Renee Prejean-Motanky

Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

The Six Questions You Should Ask to Get a Powerful Testimonial Are:

In Business Strategies, Communications, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, marketing campaign, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on August 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

images

1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product/service?
2. What did you find as a result of buying this product/service?
3. What specific feature did you like most about this product/service?
4. What would be three other benefits about this product/service?
5. Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?
6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

9 TIPS TO HELP YOU GET QUOTED IN THE MEDIA

In Communications, Media Relations, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on July 4, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Media Coverage

First, know the goals and direction of the interview. Is it for the reporter’s background or on the record? Even if it’s a background interview, it can still be a good use of time, as journalists and bloggers tend to return to good sources. If it’s for attribution, assume you aren’t the only one being interviewed and remember what your competitive edge is.

Be prompt. Sometimes even great interviews don’t make it into the story because they blow the editorial deadline. Make sure you know what that deadline is and adhere to it. Journalists work in a dynamic environment, so being included in a story often comes down to being the first to return a reporter’s call.

Be accessible. Don’t speak in buzzwords, acronyms, or technical jargon and, if you must, then explain any terms used succinctly. If you’re being recorded for radio or TV, speak in sound bites, and “headline” your responses by leading with the important information first, then add details and supporting points.

Be contrarian. Don’t feel you have to tow a straight line. Carve out what makes you different, and deliver your point of view in a bold and confident way.

Coin a phrase. Catch phrases and analogies can break through and ensure a successful quote. For example, if you can be the first to call derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction” (as Warren Buffet did) or dub a self-imposed Twitter crisis a “Twimmolation” (ref: TIME Magazine; James Poniewozik), then you’ll probably own the pull quote.

Be colorful. Consider visual metaphors to make your point. Instead of saying your product launch is successful, maybe say it’s a hit of “Beyoncé proportions.” A training program isn’t just the best, it’s the “Show Me the Money” of the category. A competitor’s mission isn’t merely difficult, it’s “changing tires while driving on two wheels.”  You get my drift…

Use statistics. A single, compelling statistic, piece of research, or fact can make a big difference in an interview, because it adds credibility. Pull out your big guns, but use them sparingly.

Go deeper. Spend an extra 10 minutes thinking a level beyond your most logical comment to a topical question or issue. If you can be prepared to share the reasons behind a development, an emerging trend, or a prediction for the future, your quote will stand out.

Reference your own authority. Because your remarks are often subject to editing, it’s a good idea to reference your credentials and to mention your company at least once during the first three responses. But don’t overdo it or you’ll sound like an advertisement rather than an authority.

10 Skills PR Pros Will Need in 2020

In Communications, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

Media Coverage

A year ago on June 12th, Arik Hanson Keynoted  the Puget Sound PSRA Pro Conference. The topic he spoke on — What skills does tomorrow’s PR pro need to be successful? — a topic he knows a thing or two about. Through his business in Minnesota; Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO), he talks, at length, to a number of people about the skills required in today’s marketplace.

That’s not to say that traditional PR skills are dead. On the contrary, they’re more important than ever. But these emerging skills are also critical. And in most cases, they’re simply a layer on top of the traditional skills we’re all so familiar with.

This list is based on conversations Arik has had with recruiters, agency owners, and colleagues over a period of a few years. These are skills many employers are not just looking for—they’re demanding them. More and more, we’ll see this become a trend.
For now, let’s roll through Arik’s list of the 10 skills tomorrow’s PR pro must have to succeed (along with resources and tips):

1. Advertising copywriting

“Tactics I’ve seen include social media management, e-newsletters, Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, and more, and I expect that to increase. Because online advertising is often rooted in messaging rather than creative, it makes sense for PR agencies to drive a lot of it.” – Rachel Kay, owner, RKPR

Resources:Social Fresh Facebook Ad Report

2. Video editing/production

“I predict a large portion of our client budgets will be devoted to creating, editing, and distributing unique company content (blog posts, video interviews, photo albums, etc.). PR professionals will be expected to be savvy with several tools, from social networks to editing software (like Final Cut Pro and PhotoShop) to monitoring and analytics tools (like SM2, Sysomos and Radian6). ” – Anne Buchanan, owner, Buchanan PR

Tip:
“iMovie should be a standard skill that PR pros should be familiar with. Apple offers some great easy tutorials and, of course, free workshops at their stores for Mac owners. Baseline knowledge of Final Cut and even sound editing using Garage Band [is] even better.” – Scott Meis, director, digital strategy, Weber Shandwick.

