By Clearpoint Agency President, Bonnie Shaw
Our PR and digital marketing firm manages a number of brands on social media, and customer support has become an important part of good social media management. We respond to any negative comments and complaints posted on our clients’ social media channels, most often its on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. Our goals: respond quickly, decipher the problem and propose a solution.
But it amazes me that some people just don’t know how to complain in a manner that actually gets them what they want faster. So here are some Do’s and Don’ts to effectively complain on social media and get what you want.
- Don’t post over the weekend, late at night or during a holiday expecting rapid response. The social media manager who is monitoring the account is human and most likely is not at work during off hours and weekends. Expect delays in response to your weekend comments.
- Don’t post a general complaint like “this product stinks,” or “I’m disappointed,” etc. Give specifics calmly and politely for quickest results.
- Don’t rant on and on. Be succinct. It’s tough for the human at the other end to read tons of text to decipher what the problem is and how they might be able to help. It might make you feel better to get it off your chest, but the truth is it makes is more difficult to interpret. Be concise and outline your general complaint and a possible way to resolve.
- Don’t use expletives, put downs or sarcastic phrases. Most sites have a policy that any comments containing foul or abusive language will be flagged, reported or simply deleted. Most over the top comments will most likely be hidden on Facebook (meaning only you and your friends can see them), deleted from Twitter or possibly deleted from the main post stream by Yelp, which might deem it questionable.
- Don’t be mean. Remember the person on the other end of the post or call is a human being who probably didn’t invent or manufacture the product, or create the service policies. They are charged with helping you. When you get an email or call back from them, state your complaint calmly and succinctly, and then provide them with an opportunity to suggest a solution.
- Do use the sandwich technique when you state your complaint. Say something positive about the brand in general or thank them for responding to you quickly (establishes goodwill and trust), concisely state your experience or complaint, provide a possible solution, and then tell them you appreciate the opportunity to outline your complaint. Believe me, this is the best way to get your complaint heard and resolved quickly.
- Do give the company the benefit of the doubt. The brands we work with are sincere in their desire to make customers happy. They take pride in their products and services, and want to resolve customer complaints. So give them a chance to make things right. If they can’t refund all your money or provide a full replacement, ask if there are any other discounts or ways they might be able to help. Again, they want to make customers happy, but they have limits, too.
- Do ask for a manager if you don’t feel you are not communicating well with the representative. But be aware that most companies have trained their representatives to do the best job possible and just speaking with a manager most likely won’t get your challenge solved any faster or more to your benefit.
- Do be reasonable. If you owned your product for many years and it’s been out of warranty for a time, you most likely will not get your money back, no matter how much you complain. Be reasonable and look at the reality of the situation. But what a lot of companies might do with a reasonable customer is offer some parts to fix the problem, provide a discount on a future purchase, send a free sample, or provide a credit or free service for next time.
- Do spread the love. If a brand has treated you right after a negative comment or complaint. Do thank them via social media. We get all kinds of positive comments after we address a complaint – “Customer service is not dead.” “I love X brand – they are there to help when I need it.” “Spoke with so and so and they were terrific. Thank you!” Comments like these reinforce the brand’s decision to resolve customer complaints and address comments publicly via social media.
I’m confident that if you follow these Do’s and Don’ts for complaining on social media you will find a fair resolution.
This blog was contributed by Clearpoint Agency President, Bonnie Shaw
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It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and your public relations rep calls to let you know that she’s secured a local TV news segment for you to go on camera and promote your expertise. And the segment is in two days. Your head spins. What do you have to do? Is there a lot of prep work? How long will it take? Where are TV segments even filmed?
We get it. It can be a lot. But when you have a good PR agency, they’ll make the process easy and fun so that you can enjoy your time in the spotlight.
Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at what you can expect during your time in the limelight.
- Your PR agency has already done a lot of the legwork for you. They’ve found the right producer or booker at the station and pitched the idea, and once they secured interest, they made sure that their contact has your accurate name, title, website, and a summary of your main talking points. That way, the TV production team can prepare in advance for how long the segment will be, how it will be shot, and where it fits into the program.
- Your briefing sheet will be your guide. Your PR agency should send you a briefing sheet with logistical information (arrival time, on-air time, directions, contact phone numbers), your main talking points and key messages, and background details about the reporter or anchor who will be interviewing you.
- Practice makes perfect! After you receive the briefing details, your PR rep will schedule a media training meeting or role-playing conference call with you. They’ll prepare you by providing you with potential questions and guiding you through the process of how to give concise, thoughtful answers. Since you only have a few minutes to convey your main points, it’s essential to have a plan for weaving your key messages into the conversation.
- The day you’re on air will be a breeze. All you have to do is share your expertise!Since you’ve prepared in advance, the “hard” part is over. On the day of your TV segment, you’ll be instructed to arrive about 45 minutes early. You’ll have time to meet the producer, chat with the reporter who will be interviewing you, and enjoy some downtime to relax and review your talking points one last time. Your PR agency contact will join you to make sure that everything runs smoothly and to coordinate any last-minute details, as well as to provide moral support!
- It will all be over in the blink of an eye! Most TV appearances last less than two hours from arrival time to the completion of filming. You’ll likely be on-camera anywhere from two to five minutes. In some instances, the TV crew will want to film multiple segments in one day and air them throughout the program, but each will last only a few minutes.
