Category Archives: Social Media for Business

B2B Social Media PR/Marketing: It’s still about people connecting with people

Remember! If you are marketing your business to other businesses online (in social media channels especially):  A personal touch goes a long way when trying to make a connection with someone. Generic pick-up lines aren’t going to get you too many dates, and generic content won’t bring in many leads. To make an impression and start off on the right foot, whether at the bar or on your blog, you need to make sure the person you’re reaching out to understands that you’re right for them.  Read more.

After all, social media was invented “for people” to connect “with people.”  Right?

Loving this article in the OpenView (Marketing) Labs blog this week. OpenView Market Research Associate Brandon Hickie explains how to develop an “effective buyer persona” to take your (brand’s) content marketing to the next level.  I couldn’t have explained all this ANY better myself–something I have been preaching for YEARS!

Buyer Personas: The Key to Targeting Your Content Marketing for Real Results

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Executives and Professionals…welcome to the Engagement Economy

This month, PRWeek published the findings of the 2012 C-Factors Survey that polls leading CEOs and other senior executives to determine how and if creativity is affecting business, globalization, culture and communications. Just as I thought, the survey found that creativity was one of the most influential forces driving our current global economy. 96% of the poll respondents said that creativity is one of the key elements for driving new and continued business growth (18% increase from 2011). Other key findings include:

  • 100% see building winning experiences as vital to business success and take  holistic approach to communication (marketing, advertising and PR)
  • 85% think we have entered an “y” — 96% of the respondents said that creativity is now very critical to economic success
  • 86% view their organizations as now being more creative with 81% believing this to be a continuing trend
  • 94%t of CEOs and CIOs and 92% of CMOs said they will continue to put more emphasis on creative communications initiatives

The new engagement economy is pushing senior executives to reinvent their roles and organizational value–which can be attributed to the whole rise of creativity over leadership alone!  This engagement economy has a lot to do with my previous post: Come Out From Behind the Brand

In my opinion, the results from this year’s C-Factors Survey demonstrate this “new need” for new thinking in the communications (and public relations) area of every business. And the continued traditional marketing and technology merge also includes usage of more and more social media platforms and mobile applications. The bottom line though is that with all these new media factors coming into play, key executives and even other employees must continue to learn how to be more creative and involved in social media as the voice or ambassador of the (company) brand. People connect with people more successfully within social media channels. And while traditional communications (and media) tactics and channels are also still very necessary, the engagement economy will only continue to grow and flourish for the benefit of business growth!

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5 Content Marketing Rules PR Can Play By, Too

Love this part:

Business (and personal) brands build relationships with customers via three levels of commitment:  relational, transactional, and contractual.
Content marketing – like so much of PR – is generally concentrated in the ‘relational’ phase, in which audience attention is garnered – and kept.

“We’re moving from getting attention through interruption to a useful conversation…”

 

Beyond PR

A webinar hosted by Marketing Experiments last week on the subject of effective content marketing included a lot of nuts-and-bolts perspective on content strategies that deliver measurable results, in terms of moving audience toward the publisher’s intended outcomes.    More than a few of the approaches suggested make as much sense for public relations as they do for content marketing.

The webinar was hosted by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, managing director of Marketing Experiments, and PR Newswire’s CEO, Ninan Chacko, who brings a strong marketing background to his work at PRN.

Ttitled “5 Steps to Effective Content Marketing,” the webinar kicked off with a discussion of why content marketing works so well.  Dr. Flint framed today’s marketing challenges in the context of the relationships brands build with customers, noting that business relationships have three levels of commitment:  relational, transactional, and contractual.   Content marketing – like so much of PR – is…

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Oh where, Oh where have I been (on this blog)?

As a publicity producer in the social (and traditional) media space for individuals (on a personal level) and businesses as well as other agencies, I get into “busy spurts” creating and managing content for my clients and have a hard time finding the time to write for my OWN content for this blog!

I must say, that tweeting and micro-blogging (broadcasting thought leadership/sharing content) is my cup of tea more so. It’s quick easy and a great way to build a following. However, content curation in the form of blog posts is still so important when it comes to developing “web visibility” (as I like to call it) or SEO.

Did you know that blogging alone can lead to opportunities that a regular website never could! Someone will need your product or services and will go to Google (or Bing or Yahoo etc.) to search for it, your blog  can help win that search! The more you put into the blog (content) the higher up the search engines you go (“gulp” I need to pay attention to my own advice right?).

