Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

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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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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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


 

Corporate executives want a quick ROI in social media; they should look at it as long-term “best investment!”

Corporate executives are still bent on getting a quick ROI out of social media…a legitimate request yes …also a stalling tactic?  Great read via the PR News Blog (August 19, 2011): http://ow.ly/69Fp2.

According to Pepsi Co’s global head of digital Bonin Bough, being gripped by fear of adapting to social media can be fatal (for organizations): “Failure to adapt to the digital evolution is written on the balance sheets of companies.”

Staying away from social media due to fear of failure or spending the time or money that needs to be dedicated to a long-term investment is not the way to get along with a new media channel that is certainly here to stay.  There is no doubt that social media and the web in general will create a shorter term investment as it settles into the norm.

For now, we must invest with patience–and it’s a very small long-term investment to make for what is sure to be a huge ROI in the very near future.  To that end, this is not about “waiting for the best time” –when social media is “well-developed” for immediate ROI.  What form of media DOES provide immediate ROI anyway?  Print ads, news stories etc. — sure, but also fleeting if you don’t keep the advertising going or the PR machine pumping.  Social media is and will be no different than other media channels– it will eventually give way to long-term, consistent return on investment.  Social media, as Bonin Bough says, is here to stay and it is NOT a fad.

Therefore, I believe that every company should now at least have the social media/online persona basics in place.  And the focus should not only be on the main company brand, but also on executive leadership as well as employees.  It will soon be a must for the CEO, CMO, COO etc. (company leadership) to engage with online followers/audience on a regular basis–and having employees engage for the benefit of the company brand is certain to become another key ingredient for all company brands looking for success in the social media space. This will soon be the new reality of marketing and business development.

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All-in with Social Media Yet? It depends …(right?)

Does social media really work? 

As a public relations professional and social media PR producer/manager, I get asked that question all the time, especially as companies big and small and individuals from all sorts of industries and professions jump aboard the social media bandwagon. (It’s as though someone’s built the better mousetrap . . . and everyone wants in).

Of course social media “works,” but what that means varies by business and by individual. It really comes down to the results you desire and your audience. Just because you think social media is a great idea, doesn’t mean they do.

Can social media raise awareness of your company or personal brand?

As a long-term strategy, that’s a big “yes” on both accounts. Of course, you have to work at it, you have to generate quality content, and you have to be vigilant. But the ease with which you can push out posts and blogs and tweets makes social media a natural for creating “buzz” about you and your products or services and for keeping the volume cranked up to a healthy “11.” Plus, it doesn’t cost much to get your feet wet (though I will argue that you get what you pay for: getting your feet wet is quite a stretch from realizing social media’s maximum benefit for your business).

Having said all that, you might feel tempted to toss all of your eggs into the social media basket. Not so fast . . . hear me out.

Despite all that’s been said about it, Social media is not the cure for your every marketing ill. It’s important. It’s powerful. It’s far-reaching. But, really, social media is just another “channel”—a very robust, new, and exciting channel, mind you—through which you can reach out to customers and prospects with relative ease.

Remember when cable TV exploded in the 1980s and 1990s, adding a whole universe of additional niche markets to mine? We didn’t simply drop our traditional TV, print, or radio marketing back then did we? No. At the time, cable TV simply represented another tool in our marketing tool box, one we needed to work with, learn, and “try out” to see how we could use it most effectively. Such is the case nowadays with social media.

For some, social media might comprise the bulk of their marketing efforts; for others, it may be nothing more than an afterthought, a “nice-to-have” but not a necessity. As a business owner or a business professional looking to increase your brand awareness, you need to consider whether social media can produce the kind of return on investment necessary to justify the amount of attention and resources you give it—just as you would with any other marketing tool. How you deploy social media boils down to your target audience, your product or service, and what you determine is the most effective way to reach out and engage your customers and prospects.

  • As an individual, how much time can you dedicate to creating and pushing out the content needed to position you or your company as a thought leader?
  • If you don’t have the time, do you have the resources to hire someone else to execute a social media strategy for you?
  • Once engaged in social media, how can you turn social media traffic into real sales? Getting fans or having someone tag you in a photo is one thing—it means you’ve been noticed—but how can you translate that into new business?
  • What ways can you convert social media traffic into sales traffic . . . or at least bona fide leads?

If these considerations seem vaguely familiar, it’s because they also can be applied to traditional media. Running an ad? What’s your call to call-to-action? Staging an event, what kind of time and resources can you dedicate to it?

