Browsing articles tagged with " Public Relations"
Jan 18, 2009
csalomonlee

Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites

facebook

linkedin

 Update: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.  

This is the third post in a 6 part series on how to use social media. In this third installment, I highlight how yoru can participate in social networking sites.

Social Networking Sites

Marketers are seeking to break into several social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. From my perspective, there seems to be two popular models right now – create a group or fan page or participate in existing communities (what Jeremiah Owyang calls “fishing where the fish are“). The former requires dedication to manage the community and ensure that there is fresh content. The latter requires participation in a group without the onus of owning that community.

And while I believe social media should be an integral part of B2B marketing, the reality is that this takes a concerted effort and time. As such, I recommend aligning your efforts with the latter strategy until more staff or focus can be given to the former. While there are different communities to join, LinkedIn has some benefits that you should consider.

Why? I hate to say this, but frankly, of all the social networking sites, organizations can be overtly salesy on LinkedIn. I know, I know – that isn’t the point. So let me be clear, I DON’T RECOMMEND THAT YOU SELL FROM THE PLATFORM. Rather, apply the same rules you would apply elsewhere – be transparent of who you are and offer valuable information. So even when others are being blatantly self-promotional, you and your company are seen as contributory. You’ll see what I mean below.

LinkedIn Specifics

LinkedIn AnswersWith that said, here are the aspects of LinkedIn that I recommend:

  • LinkedIn Answers: Monitor questions for topics that are you related to your company. When appropriate, respond to relevant questions to position you and your company as an industry expert. There will be instances when you can recommend your company as a prospective vendor. Again, you have to be careful that you’re not too self-promotional as your answer can be flagged as inappropriate. Overall, LinkedIn Answers is a good way to provide brand awareness for your company. And since LinkedIn Answers are searchable, your responses may appear in Google search results.

  • Groups: There are numerous groups within LinkedIn. It’s important to research specific groups as some may be more self-promotional than others. I recommend seeking groups with audiences that are relevant to your company and have good participation by its members. Once you join a group, monitor the discussions before fully participating.

    • Group Questions: Like LinkedIn Answers, each group incorporates this same functionality. By responding or asking questions in a group, you position your company as an industry expert to a targeted audience relevant to your business.

    • News: You can submit article links, like Facebook Share, that are relevant to the groups. In addition to blog posts, you can submit general news articles that mention your company or are relevant to your industry. You can also consider submitting submit press releases. While this is slightly self-promotional, make sure the article or press release discusses a larger trend of interest to the group.

  • Events: LinkedIn recently introduced a way for members to post events. If you have a webinar, in-person seminar or other gathering that you want to promote, LinkedIn events is a place to promote it. What I liked is that they have an option for “virtual events” as well. You can then share this event with your contacts as well as be searchable by other LinkedIn members. One drawback, in case you have to cancel the event, there doesn’t seem to be a way to delete the event.

Conclusion

Overall, LinkedIn is a great way to position your company or company spokesperson as an industry expert, while increasing brand awareness with key audiences. Your participation can also have competitive advantages as well when potential sales leads are researching and evaluating vendors.

And if you or a colleague is dedicated to moderating an online community, consider setting up your own group. HubSpot has done an excellent job at setting up their own group, moderating the group and finding synergy with their Facebook presence as well. 

Other posts in the series:

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds

 

Jan 14, 2009
csalomonlee

Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds

twittergoogleUpdate: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.  

This is the second post in a 6 part series on using social media. In this second installment, I look at search feeds. 

 

Search Feeds

There are several tools that you can use to monitor your company. I previously wrote about Trackur, but I prefer to use search feeds via Google and Twitter Search – at least for now.  

I recommend using a reader to have a single place for reviewing your feeds through the day vs. having mutliple emails in your inbox.  

  • Online Reputation Management: With search feeds, this helps you to track mentions of your company throughout the Web, in blogs and Twitter. Depending on the content of the blog posting or tweet, consider commenting or tweeting back respectively. While the response may be a couple of hours or even a few days later, people appreciate that you have responded. It demonstrates that you’re listening to your audiences.

  • Competitive Intelligence: While you set up feeds for your company, also set up feeds for your competitors’. This way, you can stay on top of any media, blog or tweet mentions regarding your competitor. And when appropriate, participate in the converation with your company’s perspective or introduce your company to the blogger and twitterer.

  • Industry Trends: Set up searches for key terms within your industry. This will help you to stay on top of industry trends that you can share with your colleagues or uncover additional reporter/bloggers/twitterers within the industry.

Conclusion

Setting up RSS feeds with specific search keywords is an easy way to monitor your company’s online reputation while keeping tabs on your competition. The search results can also uncover new reporters and bloggers who may be interested in your company, further expanding your relationships with key influencers.

Other posts in the series:

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

Jan 12, 2009
csalomonlee

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

twitterUpdate: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.  

There has been a lot written about how to use social media and what the ROI is from using the various tool. Instead of trying to reach all audiences, I view social media as another communications avenue to expand the reach of your company’s specific audiences and customers. 