If that’s not enough of a reason, here are some additional reasons to have a blog (I pulled these tips from my one of my trusted vendors, Vocus):

You also get to include a heck of a lot more content and information: Twitter is limited to 140 characters (and that includes spaces!). So you do not have worry about changing pages or bringing in a web designer every time you want to add or change something in regards to your web content!

  • A Business or personal (professional) blog helps you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. We publicists now also call this Brand Journalism.Tip! If you are NOT a writer, hire a writer, editor or publicist (someone to help!). I ask my clients to write down some rough copy (some do write!) or thoughts and ideas and my team and I then polish up the piece as well as add back links to other posts/articles that are aligned with the article’s content (another way to pull more traffic to your blog site).Note!  Some of my clients have blogs that are dedicated to reporting news on their projects (i.e. construction companies), while others contribute to thought leadership oriented blogs that support their online personal or corporate brand visibility.

Next step then is to share/broadcast your blog content and or thought leadership (and this must happen more than a just one or two times) within social media channels. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. can definitely help “spread the news!”

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Will Marketing Muck Up Social Media?

As a publicist and promoter, my view is that social media is, just that, MEDIA. It’s new media, as TV once was 65 or whatever years ago.

Social Media is NEW media. It’s not direct mail and so it should be used to generate engagement and relationships and trust via thought leadership. This will drive new business and opportunity over the long haul.

There is NO QUICK viral fix (it happens, but rare and usually fleeting).

Social media content must be consistent and interesting. No, it won’t hit home with all, but if handled correctly it will be absorbed by the people who matter (target audience).

And I am all for quality advertising, but not the junk that has cluttered TV or radio by any means! My hope is that marketers/businesses/people stop the “When will I see my ROI” and the expectation that every message and link posted will attract a new customer, client or sale. The social media marketing term needs to go away. Marketing should be all-encompassing in all areas of media: print, television, radio, web and or social media.

A response comment to: Will Marketing Muck Up Social Media? – Forbes 7/5/2012

By Shel Israel, Contributor 

Article: 

First, a brief history of mass media:

There once was a Golden Age of Television. During that time, some pioneers of the new media talked about exposing everyday people to opera, theater and fine arts. They talked about proving the sort of information that could build a better-informed electorate.

After a few years, the decision makers decided, “Screw it. Let’s give the masses I Love Lucy and get rich selling cigarettes and detergent.”

There was once a Golden Age of social media, when people talked about the ability to find useful, interesting, valuable people to talk with all over the world. Businesses of all sizes discovered that there was great value in listening and engaging with customers and other relevant people. What had once been one-directional monologues became two-directional dialogs and most people saw that it was good.

Then the marketers got their hands around the throat of social media strangling engagement and stuffing messages down its throat.

This is where we are at in social media. The medium that has already demonstrated miracles is in danger of becoming the same sort of vast wasteland that TV became. I wrote about this back in February and do not wish to be redundant, but in the last four months, I’ve seen an avalanche of disturbing evidence that the marketers are taking control of a medium and in so doing are damaging that which makes social media special, different and so very powerful in so many ways.

Here are a few solipsistic observations:

The language has changed. Six months ago, we social media people in large companies were still talking about listening engines and the daunting challenges of measuring engagement. Now I am hearing about making social media “more transactional,” rather than conversational. That difference can be fatal to quality in a very short period of time.

The org chart has changed. In most large organizations social media started as a skunkworks, set aside from the traditional organization so that they could innovate and even disrupt to help bring companies and customers closer together. Social was seen as an enabling technology, able to serve diverse needs of many departments. With increasing frequency, it is now being moved into marketing, where decision-makers are trying to make it a better marketing tool at the expense of support, recruiting, product development and more. Organizations are back to measuring social media programs in terms of ROI, which makes as little sense as determining the ROI of wearing clothing to a business meeting. There are just some things that have obvious value, but are very hard to measure in dollar value.

Listening is ebbing. Shouting is flooding. A few years back, it was striking to have a Dell guy say he was sorry that customers were enraged over support. Or a basketball team owner admitting that the coach overreacted, or the vice chairman of an automaker using a blog to take on an unfair auto review. The sort of startling, human, candid and conversation-igniting stuff is becoming as rare as it was before social’s advent. Instead, we are seeing tweets and posts, videos and blogs that are back “on message,” with individuals using the corporate “we” as if they spoke for tens of thousands of fellow employees all marching in happy harmony to the relentless drum beat.

