Tag Archives: social media

social.media

Jaburg Wilk Attorney to Present at Social Media Day

Jaburg Wilk attorney Laura Rogal will be presenting at the fourth annual Social Media Day Phoenix on June 28th from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Rogal will present the first seminar: “The Not-So-Fine Line of Social Media & Copyright Infringement.” In this presentation, she will discuss the potential legal issues associated with using content from public websites on one’s social platforms. She will share best practice suggestions for avoiding problems online associated with defamation, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and brand protection. Rogal will give the attendees a forum to ask questions and will parlay real-world experience into scalable scenarios for all users of social media.

Rogal assists clients with their intellectual property legal needs including internet law, social media, domain disputes and commercial litigation.

Other speakers include Kevin Spidel, director of agency services at Voice Media Group as well as Allison Michaels of Yammer/Microsoft, Monique Shaldjian of QtheBrand and Jim Simmons with CDS Insurance Agency. Following the sessions, participants will network and socialize.

Social Media Day was created by social media giant Mashable in 2010 to celebrate the digital revolution, and has grown tremendously since its inception. Today, Social Media Day (#SMDay) has transformed into a worldwide celebration that is recognized by more than 100 countries, six continents and 17 U.S. cities.

Tickets are $25 and can be reserved at SMDayPHX.eventbrite.com. Space is limited.

asu skysong collaborates with Taiwan's ITRI

Enterprise Univ. examines Social Media, Personnel

Enterprise Bank & Trust, focused on the financial needs of privately-held businesses, their owner families, executives and professionals, announces its spring 2014 Enterprise University course schedule providing free educational seminars on a variety of relevant topics for business owners and their leadership.

“We’ve received outstanding feedback from Enterprise University participants the last two years and are delighted to debut our new format and dynamic speakers this semester,” said Enterprise Bank & Trust Arizona Region Chairman Jack Barry. “We’re pleased to offer the Phoenix business community an opportunity to learn from leading Valley professionals and the chance to share ideas and network in this engaging and interactive setting.”

The spring 2014 course schedule entails:

o Emerging Social Media and Personnel Policy Risks for Employers, Tuesday, March 11 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: Joseph T. Clees, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins and New Guest Instructor: Brian E. Hayes, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins and past member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
o Options for Selling a Business and How Private Equity Can Help, Thursday, April 10 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: James D. Colyer, Partner, True North Companies)
o Leveraging Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business, Wednesday, May 14 7:30-8 a.m. networking, 8-9:30 a.m. program (Instructor: Stephen Heitz, Managing Director of Interactive Services, The Lavidge Company)

All courses are held at Phoenix Country Club located at 2901 N 7th St, in Phoenix. Classes are free, but registration is required. For additional information and to register visit www.enterprisebank.com/eu.

prevention trial - brain scan images

ASU student ‘brains’ behind concussion tutorial

For decades, the devastating effects of repeated concussions on the health of professional athletes was a well-kept secret – until it exploded into a national controversy. As investigative journalists reported scientific evidence of the long-term impact of head injuries on NFL players, the focus soon shifted to high school athletes. How could we protect their health and safety?

Arizona was an early adopter of protection for high school athletes. In 2011, the state legislature passed a law requiring coaches to remove high school athletes from play if they even so much as suspect a concussion. The law requires that the athlete must obtain written clearance from a medical professional, like a physician or athletic trainer, in order to return to the sport.

State legislators also called for preventive measures that would make it mandatory for high school coaches, students and parents to complete concussion-education programs. To comply with the law, the Arizona Interscholastic Association deemed that every high school athlete in the state must complete Barrow Brainbook. This interactive, online training was developed in part by Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

But the real brains behind Barrow Brainbook belong to Arizona State University educational technology doctoral student Robert Christopherson.

“Over 180,000 high school athletes in the State of Arizona have benefitted from the knowledge of Robert Christopherson,” said Dr. Javier Cárdenas, neurologist and brain injury expert who is director of St. Joseph’s B.R.A.I.N.S. Clinic. “Robert’s expertise in educational technology is the primary reason Barrow Brainbook has not only successfully taught high school athletes about concussion dangers, but has become the most successful concussion education program in the country.”

When he began his research, Christopherson noticed immediately that most available concussion education programs targeted coaches and parents, but few addressed the athletes themselves. From the start, he said the directive from Cárdenas was empowering youth to assess the situation and be part of the decision-making process. Today, Barrow Brainbook remains the only concussion education program in the nation directed at high school athletes.

To engage the young athletes, Christopherson considered social media for two reasons. First, research showed that student behavior online and in classrooms was becoming increasingly similar. Second, it was important to deliver concussion instruction close to where the head injuries happen. Teaching the athletes on the football field was not an option, so the researcher had to come up with an equally effective venue.

“So we decided to make a pseudo-Facebook,” he explained. “We created an environment that looks like Facebook, has a lot of the same social network interactions and includes characters that represent those people who influence the athletes most – peers, role models including NFL players and college athletes, and doctors.”

social media day

Gigya brings 200 jobs with Arizona expansion

A California firm that helps companies connect with customers through social media says it has opened a Phoenix office and plans to hire more than 200 employees within three years.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer touted Tuesday’s announcement by Mountain View, Calif.-based Gigya as the latest sign that her efforts to cut business tax rates and regulations is drawing new companies to the state.

Gigya CEO Patrick Salyer says the fast air access between Phoenix and the Silicon Valley, ease of setting up shop and available trained workforce made Phoenix the company’s top choice. The company will receive $450,000 for training from the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Salyer says the company has begun hiring and expects to have 50 sales, account and client management employees here by the end of the year.

164874519

Top 9 tips to navigating social media for the socially exhausted

In today’s world, I find it interesting that social media has become prevalent in most small businesses. For me, this ever-changing medium is intimidating and trying to keep up with it can feel like a full-time job – especially for someone like myself who has often stumbled with understanding how it all works; and the new learning tools haven’t helped!

My attempts to navigate this world have made me feel like a really small fish in a very big pond. I often wonder:  do I really need these platforms or am I just following a trend?! We have all been told that it is essential to manage all or at least the top six social media platforms. Here is my challenge with this concept.  Since I have neither the time nor expertise to manage all of these accounts, what is the best course of action for someone in my position ( social media inept and exhausted) to successfully tackle Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and now Fancy? Oh, let’s not forget, I also need an engagement strategy for each platform. Yikes!