 

If I was in an agency, I would list my key objectives and list the tools that would help accomplish these objectives. Since I’m not, I did what was easiest – listing the different tools I use and bullet pointing how each helps me. See how lazy I got going in-house…=)

 

I originally was going to have one post but I realized this would be too long. As such, I will have a multi-part series focusing on one segment of separate tools. In this first installment, a look at microblogging.

 

Twittering a Twhirl

twhirl-logo

I use Twitter as my main microblogging platform, with Twhirl to manage personal and corporate accounts. Check out my previous post on Twhirl for more information. 

 

  • Brand awareness: Twitter is gaining traction as viable avenue for brand awareness. I anticipate seeing more company brands using Twitter as a viable communications vehicle. Similar to a website, they will need to have a Twitter handle; otherwise, we’ll start seeing “Twittersquatting” happening.
  • Customer Engagement: Twitter is another way for your company to connect and engage with customers by following the customer’s brand, a specific department or individual for updates. This is especially true if your customers tend to be early adopters of technology. I recommend responding to appropriate tweets, especially when your company is mentioned or if people are discussing a related topic.
  • Industry Conversations: I recommend following key individuals, such as reporters, analysts and industry luminaries, who are relevant to your company. In this way, you can keep a pulse of topics important to them and provide insight from your company’s perspective.
  • Competitive Intelligence: Consider following individuals from competitive companies. This is one way for monitoring what competitors are doing and who they may be speaking with.
  • Corporate Marketing: And I purposely put this last. The first tendency is to only tweet updates about what your company is doing – new webinars, white papers, etc. While this is important, you need to balance this with tweets about industry topics that would be of interest to your followers or links to interesting articles. Remember, participate in conversations. It’s not a one-way marketing channel.  

Conclusion

While microblogging is still “new” to many marketers and public relationships professionals, it is quickly becoming a de facto need like a website. Since microblogs are bite-sized updates, a more intimate environment is created between the Twitterer and her followers.

 

A company that engages its audiences with microblogging can further increase its brand awareness, while creating a stronger community.

 

Retweet this Link

To make is easy for you to tweet this on Twitter, copy and paste this snippet:

RT – Using social media. Part – microblogging: http://twurl.nl/rorux8

 

technorati tags: Marketing Social Media Twitter Twhirl Online Reputation Management Brand Customer Competitive Intelligence PR Public Relations
del.icio.us tags: Marketing Social Media Twitter Twhirl Online Reputation Management Brand Customer Competitive Intelligence PR Public Relations
icerocket tags: Marketing Social Media Twitter Twhirl Online Reputation Management Brand Customer Competitive Intelligence PR Public Relations

 

All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

Jan 6, 2009
csalomonlee

What are YOUR Top Three Marketing Challenges for 2009

dollarsign I recently asked a question on LinkedIn about what were the top three challenges that marketers faced in 2009. The responses were varied and unexpected in many ways. Based on those responses, I believe the following will be the top three marketing challenges in the coming year:

Budget Woes

Budget is definitely one concern for marketers. As companies reduce their budgets for 2009, this may limit on what marketers can do with their programs. Investments may be kept to a minimum while ROI on tactics will be scrutinized more.

Despite budget woes, marketers will have to increase company visibility within the industry and amongst customers. SEM/SEO, public relations, social media and other perceived “inexpensive” tactics will be used more by marketers.

Customers Rule

Now more than ever, customers are in the driver’s seat. More vendors are chasing an ever limited number of customers and budgets. Customers can wring out more value per dollar spent. In 2009, the challenge will be cost-effectively reaching those customer with money to spend. The challenge is not overwhelming these customer with too much information or using social media in such a way to create customer backlash (credit to Linda Franklin for this insight).

In the end, it’s about keeping customers LOYAL to YOUR company, products and services.

Getting More out of Less

Inevitably, there will be some layoffs or organizational restructuring that will happen, if not already completed. That means those remaining will have to do more with less. Do more marketing. Drive move leads. Place more media stories. All with less.

Most importantly, marketing organizations that are able to strategically align all functions toward the same objective will reap the rewards. While this isn’t something revolutionary, it resonates more now than ever. Those companies who can communicate a clear brand and message to the marketplace and customers will be well positioned as we come out of this downturn.

Conclusions

This isn’t the first time, or the last time, we will see an economic downturn. I may be trivializing this but in the end, it comes down to results – who can do what with the most results for the least amount of money.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What are you recommendations?

Dec 30, 2008
csalomonlee

Case Study, Media Opps and More – Getting a Customer to Yes

yes-man-movie-poster1Customer participation in your marketing and PR efforts provides validation of your products and services. While you may have many satisfied customers, getting them to YES is one of the challenges we face as marketers.

 

 

Here are some tips that have been helpful for me to not only identify these customers but to get them to YES! 

Sales is your friend: A happy customer is more likely to renew contracts. Believe me, sales will know who these folks are and can point you to the right contact or make the initial introductions. As long as you’re providing something of value to the customer, sales will support as much as they can.

Engage customers: Engage customers as part of a strategic, white glove outreach program. This way, you engaged in a conversation about their programs and provide another contact for the customer. Otherwise, you’re just constantly asking for a favor.