You see, social media is really an additional way for prospects to engage in a dialogue with you. Ultimately, you still need to convert them into customers.

For sure, social media needs to be part of the 21st century marketing mix, right alongside the tried and true plus other new media that might be coming down the pike (whatever that might be!). But relying on social media to be your sole means for connecting with your target audience, at the exclusion or the downplaying of everything else, is risky business. Although, yes, it can work for some.  As I look back over the last few years (especially!), social media PR has worked for me quite well, but then again—I’ve paired social media alongside email marketing and old fashioned networking (channels).

I’ve seen many companies and individuals go “all-in” with social media, only to find that it’s not the end all/be all they thought it was—at least not in the short-term. Social media is a great way to increase your visibility over time through consistent blogging and frequent updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites—but getting customers and prospects to buy something from you still takes good old fashion legwork, quality leads, and the ability to deliver on your brand promise . . . and there’s no substitute for that.

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Personal Online and Social Media PR for business executives, professionals and public figures–a new competitive must-have

In today’s new social media and online environment, it’s more important than ever before for the executive suite to small business owner to speaking dynamo to develop and maintain online PR.  Personal public relations–as well as personal branding must beyond the general marketing or launch of a particular service or product brand.

Most new business owners and operators approach this (area) completely backwards–still expecting the company, service, brand…whatever it is to perform on its own.

On new media age, demands executive, business and even political leaders to take the necessary steps to be more in front of consumers and other businesses on a daily basis.  The social media channels and search engines have given business leaders a golden opportunity to get in front of their audience at a much faster pace (over the typical press/media briefing,  print article or even television interviews–not to mention the basic business letter).

Putting a consistent online Personal PR strategy in place along with up-to-date personal branding  is a must-have for just about every executive business manager, leader or owner.

Online Personal Professional PR must include the following to establish and continue to establish the company or brand’s credibility and general PR:

  1. Building a strong online social network audience (target following – in networks that matter to the business/industry)
  2. Creating a strategy that will cultivate followers (SEO development and online network updates to utilizing e-mail, press releases, articles)
  3. Engaging with the targeted audience  (listening and responding)
  4. Sharing knowledge (Pay-it-Forward and “think like Oprah”)
  5. Keeping an audience “glued” to the company brand from a reality perspective–tell quick stories, ask questions (good example: Michael Dell http://twitter.com/MichaelDell)

Naturally this concept is very new, it won’t happen overnight. But personal professional PR (on and off-line) is the wave of the future. Those who are partaking now (even in baby steps) are certainly way ahead of the marketing game.

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Social Media/Online PR for Business Promotion–Don’t Try This at Home…

…if you don’t have the time or experience to produce and manage it (best to leave it to the traditional promoters and publicists of the world).

Online/Social Media is the reality of our world these days–it truly is “new media channel” for personal and business PR, promotion, marketing and advertising. It has also become one of the best new tools for job search and recruiting.

There is absolutely no shortage of social media coaches, seminars and books on this new hot topic. However, these particular platforms can usually only provide a short-term solution or even simply overwhelm those who are new to social and online media production and management. Unfortunately the real work comes into play after the meetings and workshops are over! Social media strategy is one thing, but the implementation and management of it all is a whole other job in itself.

While many companies are slowly embracing this fact (hiring social media managers to work alongside marketing management), most business people may not think of outsourcing this new and very constant personal professional business task!  If you think about it, this type of service may not be so much of a luxury these days, but really MORE of a necessity especially for busy professionals who know they need to be more in tune with their personal online PR and reputation management and who do not have the ability or time to concentrate on it all–above and beyond their core business tasks.

I recently commented on a very good blog post by a “social media expert” who wrote about the five key success points of social media management (or something along those lines). While I agreed with most of what she wrote about, I did not agree with her in regards to the fact that since social media should be handled personally by the person or business that chooses to participate in this new media channel. I commented to her (on the blog) that this “rule” of social media production and management should not always be the case—and for the majority of people who are using online or new media to promote their personal professional brand, service or products.

Social media is no different from traditional media and if you want it to work and provide the best results (ROI), you better have a background in PR or marketing, the experience and ability to produce creative and engaging collateral, the ability to handle crisis management issues (that happens more and more now with new media being so wide open) and the time to manage it all on a consistent basis—or it will absolutely do NOTHING for your personal brand or business.