So, on my quest to figure out the best social media strategy for each of my businesses, Sparrow Retail Consultants and Scottsdale Business Community Project, this is what I learned:

Choose one platform: Find a social media platform that suits your style and create a strategy that works with and not against your busy schedule.
Hire an expert: Don’t try and be the jack of all trades. Instead of trying to become the expert, if you have the budget, hire one. Remember your audience wants to hear your voice. Make sure you agree with the message that is delivered in your name.
Cut yourself a break: You don’t have to know how to do it all, but you should be able to make it easy for yourself and your clients to get everything they need.
If you choose to use more than one medium, don’t tackle it all in one day. Use a collaborative tool like Hootsuite or sproutsocial and turn off your alerts.
Don’t take yourself so seriously: I love this excerpt from my favorite blog: “It really is true that the more time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc., the more you get sucked in, and after thousands of hours in online communities, one day it hits you: You started counting retweets and you started worrying about your engagement score on Facebook. Somehow, somewhere, you got … serious!” via CopyBlogger.
It’s okay to make mistakes: I have heard about bloggers being ridiculed for grammatical errors! We all need to get over ourselves.  The next time you worry about making a mistake or find one in someone else’s work, think of this quote: “When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target,” Fisher, Geoffrey F.
Stop competing with your friends: Are your friends more popular than you, do they have hundreds of followers and friends and you have little or none?  This is not a competition! The point of social media is to connect and engage your clients. Focus on businesses that interact with you. It’s true that quantity does not equal the best quality.
Don’t waste your time:  Make sure social media is appropriate for your business- Mashable released an article about 10 successful small businesses that do not use social media.
Know when to shut it off: Your business won’t fail if you take a two week break. Learn to manage your time correctly. Offline is always more important than online! Don’t miss life’s most important moment in your quest to memorializing events for your social pages.

I cannot deny that these media platforms are here to stay and can be a significant factor in the growth and success of any business. Well, I guess it’s time to take my own advice. Here’s to meeting you online!

facebook1

Facebook Is Top Social Media Site for Marketing Spend

What are the hot spots for social media marketing in the coming year?

According to a new survey by The Creative Group, more than six in 10 (62 percent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they expect companies to increase their spending on Facebook marketing in the next 12 months. This is up from 53 percent who planned to boost their Facebook budget one year ago. Executives also anticipate companies will channel more marketing dollars toward LinkedIn (51 percent) and Google Plus (50 percent), up from 38 percent and 41 percent of respondents, respectively, last year.

The national survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm.

social.media

'Best Social Media Marketing Theory' honored

Research and analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence announced it received a 2013 Bees Award for its proprietary Social Media Effectiveness Index (SEI) in the category of “Best Social Media Marketing Theory.”

SEI is a ranking methodology developed by Blueocean Market Intelligence that measures a company’s social media effectiveness with a singular, representative score. It takes a business’ key metrics into account, such as a brand’s share of voice, customer engagement rate, customer touch rate, number of brand influencers and advocates, and net sentiment.

“Most companies use popular traditional analytics tools to measure social media efforts. However, those tools rely on unreliable data, inaccurate sentiment analytics and a lack of in-depth analysis,” said Blueocean Market Intelligence Chief Executive Officer Kumar Mehta. “Blueocean’s SEI model was built to help companies move beyond basic data and generate actionable insights derived from refined social intelligence.”

The Bees Awards is the first international social media competition honoring communication and marketing professionals. Practitioners in more than 50 countries have submitted entries since the awards program’s inception in 2010.

Blueocean Market Intelligence utilized its SEI to compile a 2013 ranking assessing the social media effectiveness of global Fortune 100 companies. The company plans to compile and publish the second biannual ranking later this summer.

“It’s critical that companies understand and monitor the social media landscape, and develop a tangible process to measure their return and achieve accelerated growth,” said Mehta. “With SEI, companies can completely align their activities with core business objectives, create impact across all functions to drive growth and profitability, and harness the true potential of social media.”

To learn more about Blueocean’s Social Media Effectiveness Index and download a case example based on a leading technology brand, visit www.blueoceanSEI100.com.

social.media

‘Best Social Media Marketing Theory’ honored

Research and analytics firm Blueocean Market Intelligence announced it received a 2013 Bees Award for its proprietary Social Media Effectiveness Index (SEI) in the category of “Best Social Media Marketing Theory.”

SEI is a ranking methodology developed by Blueocean Market Intelligence that measures a company’s social media effectiveness with a singular, representative score. It takes a business’ key metrics into account, such as a brand’s share of voice, customer engagement rate, customer touch rate, number of brand influencers and advocates, and net sentiment.

“Most companies use popular traditional analytics tools to measure social media efforts. However, those tools rely on unreliable data, inaccurate sentiment analytics and a lack of in-depth analysis,” said Blueocean Market Intelligence Chief Executive Officer Kumar Mehta. “Blueocean’s SEI model was built to help companies move beyond basic data and generate actionable insights derived from refined social intelligence.”

The Bees Awards is the first international social media competition honoring communication and marketing professionals. Practitioners in more than 50 countries have submitted entries since the awards program’s inception in 2010.

Blueocean Market Intelligence utilized its SEI to compile a 2013 ranking assessing the social media effectiveness of global Fortune 100 companies. The company plans to compile and publish the second biannual ranking later this summer.

“It’s critical that companies understand and monitor the social media landscape, and develop a tangible process to measure their return and achieve accelerated growth,” said Mehta. “With SEI, companies can completely align their activities with core business objectives, create impact across all functions to drive growth and profitability, and harness the true potential of social media.”

To learn more about Blueocean’s Social Media Effectiveness Index and download a case example based on a leading technology brand, visit www.blueoceanSEI100.com.

social media marketing

The ROI of Social Media

I was never a fan of the cocktail party-variety networking scene. I will never be one to dart around a room shoving business cards into people’s hands. I prefer meaningful conversations with people, getting to know them and vice versa.

But social media networking? That’s something different altogether. Done right, it’s never a hit-and-run. Rather, it consists of building relationships over months and even years by sharing information – both professional and personal – through posts, comments and responding to questions in various online communities.

What’s the return on investment, the ROI, for putting that kind of time into social media? Actually, it’s called the RON – the “return on networking.”

And for me, it’s huge.

I’ve been on Facebook for five years; I also have Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts, among others. All totaled, I’m now approaching 100,000 friends, followers and connections. Those followers expose my name and message to their audiences every time they “like” one of my posts or share one of my links. Recently, someone re-tweeted something I’d shared on Twitter – he had 130,000 followers! That’s a potential audience of 130,000 people I likely would have never reached otherwise.

Talk about exposure!

Who knows how many of those people may someday become my clients? Who cares? I’ll still consider the exposure a good return on networking. Here’s why.

The RON of social media isn’t always tangible, not immediately, anyway. By establishing a continued presence online through regularly sharing content of use to my followers, I’m building my platform and my reputation as an expert. That grows in surprising ways – and it lives in surprising places.

A recent case in point: Late last year, I got a call from a prominent New York City hair stylist, the director of a salon in one of that city’s premier department stores. He wanted to talk about some publicity needs and what my company could do to help him.

When I asked how he got my name, he explained he’d written some books over the years with a co-author, and she’d heard me at a speaking engagement.

Well, that made sense. Speaking at conferences is still a great way to get your name out while also building credibility.

But the next thing he said came as a complete surprise.

“So, then I contacted the corporate office (of the department store chain) and asked what PR agency they would recommend.” And they recommended me and my company!

I don’t know a soul in the corporate offices of that high-end retail chain. I can only guess they learned of me through social media.