Resources:
Tom Martin’s 28 ways to use an iPhone for blog content:

3. Mobile

“In the next few years, PR professionals will (hopefully) embrace and start leveraging mobile as part of recommended strategy and daily work. To date, I see too many poor examples of leveraging the medium (lazy slapping on QR codes, for example), and our PR peers not understanding the important nuance that mobile can add to campaigns today.

“Mobile should be a business driver, not a one-off add-on or neutered experience. Unfortunately, much like social media years back, it’s my assumption the PR industry won’t place importance on this channel until our clients start specifically asking for it.” – Greg Swan, vice president of digital strategy, Weber Shandwick

Example:
Mall of America uses QR code event to drive awareness, sales on Black Friday.

Resources:
Follow @aaronstrout and @schneidermike, both of whom are great location-based marketing experts. Or, if that’s too hard, just buy their book, “Location Based Marketing for Dummies.”

4. Social content creation/curation

“I think we’ll begin to own the content piece of digital marketing. Right now, too many executives, marketers, and sales people own it, which creates more sales-y content that doesn’t go anywhere. PR pros, by nature, are storytellers and the content will begin to shift to those who know how to write engaging and valuable content.” – Gini Dietrich, owner, Arment Dietrich

Resources:
Check out Joe Pulizzi’s blog, which is full of great content ideas and strategies. I also think Shel Holtz has some interesting ideas around content curation; he’s a big fan of Storify (which I love as a tool for brands).

5. Analytics

“The PR professional of tomorrow is faced with an unlimited source of data about their key audiences. It will be critical for the PR pro to be able to analyze large amounts of data pertaining to search behaviors, engagement patterns on Facebook and other social platforms and, most importantly, understand how to measure their contribution to the impact of a communications program and business objective(s).

“The time has long since passed where the PR pro can claim ignorance on how to gather, analyze, and develop insights from data. There isn’t an expectation that he/she will be a data analyst, but if he/she isn’t comfortable working with a data analyst then they will be left behind.” – Chuck Hemann, director of analytics, WCG

Resources:
The Google Analytics blog and KD Paine’s Measurement blog are must-reads for those looking to learn more about analytics.

6. Search engine optimization (SEO)

“Unless they’re trying to hide, PR pros must accelerate content discovery & distribution with social & SEO skills.” – Lee Odden, blogger, author, owner, TopRankMarketing

Tip:
Don’t let SEO take over your content.

Resources:
Lee Odden’s Online Marketing blog and SEOMoz are great resources if you’re looking to learn more about SEO.

7. Speed to information

“It’s a lot easier to anticipate opportunities and challenges when you’re aware of them before your competition or detractors.” – Len Kendall, Golin Harris

Tools for content discovery:
Diigo, Google Reader, Evernote, Instapaper

8. Programming skills

“The PR pro of the future (quite frankly, today) will definitely need to have a firm grasp of all the necessary tools to create, manage, and analyze digital content. For example, the ability to manipulate code in a WordPress site or a content management system such as Buddy Media has quickly become a basic requirement.” – Alex Tan, director, digital, Golin Harris

Resources:
CodeAcademy.com is a great resource for the average PR pro looking to learn more about coding. You can get a lesson a week send to you each week for a year to get you started.

9. Managing virtual teams

As more companies allow their employees to work remotely (in fact, some businesses are entirely virtual), the challenge of managing a remote workforce will come to the forefront. How will managers motivate, monitor, discipline, and inspire workers spread across the country, even the world? Not to mention foster engagement among them.

Tip:
Focus on results, not time in the office

Resources:
Check out Workshifting.org for some great posts and tools to help you better manage virtual teams.

10. Blogger outreach

“In PR, one of our core roles is to help brands deliver the right message to the right audience. Media relations is one effective tool. But a number of bloggers are also building strong readership in niche subject areas. If you’re ignoring bloggers, I think you’re doing a disservice to your clients. Pitching bloggers isn’t the same as pitching other kinds of media; however, PR people need to understand how to innovate media-relations best practices and incorporate blogger outreach into their strategies. “ – Heather Whaling, owner, Geben Communication

Tip:
Resist the urge to sell right away

Resources:
Heather Whaling’s PRTini is one of the better and more forward-thinking blogs when it comes to blogger outreach strategies. Subscribe now.

When It Comes To Digital; “Be There or Be Square!”

