Social media tips

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Andrew Hudson just got back from Argentina and shot this video.

Not only is this fantastic video but it reinforces that lessons can be learned everywhere, we just need look.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOS8JGQ1gFU]

 

What is the lesson?  Nothing worth learning is gained easily, Grasshopper.

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I know you laughed.

I love my wife.  I really do.  There’s just one problem.

She doesn’t get my jokes.  Ever.

I got millions of ’em and they’re funny,  I swear.  Except to my wife.  I have told jokes that have put entire rooms of people into stitches, but when I tell her I get nothing excepts crickets.

It’s not her fault though.  You see, she is from Venezuela and simply hasn’t had the same experiences that I had growing up in the United States.   So when I tell a joke about “hillbillies” for example, she has no clue as to why we might find it funny.

The same goes for slang.  Everyone uses slang to some degree.  Slang helps form our identity.  I mean imagine

An innocent misstep forced Alicia Machado to close her Twitter account

a Texan not using “y’all,” or a New Yorker not shouting “fuggedaboutit”.  How boring.  On the flip side, you can get pretty lost if you aren’t familiar with the particular slang others are using.

 

It’s something to think about when you’re using social media.

Just ask Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.   Fox News Latino explains.

The Venezuelan model and actress told a Mexican radio station that her twitter post in which she called for “peace between the Chinas,” referring to North and South Korea was misunderstood.

“I said it in a very colloquial way and people misunderstood me,” E!Latino reports Machado saying. “Obviously, I know there is a bombing going on between North and South Korea. When I said the ‘Chinas,’ I was referring to the Asian continent.”

I feel for Ms. Machado.  She used slang that is very common in Venezuela, but because others didn’t understand, she was thought of as “dumb.”

To make matters worse, Machado had to close her Twitter account because she was being deluged with insults.

Yikes.

This can be a real problem for people and businesses using social media, particularly when you only have 140 characters to make a point, or when you’re posting something from your “Smart” phone.

Just because you know doesn't mean others will

So to save yourself from a that kind of headache, here are five tips to help you avoid those social media misunderstandings.

TONE DOWN THE SLANG

It’s really hard not to use any slang when using social media.  Just make sure you’re not getting to provincial.  The “slangier” you get, the better the chance you will be misunderstood and your real message will be lost.

IF IT LOOKS BAD, IT IS BAD

It’s happened to all of us.  We make one innocent comment that gets taken the wrong way and we end up apologizing for years.  Remember that it’s what you said that matters, not what you meant.  If you see a word or phrase that you’re about to send out and you think it might be misconstrued, it will.  Change it.  You’ll be happy you did.

PROOFREAD YOUR PHONE POSTS

I love my smart phone.  One of the best things about it is the auto-correct.  Unfortunately, one of the worst things about it is, also, the auto-correct.  More people have gotten into trouble by not proof-reading the stuff they send out via phone.  Take a second to make sure your auto-correct hasn’t decided to sabotage you by changing “sink” into “stink” in that post you were sending about plumbers.

DON’T GET CUTE

I have always been of the opinion that everyone is smart, except for the people who try to act smart.  It’s a sure way to get you into trouble.  Stay away from puns or witty phrases unless you’re sure everyone will get them.  Realize the people you think will get it, won’t.

TAKE A BREATH BEFORE SENDING

Don’t immediately hit send after you write something.  Once you post it, it’s in the public forever.  Give yourself a count of five before pushing the send button.  Remember, it’s always better to reflect upon on a post you will send rather than reflecting upon a post you just sent.

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you to amplify your message.  But as Ms. Machado found out, social media can also amplify mistakes and misunderstandings.  Hopefully these tips will help you so that when your using social media you are able to say what you mean, and you mean what you say.

Hope that helps you out.

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here for more information.)

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Reputation should be every businesses social media focus.

It was a jaw-dropping story in the New York Times by David Segal.

SHOPPING online in late July, Clarabelle Rodriguez typed the name of her favorite eyeglass brand into Google’s search bar.

In moments, she found the perfect frames — made by a French company called Lafont — on a Web site that looked snazzy and stood at the top of the search results. Not the tippy-top, where the paid ads are found, but under those, on Google’s version of the gold-medal podium, where the most relevant and popular site is displayed.