Listen, listen, listen: This is very key. Engagement is more than talking at a customer. It requires the ability to listen and respond to your customer.

Highlight the benefits: Once you’ve engaged the customer, and depending on the implementation, highlight the benefits of participating in the customer program, such as increased brand awareness, positive positioning, etc. If your customer contact is career minded, then mention how marketing and PR can raise their profile within their industry.  

 

Be sensitive to their day-to-day demands: Ok, let’s assume that your customer is open to doing PR/marketing. It’s important to confirm what types of activities he or she is open to doing, such as a testimonial, media opportunity or case study, and how often. The last thing you want to do is embark on a case study but the client is too busy to review or approve the final draft. And being aware of availability will help you to prioritize PR/marketing requests. 

These are just a few suggestions that you can consider. Are there others that you’ve used to get a customer to participate in your programs?

Dec 23, 2008
csalomonlee

Let the 2009 Trend Lists Grow

Crystal Ball One of my most popular posts last year was my summary of 2008 trend lists. I’m a little late this year, but better late than never =) When I look back at my three trends, it seems odd that I selected the growth of blogomerates, social media connections for PR and long tail PR. To me, these seem almost second nature!

So what do I think will be top trends for 2009? Here are my top three:

Brands that participate in conversations will thrive: Ever more so than ever, the need to participate in conversations with your community/customers is more important. Not only from a brand management perspective, but also for demonstrable bottom line results. The brand that connects with me – either for bad or good – will more likely get my attention. And when the nexy crisis emerges, those that are transparent and timely will succeed.

All things virtual will rise in popularity and then wane by the end of the year: Right now, all companies are spooked by the economy. I think this is a knee jerk reaction that will benefit companies that can help move physical events online (note: my company provides virtual events solutions). While this will provide immediate cost and time savings by reducing travel and hotel costs, I think that the pendulum will swing back by the end of 2009. However, once this trend begins, I believe that companies will reconsider which events to hold in the physical world vs. the virtual one.

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the information (attributing this to Stuart Miniman): I was chatting with Stuart when he made this comment, and he’s right. Right now, we’re enamored with all the tools – Twitter, Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Facebook, Friendfeed etc. – but what this all boils down to is the how to receive and send information. The company able to bring manage and disseminate information based on audience preferences – and in real-time – will have an advantage in the age of overwhelming information.

Other 2009 Predictions:

Leave a comment if you have any additional trend lists you would like added.  

Dec 4, 2008
csalomonlee

Online Reputation Management: Trackur

 search2

Previously, monitoring one’s corporate reputation was much more difficult – you had to get physical copies of the articles and paste the articles onto paper. Yes – I’ve been in PR THAT long! LexisNexus then made the job easier with electronic clippings. Now, with blogs, Twitter, electronic archives of print articles and plethora of online communities, there is much much more to monitor.

Right now, the main way that I monitor my company’s reputation is through RSS feeds of specific term searches via Google or Twitter search. So I was curious to try out Andy Beal’s Trackur service. I signed up for the free 14 day trial and here’s my take on this service.

personal 

General Search

Trackur is pretty simple to use. You enter in your search term, fill out a couple of other crtieria and bammo – you get results. Depending on the term, you may get a mix of results that you have to tweak. I tested the terms from Google to filter these results out, such as exact phrase or asking it not to include results with specific URL. Unfortunately, I seemed to get a mixed result.

I also didn’t see any Twitter or LinkedIn results in the resutls. Interestingly, more results appeared when I searched for my personal online moniker “csalomonlee.”(NOTE – if you see my full name, I’m usually responding as a company representative).

Once you’ve played around with the searches to get what you want, you can save that search, set it up as a RSS feed and start monitoring what’s being said about your company. 

Power of Influence

One feature that I did like is the ability to determine the influence of a particular outlet, which is key in PR when thinking from a purely metric perspective. While I liked the idea of an influence ranking, I wasn’t clear how this ranking worked.

I assume that a higher number indicated more influence. I looked at a couple of different sites and the corresponding influence rankings. I was confused by why some sites had higher numbers than others. If you see the below screenshots, gooruze.com had a higher number than my blog. The site had more blog mentions and had a registered traffic rank, but my ranking was only 5 below Gooruze’s.

Influence ranking for my blog

Influence ranking for my blog

Conclusions: The Final Analysis

I think Trackur has the potential to be a useful tool for monitoring your online reputation. The cost per month is not outrageous and within reach of most individuals and corporations.

I would like to see some additional enhancements, such as keeping preferences for viewing search results (expanded or not) or providing thumbnail rollover explanations of the key elements within the tool. There are some nice touches like the ability to add notes to specific items, which is helpful when viewing your results over time, or the ability to view results in summary or abstract form. 

And note to Andy – you may want to update your video intro as Google does offer RSS feeds for searches =) 

Quick Overview:

Accuracy: 3.5 out of 5

Ease of Use: 5 out of 5

Cost: Won’t break the bank

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About

Cece Salomon-LeeCece 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.

Learn more about Cece.

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