In Communications, The Internet on June 22, 2011 at 12:31 am

Below is a link to the latest Scott Klososky blog article (Scott is a leading technology futurist and a frequent consultant to a company called “We Simplify the Internet” (WSI,) with whom RPM Marketing is teaming on a project geared toward helping low income older Americans to get online.  It’s a project that truly resonates for me personally because of its importance and potential to have universal impact not only for seniors, but for all underserved populations.  RPM is proud to be involved.

This article is speaking to business leaders, but the underlying message is relevant to everyone: “embrace and leverage the latest technologies or be at a staggering disadvantage to those who do.”  

“Since the caveman days, the species with the best use of tools has dominated. Many centuries ago technology (starting with the development of metals and gun powder) changed the political fortunes of the countries, or despots that wielded them. In the business world for the past 50 years, companies that adopted new technologies before their competitors prospered.”  “Today, while some companies are stalled with just a website or are still trying to figure out Facebook and Twitter, others are on to Online Reputation Management, Social CRM, Crowdsourcing, and building Rivers of Information.”

As Gary Smith, digital consultant at WSI, so aptly pointed out; “When it comes to the Digital World;” as the old saying goes, “be there or be square!”

http://www.technologystory.com/2011/06/13/trd-–-do-it-or-strangle-slowly-part-one/

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10 Reasons Why Your Network Is Your Greatest Asset

In Business Development, Communications, marketing, Social Media on June 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

An individual’s greatest asset is his/her network. The network that’s an asset is the one made up of real relationships.

Facebook and Twitter have no value if you don’t use them properly.  In looking at profiles on these social media for a number of large and small businesses, I’ve observed that most of them aren’t going about it in the right way. Businesses jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons with the hope of generating sales. They load their news feeds with sales plugs and expect   “friends” to buy whatever they’re selling. They use Twitter to make announcements rather than to engage conversation.

The right way to use social media is to focus on building relationships. Wish friends and fans “Happy Birthday”; “Like” their statuses, share information and even provide  useful content that’s OUTSIDE of your business area of expertise to help them out (for example: share an interesting news item, a great sale on computer equipment, a super auto repair shop, great business tips, etc.). Show that your thread is useful and that you are there to connect with them, not simply sell them something and you will see results.

DON’T create a business profile and start adding people as friends – users hate this. Get to know your privacy settings and use your personal profile as the “face” of your company.

Below is a list from Steve Tobak of BNET on what you stand to gain from building a great network:

  1. Introductions. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in need of venture capital or a marketing VP looking for the best PR firm, you’re more likely to find it through your network than by any other means.
  2. Opportunities. Over a 30-year career, most of my major career and business opportunities came from my network. Business associates, friends of friends, casual conversations, business meetings, social events, whatever. But you’ve got to pay attention.
  3. Sorting out thorny problems. Anyone who thinks they’ve never met a work problem they can’t resolve has never been a CEO. The problem with problems is that they keep getting escalated until there’s nowhere left to go. The buck has to stop somewhere. And getting a fellow exec to help sort out a monster problem is a big plus.
  4. Recruiting. Perhaps the most critical job of any manager is to hire talented people, and the best place to find them is through your network. And not just for direct reports, but also for recommendations on peers, key employees, board members, you name it.
  5. Ideas. I don’t know about you, but most of my best ideas come from bouncing them around with like-minded people.
  6. Competitive intelligence. It’s a big, hairy global market and smart executives dig for competitive intelligence. Much of that info comes from sales and marketing, but where do you think they get it from? That’s right, their network.
  7. Sensitive issues. Top executives often face sensitive issues they can’t discuss with others at the company. Sometimes they just need an outside perspective from another CEO. For example, some of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s friends are Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Mark Hurd (when he was CEO of H-P, as well). Makes sense, doesn’t it?
  8. Seeing the big market picture. A huge component of any manager’s success is her ability to anticipate significant market changes. While nobody has a crystal ball, if you get enough anecdotal data from enough sources, you can get a pretty good picture of what’s going on.
  9. Moral support. Business is full of tradeoffs. Rarely are critical and complex issues black and white. When top execs wrestle with gray issues, it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone for advice and support.
  10. You don’t know what you don’t know. While there are exceptions, know-it-alls don’t typically get ahead. Smart managers know what they don’t know and that means they depend very much on comparing notes with others in their network.

Is your network your biggest asset?

Related articles
 
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Once Again, Seth Godin Says It Perfectly!

In Communications, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on December 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm

THE INEVITABLE DECLINE DUE TO CLUTTER

by: Seth Godin

Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.