Just being on Twitter or Google+ isn’t enough, of course. You have to make a diligent effort to regularly post content that people find valuable, including links to informative articles, tips relevant to your topic, and/or informed insights on topics in the news.

You also have to “be a human,” as our lead social media strategist, Jeni Hinojosa, likes to say. She and our other social media producers encourage clients to send photos when they go on vacation, celebrate milestones or engage in hobbies. Posting those photos with a comment adds a personal touch that allows followers to connect on a more emotional level.

Our social media producers also make sure clients’ personalities shine in their posts, showing their sense of humor and letting followers in on the other things they care about, whether it’s victims of a natural disaster or a favorite charity.

Interaction is equally important. Strive to respond to every comment or question posted on your networking sites. Interacting is engaging, and people who are engaged tend to be happy followers. The more you take part in conversations via comments and responses, the more lively and visible your presence becomes.

The RON includes increased traffic to your website; increased trust in your brand and what you’re selling; and greater word of mouth than you could ever hope for by attending a cocktail party or even a speaking engagement.

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations, a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST.

Smiling Graduate Holding up Diploma

Tips for Grads to Protect their Online Reputation

Over the next few weeks, college students across the country will graduate and embark on their next step in life: finding a job. What many students fail to realize is that in today’s world of social media, their online reputation can make or break their candidacy for a position.

TrustedID, the nation’s most comprehensive identity protection and reputation management service, offers some easy tips for recent graduates to protect and manage their online reputation:

· Delete Digital Dirt: Many students’ social media pages are littered with digital dirt such as incriminating photos or inappropriate links. Be sure to wipe this all clean before beginning a job search.

· Privatize Profiles: Graduates can privatize their profiles on many social media sites to control who can view it. Remember that social media lives forever – just because comments and photos are deleted doesn’t mean they are gone. It may be a private profile, but it’s a public site. Always assume that what goes up will be seen by the world.

· Google Yourself: See the top 10 results on Google for your name; often recruiters only view the first page of results. If a graduate sees negative results, they should consider creating new positive profile content which can outshine the harmful results.

· Positive Spin: Potential employers can get an impression of a candidate’s personality through their social media profiles. Graduates should highlight achievements inside and outside of work and try to block any negative comments or photos.

· Follow the Leader: Follow key luminaries or potential mentors in your field on social media. This will show employers that you are passionate about the job and excited to learn.

· LinkedIn Logic: Create a strong LinkedIn profile since many recruiters use LinkedIn to fill positions. With over 200 million users, it is also a great way to establish and build business relationships in your desired field.

online

Top 3 Tips for Running a Successful Local PPC Campaign

Most businesses understand and embrace the value of building their organic search rankings on Google, but the value of pay-per-click or PPC advertising is often misunderstood and underestimated. While high organic search rankings are a great way to drive traffic and increase exposure for any business, there are only 10-16 spots available on the first page of Google for any given search term. In most industries, hundreds of businesses will be vying for those coveted first page Google results, and PPC ads give all businesses the ability to gain exposure on the first page of Google for local search terms.

Businesses can also run PPC ads through a variety of other mediums like Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This makes it possible to target your ideal customers and experiment with different platforms to see which one generates the highest click through and conversion rates.

Reasons to Consider Utilizing Pay-Per-Click Advertising  

PPC is a powerful marketing tool for all businesses. For companies that don’t have high organic rankings for relevant local search terms, PPC can provide a way to achieve better visibility and leverage your online assets. For start-ups or businesses that are just beginning to ramp up their SEO efforts, PPC can provide an additional revenue stream, and even businesses with an established presence on search engines can generate additional revenue through PPC ads.

Another great reason to consider running a PPC campaign is because you can set the budget, which means you can start small to analyze your return and then grow it once you find a strategy that works for you. Most businesses hire an experienced search engine marketer to help them set up and manage their PPC campaign, as these marketers know the ins and outs of PPC advertising and can establish cost-effective and successful ad campaigns.

Search engine marketing may also play a role in organic search rankings due to the increase in clicks and exposure a website will get from PPC advertising. Since organic rankings are based on relevance and popularity, PPC ads can help improve the website’s popularity score through Google and bolster search engine optimization efforts.

Top Tips for Running a PPC Campaign

Beginning a PPC campaign can be a little confusing at first if you’ve never worked with the programs before, but by utilizing the following tips, you can get the most from your paid advertising efforts.

#1. Keep it Local

For local businesses, bidding on key phrases that are targeted to your geographic area can be extremely beneficial in driving traffic that will eventually lead to a conversion. Location specific keywords often have less competition, so marketers can get more bang for their buck by choosing a geographically targeted keyword as opposed to a generic keyword. If you need assistance selecting the keyword phrases that will result in the highest ROI, consult a PPC marketer to help you establish your campaign and perform appropriate keyword research.

#2. Expand Beyond Google

When most people think of PPC advertising, they think of Google AdWords. While Google AdWords is a great tool to gain exposure and visibility for your business, there may be other venues that offer advertising in the pay-per-click model that could yield better results. Some companies have success advertising on Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, and even LinkedIn. Assess where your target market spends their time and how they would search for your business to determine whether you should branch out to other PPC advertising mediums.

#3. Measure Your Success

Once you start your PPC campaign, make sure to keep track of your progress so that you can make adjustments and improvements where necessary. This may include testing your ads using different keywords, experimenting with different ad text, and utilizing advanced targeting options so that you can reach the customers that will be most interested in what you have to offer. An expert in search engine marketing can help to analyze your metrics to determine the best strategy for your campaign’s success.

By implementing a few of these key tips and reaching out for help from an experienced search engine marketing firm, you can harness the power of paid advertising to increase sales, drive more website traffic, and improve conversion rates.

If you would like to learn more about how to implement a local Pay-Per-Click campaign for your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free PPC consultation.

social.media

Social Media: Great Resource for Small Business

Are you taking advantage of social media in your small business? According to a recent report by the Social Media Examiner, you probably should.

89 percent of the respondents said social media was providing them greater exposure and 75 percent claimed it was increasing traffic. Although only 43 percent suggested that social media increased sales, I think social channels should be looked at more as a brand building play anyway—which is very consistent with the survey results. That’s not to say social channels don’t generate sales, they do. I just don’t think the social channel should be treated the same as a Google Adwords campaign or direct mail.

I was surprised to read that about 25 percent of the small business marketers surveyed had been doing anything with social media for a year of less and only 30 percent had been doing anything for a couple of years or more. For many small businesses, I think the social bandwagon is a wagon you should likely get on, provide you take the right approach.

Nevertheless, before you jump in with both feet, here are five questions you should ask yourself:

1) Do you really want to do this?

Before you spend time on strategy, before you set up any social media accounts, ask yourself, “Am I willing to invest the man hours that will be required to make the effort a success?” Most small businesses won’t require a full-time social media person, but they will require someone’s time. For example, if you plan on posting a blog every week, plan on three or four hours to research and write. Once you get in a groove, you might be able to cut that down a bit, but if all you’re doing is once a week, you won’t see much time savings. What’s more, it takes about 50 posts before Google starts paying any attention to you, so you’ll want to commit to a year’s worth of writing before you’ll see much search traffic.