Ms. Rodriguez placed an order for both the Lafonts and a set of doctor-prescribed Ciba Vision contact lenses on that site, DecorMyEyes.com. The total cost was $361.97.

It was the start of what Ms. Rodriguez would later describe as one of the most maddening and miserable experiences of her life.

What transpires is a nightmare scenario for any consumer, and frankly, for any business as well.  It becomes even worse when you understand why this is happening.  From the company itself.

“Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com,” the post began. “I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement.”

It’s all part of a sales strategy, he said. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in Google search results, which led to greater sales. He closed with a sardonic expression of gratitude: “I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven.”

I understand that this is an extreme example, but any publicity is good publicity right?

SEO is important, but not as much as your reputation

Well no.

Look, I don’t believe that this is the kind of thing that the vast majority of businesses would want to associate themselves with, but it brings up an interesting point.

What are you more interested in as a business, your SEO or your reputation?

You may laugh at that question, but I assure you, too many of you are putting your Google rankings ahead of your businesses good name.  In fact, the only difference between your business and the one above is scale.

Want Proof?  Here are three warning signs that you may be caring more about your SEO rather than your reputation.

  • Your focus on blog posts is toward key words rather than on highlighting your expertise.
  • You post based on what’s popular rather than on where you see solutions to problems.
  • You post about topics that are irrelevant to your business’ strengths.

If you’re doing any of these, you probably want to rethink your social media strategy.  Let me help.

Simply put, most businesses are created because they are able to fill a need.  Your primary goal with social media, really with all public relations, should be to highlight why people should trust you, and ultimately, do business with you.  Everything else is superfluous.

It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses don’t seem to get that.

Here’s a simple solution.

Rather than focusing on popular issues, pick topics with an eye towards highlighting how your business can offer solutions to problems.  If you happen to be able to address a topic that others are talking about, great.  But it shouldn’t be a focus.  Once you have a topic, lay out clearly and concisely what the issue is and how your business is ideally suited to fixing that problem.  Make the case that people should turn to you when they have similar issues.  Only after you have written your post should you worry about how to increase your ranking on Google.

So remember this.  Social media is not a popularity contest.  If it were, then all of us would be acting just like the business above, stooping to any level to rise in the ranks of Google.  This is not to say that you should just ignore SEO words or popular topics, you shouldn’t.  Just understand that your focus should primarily be on what your business can do for others.

Focus on your reputation.  Your future customers will thank you.

*(If you’re interested in my services you can go here for more information.)

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Can you spot the real turkey?

Every family has one.  It was the Thanksgiving from Hell.

You remember…as much as you don’t want to, you do.

It was the year that Mom didn’t do turkey.  Instead she tried the Mongolian-Irish-Colombian-Vegan eel recipe she got from the guy handing out fliers at the mall.  The meal was so bad that Uncle Silus got drunk and yelled at Cousin Teddy, who got drunk and took the sledge hammer to Great Grannie Edie’s heirloom crystal cat collection.  By the end of the evening, the men were passed out amongst the crystal chards while Mom, in tears, chased the dogs away from the untouched dinner, not realizing that the animals were the only things that got her cooking.

Ahh the memories.  The terrible, ungodly, please-god-never-ever-let-that-happen-again memories.  I think we can all agree that we never want to go there again.

Amazingly, similar stuff happens when businesses get cute with their social media.

The boss has no clue about social media so he appoints some kid to do it for him.  The kid “totally knows this rad new platform that all the other kids are using” and ends up spending thousands on some site that can only be accessed in South Korea.  Meanwhile, the Twitter page that a former worker set up, is being used as a “why work sucks” discussion between two other employees who had access because the ex-worker sent everyone the password in a email.

Yeah…no.  We don’t want that either.

Never fear.  Here are five tips to ensure that your Thanksgiving, and your social media, will be a success

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Too often, people treat Thanksgiving as a game of “anything you can do, I can do better.”  They try to make the dish that will be the one that the family will talk about for years.  The problem is, it usually is.  No one wants vegan eels for Thanksgiving.  They want turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.  Just because it’s not unique doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious.   And because you’re comfortable making turkey, it probably will be.