Social media is not yet a vast wasteland by any measure. The Give Lucy-ites have not yet won, and those who consume social content are not about to start hacking from inhaling what the marketers are selling. But in the world, where changes come at the speed of the internet, I see danger here.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing that social media should not be used to market goods, products and brands. I’m all for it. But social works best when you use the classic definition of marketing: that it’s about relationships with customers and that markets are actually conversations. Certainly, using social media to create interest, awareness and excitement among customers and prospects is very legitimate.

But do not confuse conversational marketing tactics with smarmy sales hype. Do not confuse the value of getting others to say you are great because you have done something great with hokey promotional vote gimmicks.

What is being lost has enormous strategic and value potential for enterprises that steer the smart course. You can collaborate with customers to make your products better and bring them to market faster. You can use social media to reduce traditional marketing launch costs. You can have a 24/7 focus group composed of people who care rather than get paid. You can start conversations with the best and brightest members of your community and recruit them as employees, partners or vendors.

All this and so much more. It is not all about to hurl itself into the air and fall onto a spear. But there is danger here and I hope that if you are part of the millions of people who touch upon social media strategies, you give this matter some serious rethinking.

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The Staying Power and Flexibility of Social Media

How do you track results from your traditional direct mail or advertising campaigns? If you’re like most small business owners and entrepreneurs, you probably compare the number of phone or email inquiries you get before and after a particular PR or marketing activity, or you monitor traffic on your Web site or at your bricks-and-mortar establishment, or you track product orders online or in-person. You also know that while such measures are not exact science, unlike full-blown market surveys, they will at least give you a pretty good sense of whether your efforts are having an impact or not.

Of course, most of us have no idea what kind of increased activity we might see due to marketing, if any. We’re just hoping for some sort of spike in activity, some sense that our efforts are worthwhile.

Read the rest of my post contribution on Barrel Of Monkeyz Forum!

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Time to Defeat the Social Media Skeptics? YES!

Yahoo News March 14, 2012:

For those trying to get a social media campaign going in their company, they’ll often have to deal with naysayers that question the value. Behind the Brand’s Brian Elliott interviews Former Kodak CMO Jeff Hayzlett — who says dealing with the non-believer is all part of “running the gauntlet.”

Hayzlett spoke with Bryan Elliott on Behind the Brand.tv about what it takes to engage audiences, and how to explain to those number crunchers that social is valuable. For one, he said talking about return on investment is overhyped.

[More from Mashable: Announcing a Live Chat With Hootsuite Founder Ryan Holmes]

“I say to them, ‘What’s your return on ignoring?'” Hayzlett said. “If you’re engaged with your customers, and you have an operation that is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, then you’re going to make money.”

Hayzlett said at this point, not engaging via social media is just a way to lose money. He broke down his social media strategy, calling it “the four E’s.”

“Get engaged, start doing it. Start being your own Chief Listening Officer,” Hayzlett said. “When you educate people about your product, they get excited, and then start to evangelize by becoming brand ambassadors.”

Watch Part 2 with Brian and Jeff on http://behindthebrand.tv/

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Social Media: Not Just Another Sales Pitch

Nobody likes to be outright “sold to” either online or offline.  Just think of the last time you went to lease or buy a car. It’s not much fun to be on the receiving end of anybody’s sales barrage, whether you’re an interested buyer or not…

Read my guest post on Barrel O’Monkeyz Forum for Monkey Chatter!

Social Media: Not Just Another Sales Pitch | Barrel O'Monkeyz Forum for Monkey Chatter


 

The Art of Social – NEW Media

It wasn’t so long ago that uttering the term “social media” conjured images of pubescent teens, young adults, and doting grandparents posting about their mundane daily activities and posting their even more run-of-the-mill snapshots to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a host of others. Seems as though anyone with a digital camera, internet access, and time to spare could become a social media maven.

Then, buoyed by the success of sites such as LinkedIn, along came marketing and entrepreneurial types who saw the business advantage of having a strong social media presence. Presto! The notion of social media as a haven only for friends and family was transformed into something much, much more.

The social media or NEW media space is now a place where business transpires, reputations get built, brands mature, products get launched, and buzz is either generated or squashed.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m beginning to wonder if everyone should or even can learn how to use it, or at least use it effectively to achieve their desired professional or business branding results.  Think about it, the entire world does not know how to effectively use television, radio or even print media. It cracks me up with this whole mad-dash to “learn how to use” social media.