As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.

One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn’t work any more.

In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

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Type Tells a Story…once again Seth Godin hits a homerun

In Business Strategies, Communications, marketing on January 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm

iPod logotype rendered in Myriad Pro SemiboldThe typography you use sends a message… that’s Seth Godin‘s message today. I can’t make that point often enough or better than Seth did in his message today, so I’m sending you there:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/type-tells-a-story.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fsethsmainblog+%28Seth%27s+Blog%29

or if you’d rather just read his message here:

Type tells a story

If you write it down, we’re going to judge it.

Not just the words, we’re going to judge you even before we read the words. The typography you use, whether it’s a handwritten note or a glossy brochure, sends a message.

Some typefaces are judged in a similar way by most people you’re addressing (Times Roman in a Word document or Helvetica on a street sign or Myriad Pro on a website) but even when you choose something as simple as a typeface, be prepared for people to misunderstand you.

If you send me a flyer with dated, cheesy or overused type, it’s like showing up in a leisure suit for a first date. If your website looks like Geocities or some scammy info marketer, I won’t even stay long enough to read it.

Like a wardrobe, I think a few simple guidelines can save amateurs like us a lot of time:

1. Invest some time and money up front to come up with a house style that actually looks the way you want it to, one that tells the story you want to tell. Hire a designer, put in some effort. A headline font, a body font, one or two extras. That’s your outfit, just like the four suits you rotate through your closet.

2. “What does this remind you of?” No need to be a pioneer (unless that’s the story you want me remember). Find a combination of typefaces that remind your chosen audience of the sort of organization you want to remind them of. Hint: italic wedding invitation fonts in the body of your email remind me of nothing except other people who have wasted my time…

3. Be consistent. Don’t change it when you get bored. Don’t change it when your staff gets bored. Change it when the accountant and marketing guys tell you it’s not working any longer.

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Delivering a Great Presentation — Ten How-to’s

In Business Development, Communications on November 6, 2009 at 1:48 am
Microsoft PowerPoint
Image via Wikipedia

Finding a personal style and feeling comfortable as a presenter comes with experience. Nothing can boost your business like being able to present well. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t born without the presentation gene. I have no idea why, but for me and many others, getting up in front of folks to talk isn’t easy!

 If you’ve ever sat through a presentation that was so bad it felt like torture, you understand how painful a bad one can be….you know those with a bezillion PowerPoint slides that the presenter just reads?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, however, if you’ve ever experienced a presentation that was so good it motivated you..maybe even changed your life, you know that’s the kind of presentation one should strive to deliver!  As a presenter, you can either open a door or set up a roadblock to growth – your growth, that is!

So what should you do?

Steve Tobak, a 20+ year high-tech industry veteran and former senior executive of a number of public and private companies. has been professionally trained as a presenter and he has had a few decades of practice. Here’s what I learned from him:

1. Developing the pitch. Start with your main point of view and a handful of take-aways. Then build a storyboard around that, one slide per thought. Keep the number of slides down and allow a few minutes per slide.  
2. The icebreaker. Start with something to break the tension (yours and theirs): a welcome gesture, an engaging or humorous anecdote, graphic or video, or some combination of those. Keep it relevant and appropriate. Don’t tell a joke.  
3. The old axiom. Old advice, but it works: First tell the audience what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.
4. If you Use slides, Don’t read what’s on the slide. Know the pitch cold (without having to look except for a brief cue) and speak in your own words. If you actually want the audience to read what’s on a slide, look at it and read silently along with them (only rarely.)
5. Engage the audience. Ask questions. If they don’t respond, try offering an answer and asking for a show of hands. Make the audience part of the experience.
6. Be accessible. Don’t stand behind a podium. Use a wireless microphone if one is needed. Get close to the audience and move from place to place while maintaining eye contact. Don’t overdo it and bounce around like a ping-pong ball. This will be distracting!
7. Pause for effect and emphasis. Practice being comfortable with silence for two or three seconds. It’s the most dramatic way to make a point. Avoid “ahs”,” uhs”, and other verbal crutches used to fill uncomfortable silence; they’re annoying and detract from the message.
8. Make eye contact. But only for a few seconds per person. Too short and you’ll fail to engage; too long and it becomes uncomfortable. Don’t bounce your eyes around constantly.
9. Use hand gestures. They’re engaging and interesting. But when you’re not, keep your hands at your sides. Don’t fidget, hold onto things, or put your hands in front of you, behind you, or in your pockets. Avoid nervous habits.
10. Don’t block the audience’s view. Don’t step in front of the screen or block it from view, except for the occasional walk-across. Gesture with your hand, but don’t touch the screen. Don’t use a pointer unless you must.