The same goes for your social media.  Here’s a secret, the reason why most businesses stick to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is because those are the sites the everyone else is using.   Social media is a tool to let people know about all the great things your business is doing.   I could have the coolest social media set up, but if no one sees it, it won’t do me any good.  Sticking to the social media sites that your familiar with, that other people are familiar with, will give you a better chance of successfully getting your message across.

DON’T PUT TOO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE

Let me tell you what "seconds" means

This is something we all do, and regret it every year.  We see all the food on the Thanksgiving table and want to eat it all.  Now!  Unfortunately, by the time we’re done piling everything on our plate we have mixed everything together into an indistinguishable brown pile of mush.  It might still taste good, but we miss the chance to taste each dish individually. We might find that some of the dishes we liked aren’t as tasty as we thought, while other that we might not have liked turn out to be our favorites.  Knowing this can be helpful when you’re going back for seconds.  Because there will always be seconds.

Too many of us seem to have the same problem when it comes to social media.  There are so many interesting social media tools that we just can’t resist using all of them.  Sadly, when it comes time to use those tools, we don’t have the time or understanding to truly take advantage of each tool’s unique strengths.  By using fewer tools and getting to know them well, you can find which ones really suit your social media needs.

REMEMBER GRANDMA’S THERE

Remember the time Crazy Uncle Silus got really drunk and started telling loud tales about his escapades in the red light district of Amsterdam, using the dog’s favorite toy to explain every graphic detail?  So does your Grandmother, which is why Unky Silly doesn’t seem to make Thanksgiving anymore.  No one wants to feel uncomfortable at Thanksgiving.  Keep it that way.

Same goes for social media.  The last thing you want is people to see your social media and feel uncomfortable.  If they do, you can bet on two things happening.  The first is that they won’t look at your social media anymore.  The second is that they will tell lots of other people who, also, won’t look at your social media anymore.

A good rule of thumb for making sure your social media is appropriate is to ask yourself if your grandmother would be o.k. reading your stuff.  If you can’t say yes, you might want to rethink what you’re writing.

You may remember Thanksgiving but your family will

SCREWS UPS WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

I don’t mean to keep reminding you about that Thanksgiving nightmare you’ve been trying to forget, but it should serve as a reminder of why everyone should mind their manners over the holidays.  Crazy Uncle Silus wasn’t always “crazy.”  But down a whole bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream and lay waste to a family heirloom and that’s all anyone will remember.  Don’t be that person.  Don’t talk politics.  Don’t bring up embarrassing stories about yourself or anyone else.  If you do, I can assure you, you’ll be hearing about it for the rest of your life.

Screwing up on social media has the same effect.  You make one unfortunate remark in a blog post, or malign someone’s mother in a tweet and you will never be able to put it behind you.  This is particularly bad if the faux pas happens on your businesses’ social media sites.  Your business will always be associated with that mistake.  Google will make sure of that.  So make sure you proof your work, and please no drunken Twitter posts.  No one wants that.

HAVE A DESIGNATED DRIVER

It is natural at Thanksgiving for the alcohol to flow as much as the food does.  A pre-meal martini, wine with dinner, a beer watching football and pretty soon you’re feeling pretty happy.  Make sure you aren’t driving.  Getting a DUI would definitely fall under the “Screw Up” section above.  Worse would be having a crash that killed you or someone else.  Thanksgiving would never be the same.  Having a designated driver will ensure that your family remembers Thanksgivings past for the right reasons.

Having a designated driver for your social media is essential as well.  Giving multiple people access to your businesses’ social media is just asking for trouble.  The more people who have access, the better the chance of an online train wreck.  Remember the “work sucks” employees?    You just don’t want that.  Make sure you have one person who is in charge of your social media.  It will make your message clearer and there will be a significantly less chance of having any social media “mistakes.”

As you can see, there are a lot of similarities to having a successful Thanksgiving and a successful social media campaign.  If you make sure to keep it simple, don’t put too much on your plate, remember grandma, limit your screw ups and appoint a designated driver, your Thanksgiving and you social media will give you a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all

*(If you’re interested in my services you can go here for more information.)

 

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I’d like to let you in on a little secret.

The Honey Do list goes mobile

I’m just a normal person.  I need to run errands and do stuff just like everyone else in the world.  So why would any business care about my errand run?  Because it could change the way you think about social media.

Shall we start?  Good.

I Needed to get a part to fix a desk in my living room.