A friend of mine is a realtor. She markets and sells real estate. How hard can that be, right? Like anything, if you have an interested buyer, selling is easy. Problem is, you rarely reach interested buyers without great effort, and you’re even less likely to close a sale unless you know what you are doing. Expertise and experience are valuable in professions such as real estate. They are becoming equally as important when it comes finding success in social media.

My realtor friend recently took a class on how social media could extend her real estate selling efforts. The result? She felt overwhelmed by all the information and possibilities, so much so that she couldn’t grasp how social media could work for her business. She began to question whether she’d get any return on a social media investment. Wouldn’t it be easier, she wondered, just to stick with the tried and true of what worked in the past (handing signs, listing on MSL)?

Possibly, at least in the short-term, but easier doesn’t always mean most effective. You can rest assured that most of her competitors will seize upon social media as yet another tool with which to reach out to buyers, and that buyers/prospects will come to expect and appreciate the two-way communication street. Simply put, people will wonder “what’s wrong” when a realtor (or any other business for that matter) has no social media presence, and those who fail to embrace social media will be at an immediate disadvantage—just like businesses and professionals who still have no (or a less than standard) Web site presence.

At a minimum, companies need to realize the power of investing in the online personas and social media presence of the people behind their products/brand. This is even more important for SMALL business owners as well as professionals (on a personal professional level).

Why? Because people tend to buy from small business if they can get up close and personal with the people behind the brand.  The same goes for bigger brands. I love to “get into the head” of Michael Dell or some of these other high-ranking executives ready and willing to be even more up-close-and-personal with their customers (and fans). What better way than to use online social media channels to put the people and leaders behind the business scene front and center?  I have to say that I follow a number of small business professionals online with whom I share interests. Guess who I turn to when I’m looking for a particular product or service?

It’s certainly hard to deny the power of social media. Perhaps it’s just a matter of harnessing that power and putting it to best use. That said, can social media training for everyone be far away?

Back in the mid-1990s business owners and professionals scoffed at MS Windows, MAC OS, and “Web site 101” type training, but eventually most caved—either by receiving direct training themselves or by hiring someone with the experience and expertise they were missing to do the work!  Again, social (or NEW) media is really no different from mastering the use of television, radio or print media.  For the most part, the owners or chief officers of companies/brands don’t produce television commercials on their own.  They hire an agency or the production is led by someone in-house who has the training and expertise.

Where do you fall in the spectrum from social media novice, to do-it-yourselfer, to expert?  

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Setting standards for the use of social media

The Public Relations field has, for decades, had standards governing conduct and best practices—some tried and true rules of thumb and guidelines. But how does social media, which many—including yours truly—view as a powerful, 21st-century add-on to the PR profession and is perhaps the greatest development to hit the field in more than half a century, fit in?

Let’s cut right to the chase here.

I’m not advocating that every teenager or proud Mom or Dad needs “uber” social media skills to post on Facebook or MySpace (though for a handful of particular posters some skills would be nice!). What I’m talking about are those companies and professionals who tout themselves as social media marketing experts and professionals.

Are they? How can anyone tell? What makes someone a social media expert? What’s stopping virtually anyone from making such a claim?

As it stands now, my neighbor’s 14-year-old high school freshman could claim to be a social media expert . . . and I bet her 600 or so Facebook friends would agree!

Just as with Public Relations professionals, social media experts need to know their stuff. To this end, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is looking to redefine “public relations” so that it encompasses the two-way dialogue that now takes place, courtesy of social media, between companies and consumers, celebrities and their fans, professionals and clients. Sure to follow will be social media training and professional certifications.

What this means for consumers is a true “seal of approval” to help them discern qualified professionals from the not-so-qualified. What it means for those of us in the profession, aside from increased knowledge and expertise, is greater credibility for anyone holding such a credential.

Sure it sounds like more paperwork and more class work, and undoubtedly an extra fee or two, but in my book, it’s a win-win for PR/Social media professionals and the people/companies we serve. All will benefit from increased standards and greater integrity.

Don’t you think it’s time to weigh in with the PRSA and let them know we want to ensure the integrity of social media and the individuals and firms who operate in this space? While we can’t ensure across-the-board success (case in point, the numerous less-than-stellar TV and radio shows, publications, and networks), when it comes to social media and other online channels we can go a long way to ensuring higher quality and the existence of peer-developed best practices industry wide.

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