What’s stopping your organization from using social media effectively?

This was the first blog post I sourced from a conversation on LinkedIn.  I posed the question to a group of PR pros, and got some great insight.  Fast forward a year and a half, and many of the issues they highlighted still persist.

Beyond PR

While many companies are using social media to build relationships with their customers, position their experts as thought leaders, deliver customer service and generate leads, many more are struggling to get started.  Commonly cited barriers to launching social media programs include:

  • Fear:  The perceived risks of being active in social networks have hobbled institutional will
  • Lack of resources or time:  Communcations and marketing departments are running on minimal budgets and lean staffs
  • Concerns about measurement and demonstrating ROI – especially important when budgets are constrained
  • Regulatory constraints

How to overcome intertia? A recent seminar by Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire’s director of emerging media, offered some stats and tips.

One particular key to getting a social media program off the ground  is finding the internal champion to sell the program to internal stakeholders. You’ll need someone who can educate others and make the case across departments and budgets.   In so many…

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The importance of earnestly developing an audience

Beyond PR

The latest doom and gloom forecast for traditional media came via a recent  Harris Interactive poll, which found that more than 55% of adults in the U.S. believe that traditional media will no longer exist as we know it in ten years.

I’d ask a different set of questions.  Like do you think there will be interest in investigative reporting 10 years from now?  Or, are you likely to want to see local news in the next ten years?  How about in-depth news analysis?  Or are you interested in watching more news in video format?

The overwhelming answer to these questions would have been yes.  And these are parts of the franchise that traditional media has not yet lost.  In fact the same poll found that 67% of respondents prefer to get their news via such traditional sources as newspapers, television and print magazines.

So the most important issue is…

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Networked content: Tips for using content online

Beyond PR

Press releases have long been stock-in-trade for public relations.  However, in today’s age of networked content, you can do a lot more with a simple press release – or other message -than you might have imagined.   Here are a few simple tips to turn your press releases into powerful online channels that drive traffic and generate visibility for your organization.

  • Link!  Content distributed via PR Newswire is syndicated across thousands of different web sites. Direct interested readers straight to relevant pages on your web site – and build backlinks (important from an SEO standpoint) for your organization too – by linking an important keyword or two to related web pages.   Be sure to link from keywords (not phrases like “click here” or “more information”) and put the links within the first paragraph.    One or two keyword links per press release is ideal.
  • Write with social media in mind. Encourage people…

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SEO en Espanol: Integrating SEO and PR to Reach the US Hispanic Audience

Beyond PR

How do you reach the Hispanic audience in the US?  The same way you reach your other constituents – online, with social media and search engine optimization.  PRSA Miami held a webinar this week focused on how PR pros can use SEO tactics to raise the visibility of their messages targeting the fast-growing US Hispanic audience.

Source: eMarketer, Hispanics Online: Demographics & Media Usage, 5/10

The vast majority of Hispanic households in the US have internet access – upward of 70%.  Not surprisingly, search engine marketing is the most effective – and cost effective – means of marketing to this group.    There are a few key differences, however, to which we need to pay attention:

  • Google is the search engine of choice, and is the engine upon which you should focus your efforts.
  • Mobile devices are hugely popular in Latin America, and among Hispanics in the US, and…

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Humanizing the Brand: Tips for Engaging Facebook Fans

Beyond PR

Engaging Facebook fans and building visibility within this burgeoning social network was the focus of a recent PR Newswire educational webinar featuring Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel. The presentation was loaded with tactical advice, and framed by two important ideas:

Facebook is (in and of itself) a unique attention market.

Facebook is the place where people are going to hang out, interact – and seek information.  In fact, earlier this year, Facebooks’ traffic exceeded Google’s. The opportunity for marketers is clear – Facebook is embedded in the daily habits of hundreds of millions of people.  It’s created a new attention market that has its own set of rules.

Facebook’s ROI is in humanizing the brand, not in generating direct sales.