I Googled stores to find best deals for the part/

Checked which store was closest and  how long it would take to get to the store.

As you can see, I use social media all the time to help me find the things I need.  With social media, I can find the stuff I need at the most convenient store.  Using my smart phone makes this a lot easier.  So why should you care?  Think about this,  ” Morgan Stanley Internet analyst said she expects smartphone sales will surpass PC and laptop sales in 2012, with more than 450 million units sold.”

Wow!  That’s a lot of people with smart phones who just might be using it to search businesses through social media.  Oh well, back to my errands.

Went to hardware store, checked in on Foursquare.  Saw deal for flowers nearby.

Went to Flower shop which gave me a discount for using Foursquare to find them.

Another great thing about smart phones is that can take advantage of geolocation applications like Foursquare.  When you use a geolocation application to check in at a store, they will often have deals posted that you wouldn’t find normally.  Additionally, you can find other participating stores nearby you might want to visit.

Pretty neat!  I wish that was your flower shop, but you aren’t on Foursquare.  So anyway, that  other flower shop was so nice that….

Tweeted how nice they were and that everyone should check them out.

Got a re-tweet about a great new restaurant that serves Venezuelan food.  Texted my Venezuelan wife to have her meet me there.

She checked in on their Facebook page, found a great deal, and realized she knew the owner from her high school.

Got invited to dinner so I needed a bottle of wine.  Went to Yelp to find a wine store nearby that carried South American wine.

Went to the grocery store and had to wait at the checkout for the employee to finish her conversation with her boyfriend.  Tweeted about the terrible service.  Got a reply from someone who said another grocery store, closer to my home, had great customer service.

Social media is the perfect tool for interacting with people and getting tips about businesses from your friends.  In fact, lots of folks check reviews about businesses. If their friend like the place they go.  If not, they don’t.  Oh, you should probably think about this too.

Well it’s off to the wine store.

As I was buying the wine, I got into a conversation with owner and found out that he is a wine and restaurant blogger. Favorited his blog and got great Chilean wine for dinner.

Blogging is like word of mouth advertising on steroids.  People look to blogs for advice more so than any other medium.  That basically means that blogging about your industry can make you an expert.  People want to buy stuff from experts in their field.

So off to dinner.

Had a wonderful dinner with new friends.

Afterwards I reflected on how much had changed for me in one day just by taking advantage of social media.  I found the part I needed at the most convenient store.  I found a great new flower shop.  Replaced my grocery store.  Met some friends with an awesome restaurant and met a blogger who could point me towards a great bottle of Chilean Red.

Pretty good huh?  And I’m not unique.  Everyday there are millions of people just like me who use their smart phones and social media to help them with their errands.

Here’s the catch.

If your business isn’t taking advantage of social media, you’re not reaching any of us.  Basically you’re invisible.

Perhaps you should rethink that decision not to use social media for your business, don’t you think?

Yeah, I thought so too.

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The player at the center of it all, Cam Newton

Cam Newton, for the non-sports enthusiast, is the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers football team.  He is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy as the best football player of the year.  He is also facing allegations that he received money to attend Auburn University, a big no-no.  If it is proved he took money, any game he plays in will have to be forfeited.

 

Wednesday, a tweet went out quoting ESPN’s Ian Fitzsimmons saying that Newton would not be playing this week against Georgia.  Here’s what happened next, from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

There was story and multiple messages on Twitter earlier Wednesday that referenced an ESPN Dallas report that Newton was on the verge of being suspended, possibly within “three to four hours.”

So what happens?  Legal sports books in Las Vegas, unsure about the validity of the information and seeing millions of dollars suddenly being bet on the underdog Georgia, were forced to stop taking bets on the game.  Costing those sports books even more millions.

One problem though,

In fact, the ESPN reporter, Ian Fitzsimmons, says he was misquoted, that all he said was a story like this can change in three or four hours.

Oops!

Here are three lessons you must learn from “The Cam Newton Effect.”

SOCIAL MEDIA IS A POWERFUL TOOL, BUT JUST A TOOL

Social media is a powerful tool, but just a tool

 

Social media is a tool that can be used to help or hurt your company.  Using social media effectively can help you spread good news about your company very quickly.  It can also spread bad or false news about your company very quickly. There was no fact checking on the Cam Newton allegations, but that didn’t matter.  Social media doesn’t know what’s true, or what you meant to say.  You, and you alone must take responsibility for making sure the right messages get publicized with social media.