If you’re going to have a Facebook or Twitter account, you’ll want to make daily updates — which don’t add much time to the day but can add up to an hour or more if you’re updating Twitter, Facebook and any other social media — to build a following. Best practice suggests a couple of posts in the morning and a couple of posts at the end of the day. That doesn’t mean you can ignore that media the rest of the day. You’ll want to make sure someone is regularly (every hour or two) monitoring your accounts in the event a customer or prospective customer tries to interact with a question or concern. This person might be you, but doesn’t have to be. Just remember, whoever interacts with the world on social media becomes a spokesman for you and your company. Choose wisely. However, if nobody’s there, you lose the interaction and the value of the social medium. Do you really want to do this?

2) What do you want to accomplish?

As I said before, being social just to be social is time that could be better spent someplace else. Do you want to establish yourself as a thought leader? Do you want to keep your customers up-to-date on what’s happening in your company? Do you want to keep customers and potential customers educated on industry best practice? Do you want to leverage social media as a customer service tool? You’ll need to build a strategy around those objectives and execute accordingly. Some media do a better job at some objectives than others.

3) Are you prepared to air your dirty laundry in public?

None of us like to deal with public complaints, but maybe this question is put the wrong way. A better question might be, “Are you willing to watch your dirty laundry aired in public?” Whether you’re part of the social conversation or not, people are talking about you and your business online — the good, the bad and the ugly. If your business is like most, you’re going to be exposed to some pretty intense negative feedback from time to time.

One of my friends purchased a shed from a big box home improvement store a while back. It was to be shipped in a couple of days, but somehow his order got lost. After several frustrating phone calls with no resolution, he decided to try complaining on the business’s Facebook site. Within a few minutes, he had a very friendly social media person try to take his complaint offline to “shut him up.” You may want to establish an official policy regarding how this type of interaction will take place. Don’t wait until it’s time to make those decisions while in the heat of battle.

He suggested they work it out on Facebook. Not long after that, he had confirmation of the shipment and the issue was resolved. Like most of us, they didn’t want this dialog to take place on a public forum — they had behaved badly and wanted to hide the misstep. However, publicly making things right probably helped them with their Facebook followers. We all understand that mistakes happen. This retailer demonstrated publicly that it was willing to help its customer (although it would have been much easier to have dealt with the issue before my friend escalated the issue to Facebook).

4) Who is going to be responsible?

If nobody in particular is responsible, your social media efforts aren’t going to go anywhere. A few years back I did some social media consulting for a local nursery. They had volumes of tips to help gardeners and we started sharing them three times a week in a blog that invited them to visit one of their gardening experts to make sure they got the best advice for their particular yard. It was so successful that they decided to bring the effort in-house. Unfortunately, they lost whatever momentum we had gained when they stopped posting daily on their Facebook and Twitter accounts and quit contributing regularly to their blog. My guess is that nobody was really responsible to make sure the effort happened every day (see point No. 1.

5) How are you going to eat the elephant?

Launching a social media effort can feel pretty daunting for a small business, but it’s a lot like eating an elephant, you need to do it one bite at a time. Once you’ve discovered where your customers hang out the most, start there. If it’s Twitter, spend your time there. Once you’ve got that down and feel like you can take the next step, move forward. You might be surprised at how quickly you’ll have a robust social media presence.

If you were waiting for the fad to go away, I’m not convinced it will. Sure, we might be using different tools that Facebook or Twitter, but the way we communicate with our customers is changing for many small businesses and I’m convinced it’s going to continue. You might be interested to know that Facebook, Blogging, and Twitter round out the top three social media channels according to the survey. If you’d like to read more about it, here’s eMarketer’s take. What do you think? Is social media a great resource for small business?

A small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty Kiisel makes small business best practices, tips and advice accessible by weaving personal experiences, historical references and other anecdotes into relevant discussions about leading people, managing a business and what it takes to be successful. Ty writes about small business for Lendio.

141245827

The 10 Keys to Social Media Success

Social media has become an important part of many company’s small business marketing efforts. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that there are many folks who don’t really understand the impact of social media generally and aren’t careful about how they approach the medium. The following are 10 tips that will help your social media efforts be a success:

1. Get in the Game: Whether you think you need to or not, people are talking about you and your business on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. At the very least, you need to be online so you can follow, learn from, and respond to what they are saying. Social media is a great way to learn from what your customers and potential customers are saying about the products they want and an even greater opportunity to engage in a two-way dialog with them.

2. Learn from Donald Trump: Be thoughtful about what you say and how you say it. Following the election, Donald Trump said a number of things that didn’t cast him in a very good light.  You might not have the millions of people watching what you say on social media like the Don, but running off half-cocked is never a good idea (even if your network is only 200-300 people). My own personal measure for whether or not I post something on social media is this: 1)Will it embarrass my company and 2) will it embarrass my Mom. If the answer to both of those questions is “no” I feel OK posting. Every time I have ignored one of those rules I have regretted it.

3. Be Consistent: I don’t think it’s important that you be everywhere—especially at first. If you feel like your customers are mostly on Facebook, spend your efforts there. The same goes for Twitter, Google+, or YouTube.  As a rule of thumb, a couple of posts before noon and another couple of posts in the afternoon is a good place to start. If you only update your Facebook (or any social media status) every week or two, people will lose interest and nobody will follow you. Give your customers a reason to keep in touch with you by providing information that they will find interesting, will be helpful, or is fun.

4. Your Social Media Presence Comes to Represent Who You Are: When I first started working with social media, I decided that my professional and personal personae would happily co-exist. I talk about my hobbies and what I’m doing—I sometimes even share my opinions about current events. However, I don’t post anything personally that would make me look bad professionally. You might think, “My personal persona and my business persona are different.” They may be different, but anyone interested in you will be able to connect the dots. There is no hiding in the social media world (refer to #2).

5. Mind Your “Ps” and “Qs”: Make sure you take just a second or two before you send out a status update that you’ve read it at least once. Although I have made the mistake a time or two, I know of a couple of highly competent professionals who regularly misspell words and use poor punctuation. I know they may be in a hurry and it’s “only a Tweet” but it reflects poorly on their personal brand (particularly to people who don’t know them). It doesn’t take much time to review an update before you hit the send button. I’ve even had someone point out a proofreading error in a blog post before. It’s embarrassing and doesn’t instill confidence in whatever I might be talking about.

6. Don’t be Offensive: Take another look at #2. A great example has been the last year of offensive tirades made by my Facebook and Twitter friends. I get their passion and I understand their political point of view—they made it a point to jam it down my throat over the last many months. Unfortunately, although I still consider them to be my friends, because they didn’t care whether or not I (and others) might be offended by their pontificating, I think a little less of them. Sarcastic diatribes are not a good idea—unless you don’t care what people think of you. I try to keep the dialog civil, even if I disagree with you. What’s more, even if I think you’re an idiot, I likely will not say so on Facebook or other social media—just like I wouldn’t say it to your face over the dinner table at a restaurant. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

7. Choose Your Friends Wisely: A couple of years ago an old friend from high school reached out to me on Facebook. Of course I friended him. A couple of months later I got a call from my son who asked why I was publishing porn on my Facebook stream. This old friend had made an obscene status update and it was on my wall. Because many of my Facebook friends are professional colleagues (and I am personally offended by pornography), I quickly deleted the post and blocked him from my stream. It was very embarrassing to have one of my adult children call me to ask me about what I was doing online. A word to the wise is sufficient.

