I had an interesting conversation with Steve Gershik who writes Innovative Marketer the other day. We discussed his recent post, “An open letter to PR agencies…” which highlighted some of his frustrations over a recent PR agency search. For me, I come from the PR agency background. I truly support PR and want to see PR agencies succeed. But unfortunately, since going in-house, I have to agree with Steve’s points.
In the end, I want a successful partnership (stress partnership here). But in order to do this, you need to be honest with me regarding your workloads and what is truly possible. This way, we can set the right expectations for success. Which leads me to
Referrals are key…
In this economy, referrals are worth their weight in gold. The expectations are higher when you’re referred by a person I trust or I’ve worked with you in the past. But don’t waste this opportunity. If you do poorly in front of my executives, it looks bad for you, me and the person who referred you. In the end, I’ll never refer you again. So bring in your A game and do 150% if you’re referred to me. But one word of caution
Respect My Process
People like Steve and I are managing entire marketing programs. For me, I cannot manage the vetting process from beginning to end so I work with my colleagues to help me in the process. Don’t try to circumvent that process by trying to reach me directly. In fact, you may lose the business as a result. And for PR agencies, would you go around a reporter to the editor becuase you thought the reporter was too slow? I guess it depends but you would think twice before doing that becuase of the remifications, right?
What do you think? Are there any other points to consider?
During Web 20 I had a very interesting conversation with John Welsh of UMB Live. He mentioned (and has a post) that he blocks anyone not directly related to social media and his direct interests from following his tweets. This is in direct contrast to the recent CNN and Ashton Kutcher race to 1 Million followers.
For John, this enables him to know exactly who everyone is and provides a higher quality community. While this makes sense I’m not sure about blocking everyone. In my case, I don’t mind who follows me as this doesn’t IMPACT me versus if I “followed” all of these folks.
What is you goal?
I think it comes down to what your goal is. For John having higher quality is important. For a celebrity like Ashton this provides a direct link to his fans. For me, my goal is to educate people on marketing, public relations and social media.
For B2B Businesses I think you have to strike a balance. I would recommend blocking any blatant “spam” accounts and being selective on who you follow.
But my competitors…
Some have asked about blocking competitors. While you can block them from following you, you can’t stop them from searching on you and getting those updates. In the end, Twitter is a public avenue for connecting with people and engaging in an open dialogue. I think private Twitter defeats that purpose.
If you’re concerned about competitive issues, then don’t use Twitter. That’s frankly what instant messaging and email are for.
Conclusions: Block with a strategy in mind
As with everything you need to fully consider your strategy for Twitter and how blocking followers with this. Furthermore, blocking may have a negative impact if you accidentally block someone from your target audience. I’m going to take the conservative approach. I will begin blocking anyone blatantly a spammer (britneyspearsbuzz watch out!) but will keep everyone else.
What do you think – to block or not block is the question?
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While we all know Southwest as the no frills, low cost airline, I am starting to see them as an airline that delights in being different. This is evidenced by the employees but most evidently via the safety talk mandatory on each flight.
The Five Minute Experience
You know what I’m talking about. By the fifth or sixth time you tune out “the exit rows are located … blah blah blah.” What southwest does is turn these four to five minutes to create a memorable experience. Whether through ad lib jokes and one-liners to the rapping intro, each are designed to communicate a clear message about southwest – we’re different than the other guys.
I learned from my flight attendant that these are not scripted (though there is a song book). They are a collection of jokes and topical items that each flight provides.
So in five minutes, Southwest took a normally “dead” time to entertain a captive audience, create an experience completely unique to this airline (others would be seen as copy cats) while delivering important safety information.
Isn’t that what we all try to do with our marketing efforts? What can you do with five minutes?
First, let me tell you, reading this book made me tired and glad that I’m part of Generation X. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0 and personal branding guru, that personal branding is more important than ever to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
I’m just amazed at how much Dan has done all by the age of 25!
Personal Branding – Not Just for Millennials
Me 2.0 is book that highlights Dan’s success in personal branding, providing a blueprint for identifying, creating, and harnessing the key elements of a personal brand. Though Dan is a millennial, many of the points in his book are relevant to individuals of any generation.
College students – how to differentiate yourself from the crowd, create the opportunity for your job future and secure the job of your dreams
Recently laid off – how to leverage social media to create your digital persona and brand while judiciously networking to find the opportunities right for you
Everyone else – how to take your passion and become a rock star
Three Questions for Dan
1) Your book gives a lot of advice on personal branding. How do you maintain the balance of networking without seeming too aggressive?