Very few of us are natural presenters; it takes practice. So stand in front of the mirror and practice, videotape yourself presenting to an empty conference room, or get someone with experience to watch you and provide feedback. If you can afford to hire a coach, do it. 

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The 7 Best Tools Used by Top Social Networking Sites

In Business Development, Communications, Social Media on July 7, 2009 at 6:02 am
LOGO2.0 part I
Image by Stabilo Boss via Flickr

Following are some great features that the top Social Networking (SN) sites currently use to stay on top:

 

1.) Ajax based tag suggestions – Fluther.com


This is where when you start typing something into an input box, a little drop down window immediately appears which basically shows some suggested tags which it pulls from its database of existing tags as you type each letter. The more you type, the more accurate the suggested tags get.  

Fluther.com uses this feature. The reason the feature is so useful is that most SN sites use tagging but very few offer tag suggestions. example, if I’m posting an article about “Web design”, I might add the following tags: webdesign, Web design, website, websites, web-design, Web development….Anyway, you get the point!

Fluther suggestions help eliminate the guess work over whether you’re using the best tags, over-tagging or  under-tagging to ensure search engine optimization.

2.) Get users to promote for you – Stumbleupon.com
StumbleUpon is an Internet community that allows its users to discover and rate Web pages, photos, and videos. It is a personalized recommendation engine which uses peer and social-networking principles. Web pages are presented when the user clicks the “Stumble!” button on the browser toolbar.

 StumbleUpon chooses which Web page to display based on the user’s ratings of previous pages, ratings by his/her friends, and by the ratings of users with similar interests. Users can rate or choose not to rate any Web page with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and clicking the Stumble button resembles “channel-surfing” the Web.

Install the Stumbleupon toolbar and start stumbling!”

3.) Sell limited positions as category sponsors to marketers – Blogcatalog.com
This is a way that sites can monetize traffic. It’s a tactic that it provides a service to site users by providing ‘validated’ listings as well as makes the continuation of site services more viable.  

It is a derivative of the user-generated/rated content movement that’s relevant enough and provides enough of a service to keep it as a resource. Think of it in the same vein as Ebay’s sponsored listings or any other form of marketing – Successful Ebay vendoers (meaning those who are doing the right thing to remain successful) can afford to pay for advertising so, theoretically, this moderately ‘validates’ them.  It does, however, also provide an avenue for spammers.

4.) Force “legitimate” friendships – Stumbleupon.com
Let’s face it – none of us have 500+ real friends!  MySpace is notorious for “friend” abuse. My niece has a bazillion “friends” on MySpace!  In principle, I suppose one can understand the ideal, but the reality is that it waters down the value of the community  

Stumbleupon allows 200 friends, max. In order to become friends with someone, you first must find another user and add them as your friend.  But before you actually become their friend, you’re added as a “fan” of theirs….basically you become a groupie… until they confirm you as their friend. At that point you become “mutual friends.” Stumbleupon allows you to have unlimited fans but, as an individual, you cannot have more than a combined total of 200 “mutual friends” and you are a fan of. This forces you to be selective.  In the Stumbleupon community, it’s considered better to have more “mutual friends” than people you are a fan of.

LinkedIn guards against “friend” abusers to an even greater extent. Their friend system is very tight. You can’t send a message to someone or request they become friends with you unless you actually know them & have their e-mail address or someone can facilitate an introduction.  But it’s still up to the individual to respond and accept/deny the “friend” request.

5.) True integration with other web services – Facebook.com
Facebook’s new application platform has raised the bar – way up. Facebook’s popularity is growing at an increasingly greater rate than MySpace. 

There is a library of, literally, hundreds of unique applications available that integrate with Facebook.  My Facebook page is set up to automatically post my blogs and tweets to my profile.  They show up in my newsfeed as well as in all of my friend’s news feed pages. It’s quite effective.

6.) Allow filtering content through friends – Digg.com
Digg is, technically, a “Social News” site, there are, however, some features that are important. Digg actually has a reputation for being run by a handful of people who all dig each other’s stuff exclusively! This doesn’t mean that Digg’s ‘friend’ system isn’t useful. What seems to be the best approach on Digg in order to get fresh content that’s filtered more specifically for an individual’s interests is this:

  1. find an article that appeals to you;
  2. look at the profile of the person who submitted it
  3. then look at the articles they have submitted in the past.
  4. If they appeal to you, ‘friend’ them. 