 

If you have a plan, you won't need this

YOU MUST HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS PLAN

 

If something comes out on social media about your company that’s incorrect, or reflects poorly on you, there will be no time to figure out how to deal with it.  You literally have minutes. You must have a plan that you can implement right away to minimize any damage.  The elapsed time from the first Twitter about Cam Newton until Las Vegas was forced to stop taking bets was about four hours.  Four hours.  You have to be prepared with a social media crisis plan.

YOU MUST BE USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO LISTEN

If you are not monitoring social media right now to find out what is being said about you and your company, you could be letting bad information fester and grow like a cancer.   You wouldn’t let false information about your company be circulated at a dinner party you were attending, why would you ignore it online?  The damage that can happen to a company in just one day from bad online information could be titanic.  The best part is it’s really not that hard to monitor.  Here’s how.

Listen up...social media's talking about you

 

Additionally, I use Yoono on my browser.  It gives me a side browser that lets me see all my social media accounts in one stream.  It’s constantly running and updating while I’m online.  A pretty handy tool if you ask me.

“The Cam Newton Effect” illustrated how powerful social media has become.  But as Spider-man’s uncle said “with great power comes great responsibility.”   I hope these tips help you to understand just how important that responsibility is to your company.

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Who's here for the Flash Mob?

You’ve seen them on YouTube,on the news, and – if you’re lucky – in real life.  When executed correctly, they will go viral and become globally recognizable.

It’s the guerrilla marketing campaign.

Guerrilla marketing campaigns are a powerful tool for public relations. The allure of a guerrilla marketing campaign is the subversive feel of the event, and the buzz generated by the no rules, take no prisoners attitude of a successful campaign can often get more attention than any traditional P.R. strategy.

But there is a misconception.

Many people wrongly assume that there are no rules in guerrilla marketing, and that’s just not true.

A successful  campaign needs to walk a fine line between seeming “corporate” and breaking laws.  You want to leave everyone with a positive feeling.  Walk that line well and you could get all the publicity you could ever want. Screw up and, well, your guerrilla marketing days are probably through.

We don’t want you to fail, however, because we like good guerrilla marketing.  So, here are five rules that you should probably follow in order to mount a successful guerrilla campaign.

STICK TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PLANNING

Keep the planning as quiet as possible.  The element of surprise is essential.  Plus, you want the people who are apart of your event to feel they’ve done something special, and even a bit subversive.  This means you need to stay away from using main stream media for advance publicity.  Stick to your social media networks in order to plan your event.  Why?  Well you need your participants invested and that means getting them to feel like they’re a part of something special.  Advertising on television, newspapers or radio doesn’t give people that feeling.  You want the people who are “in on the joke” to proudly wear your brand, and you want the people not “in on the joke” to want to be in on it next time.  You can let the press know right before so they can get there in time to cover it, but anything else ruins your “guerrilla credibility.”

BE OF GOOD CHEER

What are the best type of practical jokes?  The one where everyone, including the mark, are laughing at the end.  The same goes for a guerrilla campaign.  No one wants to be minding their own business at some location when a bunch of hooligans show up and try to make them feel uncomfortable, angry, or scared.  This is a sure way to cause yourself headaches.

Instead, keep your campaign lighthearted.  You want people to remember whatever message your publicizing with a smile, not a shiver.

Critical Mass now seems like more of a party

Case in point:  Critical Mass, a group promoting bicycle use and rights.  The group got a lot more traction when they started treating their rides more like a party, complete with music and costumes, instead of acting like a bunch of angry thugs vandalizing cars and seeing how miserable they could make an afternoon rush hour.

You want people to embrace your message, not fight it.  Being of good cheer makes everyone a winner.

MESSAGE COMES FIRST

It can be probably be said for a lot of public relations, but with guerrilla marketing campaigns it is even more important. The message has to come first.  It doesn’t matter how cool, or exciting your event, if no one gets why your doing it, you’ve basically failed.

Find what makes the entity you’re promoting unique and highlight it.  That way folks will get the joke AND the message.