Successful networking comes from viewing it as a long term relationship, instead of a one night stand. I used to force relationships to try and get press and that failed miserably. Now, I’m older, wiser and more experienced, so I know that the people you give value you to help first, will support you right back.
2) Over the past few months, the unemployment rate has increased dramatically in the US. If you could add another chapter in Me 2.0 to address the number of unemployed workers out there, what would you add and why?
I wouldn’t really add anything. The same advice is going to apply regardless. The key is the build up your online assets as much as you can before you need to leverage them for a job or another opportunity. This means getting thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, contacts on LinkedIn, etc. It’s another way of saying “you should network before you need to.”
3) With technology changing so quickly, what do envision as the next area for personal branding?
Personal branding is all about the individual. While technology rapidly changes, personal brands stay consistent. I see us having new technologies in the future that let us interact at even faster rates than Twitter. In turn, they will make us even more productive and force us to be more cautious about what we put online.
While I don’t believe that social media will get you the job, I believe reading Dan’s book will ensure that you’re noticed in the right way for your dream job.
As I mentioned in my post about tips for your youtube video, I am experimenting more with the power of video. When possible, I will interview interesting individuals and their marketing (this includes social media and public relations) campaigns. My inaugural video is with Jeff Stai, Owner of the Twisted Oak Winery. He is known as @eljefetwisted on Twitter and El Jefe on the El Bloggo Torcido (Twisted Oak blog).
Jeff is a very personable guy and I think this personality is the key to his winery’s success. He has developed a loyal following of wine lovers (I’m a new fan) through social media. To me, the net net of Jeff’s success is that social media allowed him to connect with his fans and create a community that is engaged with the winery.
Isn’t that what ALL of us are trying to do with marketing?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting more with video. It’s visual and can communicate a lot in a short span of time. I want to share three tips that I’ve learned over the past few weeks for your http://www.YouTube.com/ videos.
The Quality Vs. Content Dilemma
There are two camps on the quality of the video versus the content. Some insist that the video be high-production quality while others (like me) believe that slighter lower quality with good content is fine. I prefer the latter because I’ve seen videos held up because of delays with production. By the time the video is “production quality,” you may have missed an opportunity to lead with quality content.
I argue that as long as you have quality content, your viewers are willing to sacrifice a little quality.
When doing a video, the spokesperson is just as important as the content. You may have the best content but if the person is unable to deliver it convincingly and in an engaging way, people may stop the video and go elsewhere.
Distributing the Video
The last part is how to distribute your video. I’ve personally defaulted to YouTube and I believe that YouTube is becoming a place for business videos too. For those who may not want to watch the video, consider writing an accompanying post that summarizes the key points. Instead of a social media press release, I recommend issuing a press release that points to a page that has the video on your website alongside with other relevant content.
Since starting my new job, I haven’t had much time to devote to my blog. To me, video may be a way for me to capture my thoughts and introduce you to folks in the industry as well. Let’s see how this works. What do you think? Do you like the videos or prefer my written posts?
Side Note – Flip mini HD
So I just bought the Flip mini HD to post higher quality video while not breaking the bank. I like the little camera, but I thought I had uploaded a HD quality video. Because the Flip software doesn’t have many editing options,I imported the video to the Windows Movie Maker program that came with my computer. The video played well on my computer but I lost something as it was uploaded. I think I may take a page from my friend John Welsh, who just records and posts the whole video without any editing.
Per a press release by Sirius Decisions, the research finds that best-in-class companies are “…rejecting a ‘defensive posture’ by still working to close deals or at least lay groundwork for future business despite buyer anxiety and retrenchment,” notes Alden Cushman, SiriusDecisions’ research director and benchmarking analyst.”
The goal is to position the company for when the economic upswing happens. Key points in the release included.
- 44 percent to reduce marketing spend for 2009
- 25 percent will report flat spending
- Spending on advertising will decline by 17 percent and events down by 12 percent
- Focus is moving from lead generation to lead maturation
Next steps for your marketing efforts
What does this mean for you?
* Be very clear about who your target audience is and what influences this audience to make a purchase decision which means
* Refine your definition of a “sales-ready” lead by communicating with your sales team
* Create an aggressive lead nurturing program to move prospects through the funnel to deliver “sales-ready” leads to your salesforce
* Take this opportunity to leapfrog your competition by investing in areas that will increase your company’s awareness and value proposition to your key audiences
What other recommendations would you make?
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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