What will happen next is that when you’re looged in and on any category page on Digg, you’ll see a link to view that “Friend’s activity in the last 48 hrs.”  If you’ve “friended” the right folks, you’ll discover a pretty specialized list of information and posts.

7.) Have a visually appealing website
I’m talking professional grade and geared for socializing. Pay attention to detail, but keep the design simple & fresh. Concentrate on usability if your goal is to out survive the competition.  

Allowing users control over their profile’s appearance is a great idea as long as it’s done properly. I’d advocate for less control than MySpace but more than Facebook. If you use embedded videos & music on your site, remember not to set the audio player default to auto play.

Have you discovered more tools that you like?  Please share by adding your comments.

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BUSINESS APPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA OR…as a recent study by SocialMedia Today put it; “separating the Biz from the Buzz”

In Business Development, Communications, marketing, Social Media on July 3, 2009 at 3:12 am
My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

The rapid rise in popularity of social media has been underestimated.  Companies have been using social media mostly as a general communication tool…primarily for public relations. But a shift is coming in how organizations use social media as businesses begin to discover the value of social media as an essential tool for generating leads and for keeping arms around customers through interaction with them.

In our current economic downturn where the customer pool is diminishing exponentially, finding customers and engaging with them have moved up the priority scale.  Social media is a powerful and persuasive tool.  What better example to cite than the recent election of the President of the United States?

There is, however, a glut of social media vehicles to choose from and all are getting lots of media coverage (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, My Space, etc.)  All are somewhat ubiquitous and I’d like to see demographic and psychographic data on users indicating the unique audience components to each service.  Each of them tout different features. That’s the researcher in me.  It’s not easy to understand which way to go or, for that matter, how to use them to advantage. 

For RPM Marketing, my company, it’s difficult to say that I get more value from one than the other, though. I’ve found that if you want to utilize social media successfully as a marketing tool to grow your business, then you have to use social media sites and tools in the same ways that your customers do, and for the same reasons. You also have to accept the community’s rules, you can’t make your own. Social media isn’t a one-way promotional channel, it’s a many-way interaction/communication channel. The key, as always, is Audience. You’ve got to know who you’re talking to.

I’ve been on LinkedIn for a while now and I’d say it’s where you go to network for business. It’s a great way to see who knows who so that you can leverage existing business relationships.

A couple of good ways to use LinkedIn as a tool are:
1. Answer Questions. The more substantive your answer is, the more likely folks will want to connect with you.
2. Ask Questions. By asking questions that generate a lot of responses you can identify “qualified prospects” in many arenas. It takes thought and creativity on the part of the asker.

I’m new to “tweeting,” (still making my observatons) and I can only offer initial impressions. On Twitter, the ability for an idea or thought or message to generate a huge following is fascinating. Since the emphasis on Twitter is brevity (A post can’t be longer than 140 characters) it’s important to learn the lingo—lots of abbreviations to become familiar with. Twitter is a world filled with sound bites that either capture your interest or not. I have found that it’s a great way to create a following, direct Web traffic, build brand recognition, and get feedback from all over the place.

I personally like Facebook and log into it every day, sometimes two or three times! I have found it extremely useful to keep in touch with and reconnect with my personal network. Creating an online profile to inform your personal network of what it is that you’re doing and/or creating “Groups” that you solicit your network to participate in can be a useful means of driving traffic and it can be a great publicity tool for a small business or for a specific business unit within a larger business provided that individual employees, NOT corporate officials are the ones posting.

I’m experimenting with Facebook now. Facebook traffic has been increasing steadily, currently taking the position as the ninth most popular domain in the U.S., accounting for 1% of all Internet visits —  Facebook has also moved the bar up…way up, with it’s integration of other software applications (at the user’s discretion) into its model!

A recent study conducted by Social Media Today 1. endeavors to provide guidance to managers regarding which  functions of social media are actually useful in business by measuring which vehicles are being used right now and by whom. The survey was conducted of its members and visitors who are actively involved professionally in social media.

A look at what other businesses are doing can offer valuable perspective.  To read the full white paper:  http://www.socialmediatoday.biz/separatingthebizfromthebuzz

 

 

1.     Social Media Today is an online community focused on issues in the social media world.

 

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