Got Plan? 10 posts on Social Media Strategy, Tools and Tactics

Do you suppose they have an app for strategy? Terrific and funny question, posed by Valeria Maltoni on her blog last week.

Many small businesses struggle with ideas for social media strategy, knowing the tools–Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs–but not how to use them, measure success or where to start.

The Pros Know

As a PR pro, I can tell you that social media can make your professional life better.

Social media experts have learned to share. Tips on social media, how to advice on setting up Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, the Ins and Outs of blogging for inbound marketing. You name it, it’s out here.

From the blogroll and beyond: I’ve got 10 posts (counting Valeria’s) this week on social media marketing strategy.

Got Game Plan?

Think Global, Shop Local

If your social media reach doesn’t need to go viral–just around the corner–to get you ahead, there are plenty of strategies for using social media for local businesses. Four posts for marketing local, retail business:

BTW: Shout out to PRWeb inspiring this post with this article on blogger relations strategy. Thanks!

Have a favorite blog post on social media marketing strategy? Please share it here.

Atlanta Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media

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Like a Bad Neighbor: When Direct Marketing Fails

Last weekend I posted one of my first #FAILS on Twitter. Not quick to call folks out or slam someone with a #FAIL, but this one was too easy.

Saturday afternoon, I got a telemarketing call and nice work Do Not Call list! Yes I should have ignored it, let the machine get it but answered I did.

“Great News! State Farm is lowering car insurance rates in your area.” How fabulous: a telemarketing price promotion.

Here is where it went off the rails:

I am already a State Farm car insurance customer. After I informed the solicitor of that, he made no offer to upsell my coverage or lower my rates. Just “ok, never mind.” Click.

Just a few of the Marketing 101 problems:

  1. A telemarketing company working to sell State Farm (product)
  2. A defined geographical target (that included my area, place)
  3. No legitimate marketing plan for current customers (price and promotion)

A mere five minutes of computer cross tabbing and voila, someone could and SHOULD have pulled every phone number of existing customers off of what is presumably a paid-for calling list.

Waste. Waste. Waste.

One person responded to my Twitter #fail, casting blame on the direct marketing firm (as had I in my tweet) while championing State Farm corporate. Fine. But someone at State Farm has hired this company, is paying them to do a job and needs to rethink what firm should be doing its direct marketing and more importantly, how.

This is old school mass marketing and advertising–badly done no less–that will not work in 2010 as social media and strategic thinking push marketing communications forward.

What do you think? What bad, old-school marketing have you seen lately?

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Better PR Tactics for Today’s Media

The October PRSA ICF meeting on Dead PR Tactics provided smart ideas from panelists: Connie Bryant, Newell Rubbermaid; Nancy Rogers, BOLDface Communications, Green Earth PR Network; Chris Schroder, Schroder PR; and moderator: Ed Van Herik, Independent Counselor.

After identifying Five Dead PR tactics, we talked about what strategies are alive and well, working in PR today.

Some PR tactics are poised for a comeback. 

Creative Commons license, via Flickr and David Sifry

  • B roll. Media budgets are tighter than ever, so having more resources available for the press is a huge asset. Good video footage that can be edited into a newscast can get you into the story. Think digital, have files ready for FTP download.
  • Pictures.Like video, the right picture tells and sells the story.
    • For a glossy print publication, have professionally shot high-resolution pictures.
    • If it’s a blog you’re after, send them the low-resolution (web) version. (I have an entire blog post devoted to photography in the works; stay tuned.)
  • PSAs (Public Service Announcements) may make a comeback on radio pending possible updated regulations from the FCC. This will probably have more impact for non-profit public relations. Stay tuned.
  • Press Release. Shorter, better written, and reworked for SEO. It’s the template for your pitch, and at times still requested. Also consider the Social Media release.

Some tactics have long lives, strengthened by today’s climate.

