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Posts Tagged ‘communications strategy’

Today’s entry is a guest post featuring the insight and savvy of one of our favorite social media experts.

 So, by now, you’ve accepted (reluctantly) that the concept of “social media” is not fading into some distant memory like your 1988 acid wash jeans. But you still need a little convincing that it is more than the pursuit of high-schoolers  and a lot more than a productivity drain.

You’ve come to right place. Here we show you why social media is sticking and why you might want to take heed.

Before jumping on the ol’ soapbox, here is the first line of Wikipedia’s definition of social media: “Online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies.” While this definition is accurate, for a moment let’s forget Twitter, Yelp, Facebook and Linkedin — a few of these “highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies.”

The underlying importance and momentum of social media is not technology – though it would be non-existent without these innovations. The underlying importance and momentum is the same fuel that propels grassroots, populist movements: the chance for the masses to steer the boat.

Grassroots movements tend to generate an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm and support (think Civil Rights Movement and the New Deal) because the people involved feel able and empowered to effect change and be heard by others. This same genre of excitement is the force behind this new wave of information and interaction, and individuals and organizations alike are clamoring to get on board because they want their turn as influencer.

Before, information was a one-way street, flowing from the few to the many, the affluent to the masses. What we knew and felt was dictated to us. Now, all things flow in 3-D, from the masses to the elite, from the elite to the masses and from peer to peer. More importantly, we get our news from the voices of real people who we know and trust.

Every individual, politician and business now has an equal shot at disseminating knowledge, ideas and calls to action. So, social media for businesses is not only fertile soil to make yourself heard, but the rare chance to listen to the groups that matter to you: customers, investors and the media. It is a priceless opportunity to engage in effective dialogue with these groups and become top of mind – a smart goal in any communications strategy.

While, in some regards, the barriers to entry are low in this new medium and the opportunities are almost limitless, the space is also filled with potential minefields if not navigated correctly. It’s a powerful tool that, in less than 140 characters, allows you to transmit your message to hundreds or thousands of potential new customers, and, in the same breath, alienate or offend them. I have watched first-hand at least one competitor suffer irreversible damage in the blogging world due to an under-researched and poorly executed social media strategy. I highly recommend spending time and possibly resources on learning the rules and how best to engender trust before jumping onto that ship.

Olivia Loy is a public relations and social media-savvy consultant who has managed to half-way endear her way into the hearts of bloggers, traditional press and users of other social media outlets. She is the acting Marketing and Public Relations Director for Esmeralda Distillery and has spent time on the writing and pr agency side of life. See if she is worth her salt on Twitter (handle: oliviamloy) or send her an email at oliviamloy@gmail.com.

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For any business wondering whether to implement a public relations strategy, the timing could not be more perfect or more critical. A new era of social media, a new way of thinking about (and implementing) public relations, and a shifting economy are all road signs pointing to why tackling your communications agenda should be a priority for you now rather than later. Here, we discuss in a little more depth.

  • The economy has changed, and with these new times come both anxiety and opportunity. Employees, investors and clients may be feeling a tad insecure about job security, direction and  your next move. Trained communications professionals can help you design and implement perfected messages that communicate to each of these groups in a way that re-invigorates trust, good-will and business overall.

 

  • While many are bemoaning the slump, several new opportunities exist now that didn’t before.  In terms of public relations and messaging, a new environment has opened up a treasure chest of business-related story and messaging possibilities. Take advantage of the inclement weather that may have rained out some of your competitors by increasing the level of exposure, quality and creativity of your brand to put you at the forefront of consumer thinking.

 

  • The media is now comprised of thousands of new online outlets, in addition to traditional press. These outlets are both goldmines … and landmines. Knowing how and what to communicate to these different groups can inspire fans, increase word-of-mouth brand awareness and put you in front of groups who are ready to buy or invest in you. While it’s tempting (and in some cases even advised) to reach out to traditional or social press on your own, what you don’t know can hurt you–and your chances of being heard. PR professionals have updated information on thousands of journalists worldwide, including their preferences for how and when to be pitched. Don’t make the mistake of calling when they prefer to be contacted only by email or vice versa!

 

  • One of the most significant reasons to choose public relations over another form of communicating (i.e., advertising) has to do with the underlying current of the way people receive information. Traditional advertising has its place, no doubt. But it is considerably more costly than PR and it consists of a one-way dialogue in a medium that’s also one-way. Most people today get their information online, even if they still subscribe to print and glossy publications. Online and “earned” media exposure allows for a conversation to take place, and for you to be a part of that conversation.

 

  • Public relations firms are starting to get it: You don’t have $50,000 a month to throw at a PR machine. Firms that are now entering into the market are doing things differently from the old regime, have set their sights beyond the traditional and have cut a lot of the excess fat from processes and retainer fees.  Sometimes, firms will even offer you custom, targeted packages that focus on just one or more areas of PR. When vetting experts, ask yourself these questions:  Do they ask a lot of questions? Are they flexible? Do they love your product/service as much as you do? How do they measure results? Are they passionate about what they do? Do they have references, portfolio or clipbook samples upon request?

What can we do for you? Find out by calling (916) 538-4146 or emailing cassiacomm [at] gmail [dot] com.

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