8. Some Things are Better Left Unsaid: Several years ago I was in a marketing meeting where we were talking about a great campaign idea. I loved the idea and thought I’d test the message out on my blog audience. It went over really well until the V.P. of Marketing saw the post and felt like I spoiled the campaign by tipping our hand. I probably should have thought twice before I did that. Additionally, if you take a sick day and check in at the spa or ski resort, it might not go over well with the boss.

9. Be Positive: I have a professional colleague I’ve known for years who spends most of his time on social media complaining. I have another friend who is incredibly positive about everything. I find myself paying more attention to the updates of my positive friend and often ignoring my negative friends posts. It’s easy to get sucked into the idea of talking about what’s wrong with the way someone does business or a political point of view, but if that’s all you talk about you soon are considered a “Debbie Downer.” That’s not the image you or your business want to portray.

10. Don’t Rely Exclusively on Social Media: Although I’m an advocate of social media, I wouldn’t pin my company’s marketing success exclusively to the social media bandwagon. Traditional marketing media and approaches still have their place, although I happen to think that social media and content marketing are fast becoming a key driver to creating dialog and establishing a brand. Lendio online marketing via pay-per-click drives a lot more leads than this blog, our social media,  or any of our content marketing, but it’s an important part of what we do everyday to share information and build relationships with our customers and future customers.

I’m convinced that social media should play a part in the marketing efforts of almost any small business. These 10 tips will help get you started in the right direction.

Flash Websites

Stand Out in Local Search Directories

A powerful local search strategy for your business is an essential component to a well-developed local marketing plan. Local search directories have improved in recent years, with the integration of Google+ and Google Places as well as updates to directories such as Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, etc. Incorporating local search directories into your marketing mix can improve your search rankings and help your business gain higher visibility online.

Maximizing Google+ Local: The Integration of Google+ and Google Places

Google is one of the most important directories to provide accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Google has recently integrated Google Places local listings with Google+, transitioning to a seamless Google+ Local listing. This new approach to local directories provides a social component and allows businesses to capitalize on this budding social network to improve search rankings, drive more local business, and increase sales.

Tips for Managing Your Business’s Google+ Local Listing

Updating your Google+ Local profile requires just a few steps. The first step is to define the main product or service line that you offer, e.g., furniture company in Scottsdale, Arizona. With this, compile the following information about your business: brief description, photos, place of business (physical address), and link to the business website. You will enter all of these details about your business before submitting your Google+ Local listing. You will also be given the option to select categories that are relevant to your business so that Google can better determine when to display your listing to search engine users. Once you have filled out the basic information requested by the local search directories, you should also update the rest of the information on the form such as service area, payment options, operating hours, and videos.

If this is the first time you have filled out a Google+ Local listing or your address has changed, you will also need to authorize your address. After you submit your information, Google will mail you a postcard with additional instructions. Once the postcard arrives after about two weeks, complete the steps listed on the postcard to finalize your Google local search directory listing.

Claiming and Updating Other Local Directory Listings

In addition to Google, there are several other local search directories such as Yelp, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List, Bing, etc. that you should submit your directory listing. Be sure to use the same information that you used in your Google listing so that all of the information aligns across online directories. Consistency will help you maintain quality and will improve your local search rankings.

Do’s and Don’ts for Managing Local Directory Listings

Finally, there are a few things to remember as you complete your local directory listings.

The Do’s

  • Incentives. Local directory listings are a great place to list special offers or discounts to new customers online. List any specials that you are currently running to encourage prospective customers to try out your products or services.
  • Visuals. Upload pictures that accurately represent the products or services that you offer. This will allow search users to identify what you do quickly and easily, and it will also provide insight into how your business operates.
  • Reviews. Manage your reviews periodically to maintain a positive reputation for your business online. Respond to every review – positive or negative – in a polite and professional way. Being responsive to customer reviews about your business shows prospective customers that you care about the satisfaction of each and every customer.
  • Accuracy. Ensure accuracy across your local directory listings. Consistency is imperative to maintaining a high local search ranking for your target keywords.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t use a non-local phone number. Make sure that the phone number that you use is a local landline and not a toll-free number. Toll-free numbers can make it more difficult for the search engines to track your place of business.
  • Don’t use a P.O. Box. Make sure to use your business’s physical address and not a P.O. box, as this can also make it more challenging for the search engines to track your location.
  • Don’t change your business name. Instead of adding location keywords to your business name, make sure to keep it intact to achieve the best search results.
  • Don’t falsify reviews. Search engines are getting better at identifying false reviews so it is important to ask for reviews from your satisfied customers rather than to create mock reviews that the search engines will notice and eventually de-value.

If you would like to learn more about how local search engine optimization can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free local SEO consultation.

 

 

 

social media day

Social Media Marketing in Times of Tragedy

If you’re using social media for marketing, what should you say following a tragedy like the deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon on April 15?

The horrific elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn.?

The October storm that took lives and devastated communities across the Northeast?

Sometimes, nothing at all.

The age of digital marketing brings with it new challenges, including how to respond during a national tragedy. Remember, as recently as Sept. 11, 2001, we had no MySpace, much less Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Except for email, no vehicle for delivering instantaneous marketing messages existed. After 9/11, one of the most painful days in American memory, most of us had time to pause, reflect and put on hold print, radio and TV marketing campaigns that might be viewed as inappropriate or offensive.

In recent months, there has been lively debate on this topic in the marketing community, including how and when to tie – or not to tie — a marketing message into the news of the day, a  widely used strategy.

Gaffes can occur with the most innocent of intentions in any media content, marketing or not. Earlier in April, a new episode of the musical comedy “Glee” upset and angered parents in Newtown, Conn., because the plot featured a student bringing a gun to school, where it accidentally discharges.

“A lot of people were upset about it and that I feel horrible about,” Jane Lynch, one of the stars, told Access Hollywood Live days later. “If we added to anybody’s pain, that’s just certainly not what any of us wanted. … We’re always rather topical and rather current.”

Usually, however, simply applying your own sense of decency and good taste can help you avoid a blunder. Consider American Apparel’s notorious “Hurricane Sandy Sale – in case you’re bored during the storm,” advertised as tens of thousands of people endured freezing temperatures without power. Most of us wouldn’t have even considered such a ploy!

Here are a couple more suggestions for do’s and don’ts:

• If you use automated posts scheduled through a site such as HootSuite, turn them off immediately. If people don’t find them insensitive and uncaring or silly, they’ll likely conclude your messages come from a robot – not a real person – which is just as bad.

