on social media. I recommend checking out his book that will be coming out in February 2011.

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