It’s a shame that there people out there getting other people to believe that a quick seminar or coaching session will help them learn how to be more in synch, and in tune with social media (for their own professional or business brand) and that just because “social media” is based in such an open type of forum (over traditional media), that they MUST produce and manage it all on their own. Even Reality T.V. programs are produced and directed by other people (kidding, but true). Just because social media is online it should not give people the license to think that they can or even should try to handle their online Personal PR initiative—and whether it’s for their own personal or business brand. If also takes a lot of time and effort and it really is a whole other job that should not be taken lightly.

With close to 25 years of PR/marketing experience, I’ve evolved my own professional/business brand into the production and management of social (new) media as it started to surge in the early 2000’s, but I also didn’t dive right into it as an expert! I slowly submerged into it. Believe it or not traditional publicists and marketers are still catching up and trying to infuse new media in with traditional practices. Then there are all the new “social media experts” who usually have limited traditional and basic PR or marketing experience—no one is an expert. Social Media or Online PR as I like to call it is NEW and things change every day–its growth is unprecedented. If anything, the expertise is really more about the ability to stay on course and change and adapt as new techniques, tools and platforms change or come into place and then continue to develop, build and manage it to ensure it creates a return on investment. The expertise falls into place from there.

Staying on top of all the learning and tasking can be overwhelming for most business people–which is why personal web/social media managers can provide a very necessary service to support business professionals in a similar manner to how most celebrity, government official and company brand personas are handled and represented on the web. I actually think that most businesses and professionals need web and social media managers even more so. Many celebrities have the down time to manage their own social media and online PR, but most do not. Being online in a professional manner is also about maintaining reputation and image—which is what a publicist or third-party should always handle as it is.

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LINK BUILDING and Good Content…essential for online/personal PR results!

Too funny, I used my cool new WordPress App on my BlackBerry to write the original version of this post.  The App is great, but (1) I am not used to writing a blog post on my phone (too small of a screen?) and (2) the App is way to fast, I thought I had saved it as a draft, but it posted.  So this is the redo of the original WordPress Blackberry App post (ahhhh the power of technology…).  Okay back to what I wanted to say…

I am ALL ABOUT LINK BUILDING. Content is KING if you are looking for online marketing RESULTS.  Honestly, I have always known this… the key word, meta tag thing just old-fashioned, I mean we still need it (especially in social sites like Twitter), but it’s  really a gamble if you’re looking for search engine placement on an organic level.  Buying the key words will get you the results, but as more people start driving the price of the key words up you will need to pay more and you really don’t have to do that.  Continuing to build your CONTENT.  Think about all the other people using the same exact key words. How do you compete with that?  So the more you post up in the form of articles, blogs, tweets, press releases, photos and video the more content you create and the more votes of confidence you earn from the search engines. The more votes of confidence, the MORE you will be seen and found online. It’s pretty simple, yes, but remember that content must have merit or your audience will not remain.

I have read an incredible eBook (which will be now known as my Link Building Bible) by Back Link Building Guru, Mark Collier. His “Link Building Mastery: How to master the art of link building” provides 86 powerful link building strategies to build thousands of high quality back links to send your site to number 1 on Google (and then some). According to Mark: “Everyone knows that back links are one of the most important search engine ranking factors.” Yet again, the quality of the content is the first priority— and in my mind’s eye quality content is the baseline of online publicity, but without back links your content and your website will never be found.

The Link Building Mastery eBook is a fantastic do-it-yourself guide to will learn how to get:

* Better placement on Google
* More search engine traffic
* Direct traffic (to your website or “main hub’) from people clicking on your links
* A better online reputation
* More direct sales or interest as visitors who come from links pointing to your site are far more likely to buy from or hire you.

Get Mark’s book – a great guide, great read. Well done! If you need a good “go-to” plan, it’s a fantastic ($47) investment!

One last note: The ability to work and communicating online,  does not equate to an ability to market and promote online. This mentality drives me nuts. I drive a car, but I am not a mechanic. Follow me?  The social media “how-to” books, seminars, and coaching service are fine, but my opinion is that if you usually do not handle your own publicity, writing, marketing or promoting and/or you do not have the ability or the time to do what it takes to build and then maintain all of your web content (including websites, blogs, articles, press releases, tweets, updates/micr0 blogs) then it might be a better idea to bring in someone who knows how to connect the dots.  I’m just saying…

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