• Can you be helpful? Hours after the blasts in Boston, with cell phone service out in the city and family and friends desperately trying to connect with loved ones, Google.org launched “Person Finder: Boston Marathon Explosions.” There, individuals and organizations could share information about the status of marathon participants and spectators for those trying to find them.

If your community has suffered a tragic event, perhaps you have helpful information to share. Here in Florida, which is affected by hurricanes, people use social media to help evacuees and their pets find shelter, and to alert others to danger, such as downed power lines. Depending on your area of expertise, you may be able to provide more general information or commentary. For instance, an educator can share tips for answering children’s questions about the event. Philanthropists might comment on those selflessly step up to help.

• Of course, social media is also about reactions and, for many, that’s a sincere expression of sympathy for and unity with those affected.

If you want to post something and you’re unsure about what to say, take a look at what businesses and other brands are sharing, and how online users are reacting. You may decide to just say nothing for a day or two, or whatever time seems reasonable given the nature of the event.

Sometimes, saying nothing at all speaks volumes.

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms.

Entrepreneurs

SRP helps Entrepreneurs Learn to Grow Business

Humberto Contreras owns Gorda’s Baja Taco in Phoenix. It’s a tall order for Contreras, like most small-business owners, to operate his restaurant day to day. However, he’s savvy enough to know that to get noticed in the competitive culinary world, you have to get on social media, pronto. Contreras recently enrolled in the free Facebook for Business 101 workshop offered by his utility company, Salt River Project (SRP), to get started.

“I learned Facebook is the ‘in’ thing, and if you’re not on it, you are falling behind,” Contreras said. “I learned what to do, how to post and attract customers, and how to stand out on Facebook.”

Contreras, along with hundreds of other small-business owners, took advantage of the series of free workshops led by Ken Colburn, founder and CEO of Data Doctors. From September 2012 through February 2013, SRP conducted five free workshops about social media and key channels:

·        Social Media for Business 101

·        Facebook for Business 101

·        Twitter for Business 101

·        LinkedIn for Business 101

·        Google AdWords for Business 101

The final social media workshop for SRP small-business customers, Lifecycle Marketing for Small Business, is scheduled for April 30 at the Fiesta Resort Conference Center in Tempe. To learn more or watch the complete video series now available online, go to srpbizresource.com.

“It is no longer a luxury or an option for small-business owners to decide if they are going to engage in social media or not,” Colburn said. “It’s a must to remain relevant. You have to understand this communication tool. It is how people are making buying decisions in virtually every business.”

The social media guru offers his top three tips for entrepreneurs:

1.      Don’t procrastinate. The longer you wait to get started, the further behind you will be.
Don’t let the overwhelming nature of social media keep you from stepping forward.

2.      To start, pick one social network. Learn the basics, stay focused until you feel comfortable and then move on to another network.

3.      Start small. Set aside time. Keep it simple with no more than 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to get familiar with social media and understand the basics.

“The three keys to social media are to listen, engage and measure,” Colburn explained. “A lot of people make the mistake of using social media as a megaphone to shout their marketing message. Social media is not a monologue; it’s a dialogue. If you are not having conversations with people, you are not doing it right.”

In 2011, SRP launched its Business Resource Center (BRC) to offer small and midsize entrepreneurs a valuable online business resource to help them grow and sustain their businesses. The one-stop resource is packed with critical information in the following categories:

·        Economy at a glance
·        Business success stories
·        Local and national business resources
·        News and research
·        Current and pending legislation
·        Advice from business experts
·        Workshops

Business customers requested more information about social media, which spawned the series of free workshops designed to help small-business owners harness the power of social media.

“I think it’s great for SRP to step up and recognize this is one of the challenges for small businesses and try to help educate people,” Colburn said. “And this is one of the ways Data Doctors also likes to try to give back to the community.”

81270218

Local Search Engine Optimization

Better rankings in search engines can have a significant impact on any business. For local businesses, higher visibility can result in more sales, more exposure, and accelerated business growth. From doctor’s offices to dry cleaners, local search engine optimization (SEO) has influenced the way customers are interacting with local businesses online. With the ever-expanding popularity of the Internet, more people are turning to search engines to locate local businesses. Local businesses that seize the opportunity that local SEO offers can experience measurable results and unprecedented growth.

How Search Engines Rank Websites

Before launching a local search campaign, it is important to understand the basic methodology used by search engines to rank web pages. Several factors are used to determine which websites are more relevant to a user’s search. Based on available evidence, there are two main components involved in how websites are ranked: relevance and popularity. These two components are also referred to as on-site factors and off-site factors respectively.

Search engines determine the relevance of a web page based on the content of that page, which includes the body text of the page, the title tag, meta description, alt tag, etc. Relevant keywords are strategically placed in the content and code of the website to alert the search engines to what the page is about and what users can expect to find when they visit that page.

While on-page factors are important, off-page factors also play a significant role in how the website is ranked in the search engines. The popularity of the page is determined by off-page factors such as the volume of incoming links to the website, the quality of those links, and the relevance of those links. In order to gain higher rankings in the search engines, it is important to ensure that the website is appropriately optimized and that a quality link building strategy is used.

Five Best Practices for Local Search Engine Optimization

While there are several known factors such as title tags, meta descriptions, and incoming links that play a role in rankings, each search engine has a unique algorithm that they use to rank web pages, and as such, rankings on separate search engines can be quite different. The algorithms of search engines are updated constantly, which means that the factors that they use to rank websites today could be different than those used tomorrow. For this reason, it is imperative to utilize the following industry best practices when implementing a local SEO campaign.

Titles & Descriptions. The titles and descriptions on the company website should be properly optimized to include relevant keywords. The title tag is considered the most important on-page factor, as it is usually given the most weight by the search engines in determining what the page is about. Optimizing the title tags and descriptions is a key step to good local search engine optimization. Here is an example of how your site should appear in Google’s search results:

Location. Make sure to include the city and state in the content of the web page that the search engine will index. The location should be included in the title tag, meta description, alt tag, and the body copy.

Sitemaps. A good HTML/XML sitemap can go a long way in helping to build search rankings. The sitemap provides a list of all of the web pages so that the search engines can quickly index all of the pages on the website. The sitemap is one of the most important elements to a properly optimized website.

Local Directories. Local directory listings can help a business reach their customers directly, and it can also provide relevant, quality links back to the website to improve the website’s search rankings. There are hundreds of local directories on the Web, and businesses can enjoy increased visibility and exposure from including their business in as many of those directories as possible. In Part Two of this three part series on Local Business optimization, we will be exploring the Do’s and Don’ts of local directories and what it takes to stand out in Google Places.

Fresh Content. Search engines love fresh content, so updating the website on a consistent basis can help gain and maintain good search rankings. The best way to keep customers updated about recent news, events, product updates, etc. is to create a blog. The blog can serve as a platform to inform, educate, interest, and inspire customers and readers, which is a great way to gain more exposure to the business. The blog also serves as the social media hub, and the content on the blog can be shared on other social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, etc.