ONLY PHOTOS AND MEMORIES LEFT

There are two truths in life.  Everyone loves a party, and everyone hates cleaning up after a party.  The only thing worse than cleaning up after a party is cleaning up after one you didn’t want while the hosts drive away.  Make sure your guerrilla marketing doesn’t create a mess that someone else has to deal with.

 

Mission Local photos of Microsoft Guerrilla Campaign

Microsoft found this out recently with a guerrilla campaign in San Francisco.  Their “chalk” messages turned out to be more permanent than thought and now Microsoft is going to have to pay for the clean up and any fines.  This doesn’t include all the evil thoughts the people actually cleaning up the mess will have towards Bill Gates.  Not a good way to get new customers.

TAKE AND KEEP RESPONSIBILITY

What many guerrilla marketers often forget is that they are responsible for everything that happens during an event.  This means good AND bad.  Some old lady who gets trampled by the hundreds of folk dressed up like stampeding bulls is your responsibility.  Make sure you keep control of your event.  Let your “participants” know what you expect.  Make sure you take care of any damage.  Don’t give people a reason to complain about your event.  The only thing you want to apologize for is for too much awesomeness.

Guerrilla Marketing is a great tool for any public relations professional.  A successful campaign can create buzz that other types of P.R. are hard pressed to duplicate.  An unsuccessful campaign, however, can be disastrous.   Hopefully, by following these five rules for mounting a successful guerrilla campaign you too can create the next YouTube sensation.

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Creating video is easier than ever

It’s happened to every public relations professional.  You have a client with an awesome story and you want to publicize it.  Problem is, by the time you’ve described the story your press release is five pages long, way too long to send to any reporters.

Back to the drawing board you go.

Keeping the message simple can be difficult.  In fact, it’s probably the one thing that P.R. folk struggle with most.  But there is a solution, and that is to integrate multi-media into your P.R. efforts.

The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  So use those photos, that video, audio, and even some animation to simplify your message and make your P.R. efforts pop.

Here’s four areas of public relations where multi-media efforts can help you.

PRESS RELEASES

Now, back in the day, when press releases were sent via mail or fax, adding multi-media was a real chore that had very little chance of succeeding.  There was a lot of cost to make a tape or CD that looked professional, and there was a high probability that a reporter wouldn’t have the necessary tools handy, nor the patience, to see your production.  Chance are that video went straight to the trash.

Not anymore.

Embedding short video or audio clips, or adding photos to your press release is easy and can help a reporter to understand why your clients’ story is one they should follow up upon.  For a reporter, watching a one minute video clip that illustrates your message is way better then spending fifteen minutes reading your long winded release.

Another plus is that if they like your video or audio cuts, the reporter will have them immediately at their disposal to use as they see fit.

Helping a reporter save time on a story is always a good idea.

Audio is a tool that is often overlooked

SOCIAL MEDIA

Say my client is hosting a benefit.  A quick photo or a few seconds of video sent via social media sets a much clearer scene about the good works your client is doing over a text filled Tweet.  Adding multi-media allows your followers to feel more a part of that benefit than they otherwise would.  And having people identify with your client should make your client very happy.

MEDIA TRAINING

Perhaps one of the most necessary, yet least used parts of public relations is media training.  I bet there’s plenty of public relations people out there who wake to nightmares that start with a reporter with a camera asking your client’s CEO for an interview.

Get rid of those restless nights.

An hour or two of practice in front of a camera, or a microphone can make a world of difference.  Plus, you can give your client instant feedback about what they do well….and not so well in an interview.  Additionally, you can use multi-media to show your clients examples of how a good interview should look instead of explaining to them how it should look.  Using these tools will give your client a much clearer, and more concise idea of how to conduct themselves with the press.

INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

There once was a client who’s employees needed lots of daily information from headquarters.  The problem was that, the employees were getting so overloaded that they eventually checked out.  The client needed a solution.  What we did was to add multi-media to the messaging so that employees could choose how they got their information.   Employees were now free to choose their preferred method of getting information.  The result was a huge increase in the percentage of employees that were actively receiving the needed data.

It is not a bad idea to be creative either, particularly when your message is intricate and detailed.

Four Eyed Films faced this issue while trying to explain different environmental terms in their documentary “Cool It.”

Anyone can do animation these days

Their solution?  Animation.  The result is a entertaining, and easy to understand explanation of the concepts they were discussing.