  • Client Training. Always necessary and needed, in spite of client protests, educating the client about today’s media, their interests and how as their PR counsel you work with media to tell the client’s story is essential to managing expectations.
  • Website Newsroom. With newspaper and magazine staffs being cut, more journalists are turning to social media and online resources for information. An online newsroomis the electronic press kit: Fact Sheets, Executive Bios, the boilerplate information that a writer or blogger would need, along with the latest Press Releases all in one convenient location.
    • Downloadable product and employee images, various resolutions.
    • Downloadable PDF versions of Fact Sheets, Brochures, Sales materials.
    • Think multimedia, multichannel. Everything from print, to audio to video.
  • Extend the Coverage.Media hits are great but they are only part of the package. Think beyond reprints, maximize what you get, take control and send them out to your audiences. Put it in a blog, add links to it or post the reprint PDF on the Website newsroom.
    • For my clients–yeah, doing something right–I:
      • Repackage the news in their quarterly newsletter.
      • Send it out as part of a bi-monthly HTML email or e-blast with links.
      • Link it through news sharing sites like StumbleUpon or Digg.
      • And of course, extend it the social media way: post on their Facebook page, LinkedIn groups, and share links on Twitter.

It boils down to working smarter: better research to identify the right reporters, targeting stories to key media channels, and give them what they need. HARO is such a success because of a simple proposition: help a reporter out. Provide the tools and resources reporters and bloggers need for their stories, then get out of the way.

What PR tactics are working for you?

Thanks to Jenny Schmitt for her smart ideas. Photo credit: Creative Commons via Flickr and David Sifry

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Stick a Fork in It: Five Dead Public Relations Tactics

This month’s PRSA Independent Counselors meeting on Dead Public Relations Tactics provided great insights coupled with funny stories from panel speakers, including: Connie Bryant, Newell Rubbermaid; Nancy Rogers, BOLDface Communications, Green Earth PR Network; Chris Schroder, Schroder PR; and moderator: Ed Van Herik, Independent CounselorSo Five PR tactics deemed dead, or near dead:

trash2(Paper. Paper is so out, paper actually takes numbers 1, 2 and 3!)

  1. Press Releases. While the press release itself is not dead (?), a printed-on-letterhead press release sent via mail or fax is certainly not necessary today. (Hint: rhymes with e-mail.)
  2. Press Kits. Big money used to be spent packaging stories in pretty folders with series of four-color brochures, letterhead-printed fact sheets, business cards, etc. Big waste of money now. Reporters don’t have filing cabinets; today they work on laptops.
    • Some clients still insist on mass distributing press releases and press kits, in spite of assurances from their hired experts that journalists do not read them (and if you emailed it, you run the risk of getting blocked for being a spammer).
    • A fancy kit or picture may catch a reporter’s eye, which means wow, you might get them on the phone. But if they’re interested, you have to resend the materials because they “filed” it right away.
    • And yes, after we pitch and call and get the reporter on the phone and interested in the news/story, they ask for…wait for it…a press release. Sigh.
  3. Faxes. See number 1. If it is paper, it’s not being read.
    • Newsrooms sometimes turn off the fax machines. If it’s breaking news, it cannot sit in a pile of paper until someone reads it.

      Paper can be the cut through, that thing that stands out–for the right outlet, pitch and client. Obviously not anything breaking, but PAPER could cut through the electronic din of emails, tweets, RSS feeds for the right story or event.
  4. Press Conferences. Breaking, hard news gets press conference coverage, and that is not usually for a “good” story. Press conferences cover politics, crises, major stories impacting national or regional audiences, or other urgent news. Like Balloon Boy or annoying reality TV people.
  5. Trade shows. Connections are down, fewer media outlets are going, and they send fewer reporters. They have their place for some marketing programs, but trade shows aren’t what they once were.

Exception: Product Demonstrations. Rather than a boring press conference or trade show release, a smart engaging product demonstration can be a good way to present a new product or service to a group of reporters. Bonus if you can pull together multiple brands within your industry and offer a joint demonstration where reporters can get more information for their time invested.

So check yourself PR pro. As professionals, it’s our job to keep current and understand how media audiences respond to our tactics and adjust those tactics for best responses. If you’re still sending out faxes, printing and sending pricey media kits, hosting press conferences for every news announcement, consider this a permission slip to stop it. You’re in danger of getting a headstone in the PR graveyard.

What would you add to Dead PR Tactics?

This was a joint blog post by Davina K. Brewer, with some great suggestions from Jenny Schmitt. Up next, Better PR Tactics for Today’s Media.

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