Why a Pro is Often Necessary for Best Results

A successful local SEO campaign requires dedication, persistence, patience, and a powerful strategy. A professional can correctly optimize the website while also providing expert guidance on ways that businesses can achieve more visibility and growth. With a robust link building strategy along with on-page optimization, businesses can improve their website rankings, drive more traffic to their website, and connect with more customers. A professional can help eliminate the guesswork in working with website code and can also implement a natural and effective link building strategy.

If you would like to learn more about how SEO can help your business, please contact Net-Craft.com at 480-563-0558 for a free consultation.

Is Facebook Worth the Effort for Small Business?

I’m a big advocate of social media, including Facebook, but whether or not it’s right for your business depends largely upon what you expect it to do and the type of business you’re in. Having been active in social media in the B2B space for the last several years, I often compare what we’re doing on social media with some of my favorite brands (most of which happen to be B2C brands) and the audience we’re able to build, the engagement we’re able to experience, and the results we’re able to see pale by comparison to a strong B2C social media presence—but I’m pleased with the growth we see when compared to other B2B brands in our space.

We also regularly experiment with advertising on social media with limited to moderate success when compared to other direct marketing channels. Nevertheless, I’ve seen and read about the same marketing approaches reaping great results for consumer brands. In fact, I’ve even responded to adds that offered me products I might be interested in—and have even made purchases. But, I don’t want to be a focus group of one.

According to Erik Sherman, “Facebook marketing? A must according to many companies. Not worth the trouble to some. But most of the voices you hear are in the business-to-consumer space.” He continues, ” After all, people go onto Facebook for fun. But what if you’re trying to reach other businesses, making the seemingly reasonable argument that the users don’t stop being involved in business just because they’re taking a break?”

I have yet to be convinced that social media like Facebook is a viable direct marketing channel in the B2B space, but it’s definitely a good vehicle for promoting content. Social media has proven to be a good media for building an audience that’s interested in your industry, interested in learning, and willing to engage with you online. And, they often become some of your very best customers.

Three or four years ago I think it was Marketo’s Phil Fernandez who suggested that people who engaged with their social media before entering the sales process were better informed and prepared to make a purchase than those who didn’t. He suggested that it was time to stop thinking about the sales cycle and start thinking about the revenue cycle. He suggested that social media was a great vehicle for planting seeds that eventually became prospects and entered the sales funnel. He also argues that the traditional linear approach to marketing handing off a lead to sales and sales closing the deal doesn’t seem to work as well as when marketers continue to nurture, educate, and inform all throughout the revenue cycle.

I’m convinced that social media and content marketing play an incredibly valuable role within the revenue cycle. With that in mind, I believe social media is worth the effort for small business—I’m just not convinced that it makes sense to advertise there.


Small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty makes small business best practices, tips and advice accessible by weaving personal experiences, historical references and other anecdotes into relevant discussions about leading people, managing a business and what it takes to be successful. Ty writes about small business for Lendio.

blog

CTCA hosts Blogger Summit

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) will be hosting its 2013 Blogger Summit on March 22-23 at the organization’s Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear. The event will span two days, with an agenda of events and speakers that will provide bloggers with valuable information about what’s happening on the forefront of cancer care and treatment.

This year’s theme, Innovation in Cancer Care and Personalized Medicine, will include breakout sessions covering topics such as: precision cancer medicine, natural ways to manage side effects, quality of life and a survivorship discussion with Matthew Zachary – founder and CEO of Stupid Cancer, the largest support network in the United States for young adults facing cancer.

“It has been such a pleasure to partner with CTCA to support young adults affected by cancer,” says Zachary. “The blogger summit is yet another example of how we empower those affected to get busy living every day.”

At the age of 21, Zachary—then a concert pianist and composer—was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer as a college Senior. Throughout the course of his treatment, Zachary found there weren’t any resources focused on cancer patients/survivors his age as they were all skewed too young or too old for his age group.

In 2007, Matthew founded Stupid Cancer, a nonprofit organization that empowers young adults affected by cancer through innovative and award-winning programs and services. Today, Stupid Cancer not only provides support to young adults facing cancer, but also acts as an expert resource to its vast global following.

Since 1988, CTCA has been helping patients win the fight against cancer using advanced technology with a highly personalized approach. The 2013 CTCA Blogger Summit will present influential cancer and health-related bloggers with information and resources to share with their readers, and allow them to keep their blogs on the cutting-edge of cancer related topics. If you are a blogger interested in attending the summit please email: Laura.Malamud@ctca-hope.com.

Stupid Cancer (formerly the I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation) is a non-profit organization that empowers young adults affected by cancer through innovative and award-winning programs and services. We are the nation’s largest support community for this underserved population and serve as a bullhorn for the young adult cancer movement. Our charter is to ensure that no one goes unaware of the age-appropriate support resources they are entitled to so they can get busy living. For more information, visit http://stupidcancer.org.

social media day

Is Google+ Better for Business than Facebook or Twitter?

In the world of social networks, innovation can quickly change the field of frontrunners — remember LiveJournal?

We just saw it again as Google+ overtook Twitter to claim the No. 2 spot behind Facebook. And the new kid is already better than Mark Zuckerberg’s baby for small businesses, professional firms and entrepreneurs, says Alex Hinojosa, vice president of media operations for EMSI (www.emsipublicrelations.com).

“I knew Google+ would attract a big following because it really lends itself to business uses and SEO,” says Hinojosa, who has witnessed the value of Google+ grow exponentially in the daily operations of his PR firm.

A new Global Web Index study show Google+ grew to 343 million users globally in December, or about 25 percent of global internet users. Facebook still accounts for 50 percent of the pie.

“Facebook continues to go through self-imposed changes that are seeing mixed responses from longtime users,” Hinojosa says. “The new No. 2 has much, much more to offer than simply being an alternative to the big dog.”

Hinojosa reviews the merits of Google+ as a business tool, and why he believes the social network will continue its meteoric rise:

• Power: Google+ may be the new kid when it comes to social media – it’s not even 2 years old yet — but Google has become synonymous with anything online. The “new kid” offers something that no other social media platform can: Google power.

• Overwhelming advantage: “Google loves its newest offspring and it favors any post, article, picture and link posted on Google+,” Hinojosa says. “If you post a link on your Google+ about asthma remedies, and one of your connections is logged in to Google+ and searches for asthma remedies, your post will show up high in his Google search results.”

• In action: Let’s say you own an art gallery full of nature photos. Your website for promoting the gallery highlights “mountain photos,” “wildlife photos,” and “waterfall photos” and you’ve created matching URLs for each page, such as bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now you head over to post your newest update on Google+. You post a message about the waterfall, then you add the link to your waterfall page, bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now, whenever one of your connections types “waterfall photos” into a Google search, whether it’s days, weeks or months later, there you are on page 1 of the results. Your post shows up, your profile picture shows up, and your link shows up.

“Once upon a time MySpace was king, but over a period of about a year the world made a seamless transition onto Facebook, which may very well see a mass exodus of users,” Hinojosa says. “If your business or employer is not already on Google+, it’s time to make the move.”