While it’s easy to get caught up in Facebook’s very attractive demographic numbers (more than 40% of households using Facebook have incomes in excess of $70,000) a central…

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Social Media for B2B Companies – A Report from SocialTech 2010

Beyond PR

Social media and audience engagement strategies for technology-sector B2B companies were front and center at yesterday’s SocialTech 2010 conference. Hosted by MarketingProfs and IDG, the event featured some of social media’s heaviest hitters and in-depth looks how some big technology brands like SAP, Intel and Adobe have integrated social media deeply into their communications strategies.

Even in the B2B context, social media has changed communications practices, strategies and tactics for some savvy players.  These organizations have essentially made social interaction a pillar of their marketing programs.  We’re not talking about merely bolting-on a Facebook page or sticking a few videos up on Youtube.

This sort of sea-change has developed some new truths in its wake that run counter to traditional marketing and PR practices.  These include:

  • Communicators need to trade information (such as that gleaned from a registration page) for interaction.
  • Interactions with engaged audiences have a high value –…

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Personalizing Social Media Programs – Generating True Interaction

Beyond PR

What do big brands making successful use of social media channels like giants GM, JetBlue and Kenmore have in common with the Roger Smith Hotel (a small arts hotel in New York) and Ramon DeLeon (a Chicago-based owner of six Domino’s Pizza stores)?  The answer: all have built successful social media presences that deliver genuine business results – and all have mastered the art of interacting individually with members of their audience.

The interactions begin universally with the folks behind the brand handles on Twitter and the accounts on Facebook, who pay close attention to what their online followers and friends are saying – and respond in person.

“I’m building relationships on Twitter all day,”says Richard Goldsmith of Kenmore, and the voice behind @kenmoreconnects on Twitter.

Adam Wallace (@adwal) of the Roger Smith Hotel agrees in principle.  “It’s so important to remember that the in-person connection and relationships drive the…

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SEO Tips for Press Release Writers

Beyond PR

Building search engine optimization into your organization’s public relations workflow can significantly boost the results your online press release generate.  And anymore, SEO also means tailoring press releases for sharing in social networks.  The connection between social media, search engine optimization and public relations continues to grow in significance, and provides real opportunity to reach and engage wider online audiences for communicators willing to pay attention to a few important details, including:

  • Disciplined selection of keywords
  • Structuring press releases with search engines and social networks in mind
  • Specific use of anchor text links
  • Integration of SEO practices into the PR workflow – including offline pursuits.

Keywords

Much ado has been made about the importance of keywords in SEO circles, and rightfully so.  Keywords are not the term you think best describes what you’re promoting. Keywords are the terms real people use when searching for information online.    In the following…

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Twitter PR Tactics: Writing a Tweetable Press Release

Beyond PR

Twitterers are enthusiastic sharers of information of all kinds, from breaking news and blog posts, to press releases and media kits.   Harnessing the power of this important social media network can really give your PR campaigns a boost. Here are some tips on writing press releases for Twitter that will help ensure your messages are easy for active Twitterers to share.

1.      Write a succinct, “Tweetable” headline.  Messages conveyed on Twitter must be 140 characters or less, however, best practices for writing Tweets suggest that you should leave some characters available to allow others to share (or “ReTweet”) your message.  Our advice?  Keep headlines short – no more than 100 characters, which leaves plenty of room for others to comment – and for the URL linking back to your story.

2.      Make it easy for people to link to your story.  If you’re e-mailing a pitch to a journalist or…

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People, Content and Measurement: Recurring Themes from BlogWorld

Beyond PR

I was fortunate to be part of the team PR Newswire sent to BlogWorld this year.  It was a grueling weekend, and a tremendous experience, bringing together some of the brightest minds in social media, digital marketing, blogging and PR.

The team spread out and attended a wide variety of sessions, soaking up information on everything from managing online communities to the latest trends in using video in social networks.   Despite the broad array of subjects covered, we noticed that a few central themes recurred.  These were:

People:

“If your market is people, and your niche is human, then they are on social networks,” was the memorable line delivered by Scott Stratten in the opening keynote, and that set the tone for the conference. Resoundingly and without a doubt, the overarching meme from BlogWorld was that social media is about personal interaction.  Relationships drive business.  For the people behind branded…

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