The best part is that you don’t even need to be an artist to do animation anymore.  There are plenty of free animation programs out there that you could use that don’t require any artistic ability, and frankly, not that much time.  Think about having the ability to make your messages to your employees clearer and more interesting.  I imagine  it would definitely be worth whatever time you did spend to have your employees more engaged. Don’t you?

So think about adding multi-media to your public relations repertoire.  You’ll be surprised at how much it will help your messaging.  After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, you might as well use it to your advantage.

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The best part of elections is that the next one's two years away.

Well, the votes are in…mostly.   And, while half the country is celebrating and the other half is consoling itself, it’s important to look at five non-political lessons that every public relations person should take from Campaign 2010

1.  NOTHING IS OFF THE RECORD, EVER.

There once was a time when a person could let loose with the odd swear, slur, or violent outburst and have it slip under the radar without anyone knowing.  Not anymore.  Smart phones, cheap video cameras, blogs, YouTube and Twitter have made everything we do susceptible to public scrutiny.  Think how many politicians are wishing they could get back that one unfortunate minute of their lives that got caught on tape.  Gone are the days of controlling the media.  It has become vitally important for public relations folks to control their clients instead.  If your not giving your clients media training you must start, today.  The best way not to get caught doing something stupid on camera is to not do something stupid at all.

2.  BLOGGERS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS REPORTERS

Remember when reporters were kings and bloggers were just crazy nut jobs living in their parents’ basement?  Well that’s just not the case anymore.  A quick look at The Truth Laid Bear, a website which tracks blog traffic, will show you that the biggest blogs on the web are getting nearly two million hits a day.

Two million hits…..a day.

Heck, the 200th rated blog is getting over 75,000 hits a day.  You still think bloggers are crazy?  I can tell you that lots of politicians who are nursing their wounds today thought that.

Listen carefully, there is no “new media” or “old media.”  It’s all media, and you need to pitch to it.   It is far more likely that a person will take advice about a business from a blogger that they read daily than from a media entity they may only see occasionally.  Blogs are word of mouth on steroids.  If you’re not reaching out to the blogging community, you are doing your clients a disservice.

3.  ANYONE NOT USING SOCIAL MEDIA IS GETTING LEFT BEHIND

O.K. here’s a little test for you.  Look at all the people that you follow on your various social media sites who told you in the last week A) how they were going to vote; B) how you should vote; and C) that they did indeed vote in the 2010 election.  How many of them didn’t tell you anything about their voting preference four years ago?

Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Politicians who were able to take advantage of social media are headed to Washington, while those who didn’t are headed to their computers to learn how to take advantage.  Whether you like it or not, people are talking about your business with social media.  If you’re not listening and responding, your losing out on opportunities.  That’s just not good for any business in this current climate.

4.  PERSONAL TOUCHES STILL MATTER

Make no mistake.  Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Flicker, Digg and Google are all very important.  But a handshake is just as important.  One politician who won as a huge underdog sent personal handwritten notes to every donor during his campaign.  Think that might have made a difference?  Public relations and social media are just like paint brushes and easels.  They are tools.  You have to use them to illustrate what makes your businesses identity.  The more you can reach out and touch people personally, the more likely they are to have a positive view of you.  Then they can use their social media to tell potential new customers how great you are.  Two networks telling their people about your awesome business is way better than just one network.

5.  KEEP YOUR POLITICAL THOUGHTS OFF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

There is one thing from Campaign 2010 which has brought all Americans together, and that is that they hate the mudslinging and arguing that comes with every election.  They hate being told “you’re an idiot if you vote for Prop T1000,” or “only commies and fascists would vote for that candidate.”  Perhaps the best advice on this topic comes from Michael Jordan who, when asked why he didn’t get involved in political activism on behalf of the Democratic party said, “because Republicans buy sneakers too.”  That’s really good advice.  There’s no need to alienate half of your potential customers because you have some political itch to scratch.  Customers don’t care.  And the ones who disagree with you won’t argue, they’ll just go somewhere else.

So while none of us can agree on whether this election was a success or a disaster, I think we can all agree that their are things more important than elections.  So take these five non-political lessons to heart.  It won’t help your depression or dampen your enthusiasm in the wake of Campaign 2010, but they might just make your business more successful.

Hope this helps you out.

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