Alex Hinojosa is the Vice President of Media Operations at EMSI Public Relations, where he oversees the creative process and execution of print (traditional & online), radio, TV and social media campaigns.  He has an extensive background in radio, working as a national talk-show host and executive producer for CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and ESPN in major markets.  Alex is also a (social) media coach and fill-in talk show host for Genesis Communications Florida.

social.media

Super Bowl power outage shines light on PR opportunity

One of the biggest victories that came out of this year’s Super Bowl was not the Baltimore Ravens win, but the fast thinking public relations and creative teams that seized the moment when the lights went out. When the players were side lined due to a 34-minute power outage viewers immediately took to social media. According to Twitter, users sent an estimated 24.1 million tweets during the game, with a bulk of postings taking place during the blackout.

While television ads during the Super Bowl broadcast were at an all-time premium at $3.8 million for 30 second spots, outreach and engagement on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube was a fraction of the cost.

Quick turn around

Two major brands that pulled out all the stops and generated considerable buzz were Tide and Oreo. Tide posted an image with a simple headline reading, “We can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out.” The image was retweeted more than 1,300 times. Oreo generated even more interest with its post showing on Oreo cookie illuminated on a dark page with copy reading, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet was retweeted approximately15,000 times and was still being talked about the next day.

While fans waited for the lights to turn back on and for the game to resume, there was an estimated 231,000 tweets taking place per minute.

Looking to the companies and brands that recognized the opportunity serves as a valuable lesson in PR communications, and aptly demonstrates the advantage of a timely response. Having the ability to seize the moment and turnaround clever content quickly, paid off. While the NFL covered the blackout with banter about the game, viewers and ticket holders turned to their smartphones and tablets to access social media sites to receive updates and share.

Expanding reach

Unlike any other televised event, the enormous publicity building up to and surrounding the NFL championship takes on a life well beyond the match-up of teams. Viewers have equally as much interest, if not more in the half-time entertainment and the commercials. It may even be safe to say that the Super Bowl is the only televised program where viewers do not consider the commercials or half time as an optimal time for a bathroom break. Nor do most viewers set the DVR just so they can fast forward to get to the “good stuff.”

Most notable is the significant amount of pre and post publicity coverage centered on the ads themselves. News teams on local and national stations discuss which companies will be advertising during the game and in some case go so far to show video clip teasers. In the days after the game the buzz continues with post game dissection of which ads were deemed favorites.

On YouTube this year’s award-winning Budweiser ad featuring the Clydesdales has received more than 11 million views and 56 thousand “likes”. In addition, while we don’t have access to the statistics, we know they also benefited from viral email, Facebook, and Twitter shares. In other words, the $3 million plus price tag for ad time may be warranted not just because of high program viewership, but because of the added value received from PR and the viral viewing via social media.

Super Bowl XLVII proved to be an exciting game full of entertainment, surprise blackout and all. While the city of New Orleans and the operations team at Mercedes-Benz Superdome were not prepared for an electrical outage, some savvy marketing and PR professionals were certainly prepared. Let Super Bowl XLVII be a lesson to us all in how to maximize PR and utilize the increasing power and up-to-the-minute connection of social media to engage and expand a campaign.

social.media

4 Keys to effective Small Business Blogging, Social Media

A week or so ago I gave some marketing advice to a small business owner trying to promote his fly-fishing lodge. It’s an incredible lodge, with access to world-class private fishing as well as being nestled smack dab in the middle of a National Forest—the perfect spot for a fly-fishing vacation.

“Facebook is just for teenagers,” he said. “I’m wasting my time with social media, right?”

For his situation, it was an easy answer. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging offered him a real opportunity to promote his lodge—provided he did it right.

The last several years of my career have been focused on content marketing (social media, blogging, PR, etc.). With my direct marketing background, if you’d told me I’d be doing anything as “fluffy” as writing a blog or spending my day in social media, I’d likely have laughed you out of the room. Because offers drive response—wasting time on anything like a blog or contributed article was a waste of time. I was wrong.

Fortunately, old dogs can learn new tricks.

Should small business owners consider blogging and social media to promote their businesses? Yes—and maybe, provided you do it right.

I’m convinced there are four keys to successful small business blogging and social media. If you’re going to invest in this channel, these tips will give you an idea of the commitment you should be prepared to make:

1.     You’ve got to be consistent: I write every day. I’m publishing something someplace almost every day. Most small business owners don’t need to write every day, but they need to be consistent. I suggested to my friend from the fishing lodge that he should publish something new on his blog three times a week. What’s more, he should be posting on media like Facebook and Twitter at least a couple times a day. It’s not really the volume of content, but how consistent you are. Your readers will become accustomed to your cadence and will anticipate your next post.  You might also be interested to know that it takes 50 posts before Google will index you. At a post a week, it will be a year before Google’s search engine starts to pay any attention to you.
2.     Write it yourself: Some executives hire ghostwriters (hired guns who write for them as if they were them). It’s no secret that some CEOs are better writers than others; or might not have the time to invest in a weekly blog post or monthly-contributed article. Particularly for a CEO who is trying to establish him or herself as a thought leader, I think a ghostwriter is a little disingenuous. It should be you, not your publicist writing for you. I started blogging years ago because my CEO at the time didn’t have the time or the chops to pound out a daily blog (which is what we did to get our 50 posts as quickly as we could). He also knew that pretending to be him would ultimately be discovered and would reflect negatively on him, our company, and me. He chose, to his credit, to allow me to write under my own name and establish myself as our company’s thought leader. As a result I was invited to write and speak at different industry events all over the world. Rather than face the potential embarrassment of being discovered as a fraud, he was lauded for being a savvy and innovative CEO.
3.     Make it personal: Here’s where we can really learn something from the lifestyle and mom bloggers. They talk about their families, the products they use, and how they use them. Over the years, my readers have come to know me because I share some of the details of my life. For example, they know I waste too much time on my Harley, drive a Jeep, and enjoy fly-fishing. Because business is personal, sharing a little of yourself when it’s relevant to the discussion at hand, makes you more accessible. People like doing business with other people. If you can’t do that, find a trusted employee who has the skills and allow them to become the public face of your company. If they are trusted and respected, people will do business with you because of your association with them.
4.     Be credible—don’t waste your time: You can’t always be a salesman. I recommended to my friend with the fishing lodge that he should share tips and hints for catching more fish regardless of where you were. You should do the same. Share information about your industry that will help your readers be successful—even if they don’t use your products. It may feel counter-intuitive, but there are numerous examples of companies that have very successfully leveraged this tactic within their content marketing strategy. I’ve seen competitors treat social media like their other marketing channels and flood the medium with sales messages that get ignored. If you share information that will benefit those who could be your customers, they will become your customers because they trust you and the information you freely share. We see those results at Lendio and monitor them on a weekly basis.

Is blogging and social media right for your business? Depending on your approach it could be perfect for your business. Thanks for reading.

Small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty Kiisel makes small business best practices, tips and advice accessible by weaving personal experiences, historical references and other anecdotes into relevant discussions about leading people, managing a business and what it takes to be successful. Ty writes about small business for Lendio.