- Your TV appearance will lend you lasting credibility. Video clips featuring you and your company are great promotional tools. After the segment, the TV station will usually post the clip of it online so that you can share it with your customers, colleagues, family, and friends. Your PR agency can also purchase a video clip so that you have it for your records and can promote it for years to come on your website and with potential customers.
Being on TV can seem nerve wracking, but remember: you’re the expert. Talk to the reporter as if he or she is a friendly client. As long as you practice with your PR team and give concise, informative answers, you’ll be viewed as a reputable source, you’ll come away with a useful marketing tool, and hopefully, you’ll be invited back as a regular guest!
Have any additional questions about broadcast interviews? Leave a comment below and we’ll address your concerns.
This blog was contributed by Amanda Whitlock, Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency.
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Working with a public relations firm can help your company generate buzz and differentiate against your competition, creating awareness of products and services as well as improving brand identity. A good PR firm will create messaging, develop a customized communications strategy, manage your corporate reputation, communicate with your audiences, pitch the media on your behalf, and even build loyalty with your audiences via social media. But how do you know that you are choosing the right PR firm? What questions should you ask when interviewing agencies? Here are 10 tips that will help you to navigate the process:
- Clearly identify your goals before you start interviewing. When you are clear on what you want to achieve, it will be easier for you to indicate goals and expectations to the prospective agencies. They will be better able to define strategies and assess if they are even the right agency to pitch your business. If you are concerned that you may need to tell them about upcoming products or services that are, as of yet, not released for broad review, ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Reputable PR firms will not hesitate to sign it, and they will be prudent in keeping your secrets.
- What experience do they have? Some agencies are focused on B2B or B2C clients; others have had a mix of both – which is right for you? Do you need local, regional, national or international exposure? Look for an agency that has handled clients with similar needs. An agency doesn’t have to have had clients in exactly your same industry but they do need to know how to get up to speed quickly. Ask what methods they use to get an in-depth understanding of your market and competitors.
- Can they write? Content is king – as Bill Gates said way back in 1996! In nearly 20 years since then, almost every company has become its own publisher. An agency that focuses only on media relations or social media won’t meet all your needs today. Ask to see samples of press releases, articles, websites, blogs and posts they have written. Do they follow AP-style guidelines? If they don’t know what that means, beware!
- How current are they on social media and digital marketing? The world of communications evolves daily. An agency should be able to explain to you the various methods they use to develop relationships with your audiences and how they integrate all of those techniques to gain the most exposure. Integration and re-use of marketing and PR materials will get you the best bang for your buck, as the saying goes.
- How do they pursue media coverage? Gaining media coverage, especially in print publications, is challenging. Your company must have the stories that will appeal to the editorial community and your agency must be persistent in pitching those stories. Ask them about their responsiveness and how they keep abreast of topics that the media might like to cover. Can they offer media training to your executives? What does it consist of? How does your PR team support your interviews? Can they handle a crisis? Look for a team that cares about your reputation just about as much as you do.
- Is the chemistry good? This is a tricky one. Make sure that the primary contacts who will be working on your account are the ones you meet in the pitch. Then focus on substance over style – you’re not looking for the flashiest agency but one that understands your business, has a proven track-record, and cares about your success. We also think it’s important to have a team with a range of ages on your account – the senior members have strategic experience and business acumen, the younger ones have current technical skills and creative passion – when you get a mix of the two, you’ll have a more complete range of perspectives on your account.
- Are collaboration and communication important to you? Assess what type of agency you want to work with – one that is very collaborative and becomes a close member of your marketing team or one that just takes your lead and executes it. Communicate that to the prospective team. Find out if their style matches yours. Ask how long their clients typically stay with them and look for an agency that has longer-term clients to know that they play well with others.
- Do they have systems in place to maximize efficiency? Even a boutique firm needs to have enough established procedures to ensure efficiency. Ask about what they do to track your competitors, what tools they use for identifying appropriate reporters and for handling social media posts. What planning do they engage to ensure your budget is well-utilized? The directness and honesty with which they handle these types of questions will help you to know if you can work with them.
- Is your budget realistic? Recognize that what an agency has to sell is its time and expertise. When you find an agency that has the contacts, the writing skills and the philosophy that provides what you need, ask what their typical client budgets are. You want to be running in the same ballpark with their other clients so you will get the time and attention your account deserves. While boutique agencies are often specialists at getting quite a bit done on modest budgets, they still need enough hours to think, plan and strategize so that the writing and pitching they do makes sense for your company – so give them a large enough budget to meet your goals.
- How do they measure success? How much reporting is done often depends on the size of your budget because that is time spent on your account, too. Sending you clips of media coverage is only one measure and it is pretty typical. Some agencies do extensive activity reports; others keep those status reports short and put more time into the actual implementation of your activities. So check to see what reports they do as a standard matter of procedure. Then if you want additional reporting, plan the budget to accommodate it.
By assessing both “hard” and “soft” skills you will have a better chance of working with an agency that meets both your substance needs and style of operation. Remember that most agencies, even though they may require an annual contract, have a 30-60 day cancellation clause. The reason for this is twofold: one, it allows you to get out of a contract if you’re really not happy, and two, it gives the agency time to fix issues before you drop the relationship. Public relations success takes time and persistence to achieve, so, while you should see a flurry of activity pretty rapidly, expect results to increase over time. PR is a long term strategy that builds momentum over the course of months, not weeks.
This blog was contributed by Beth Walsh, Vice President at Clearpoint Agency.
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Those in the know, know two things about search engine optimization (SEO) – 1) it’s critical to any business that wants more website traffic, and 2) it is constantly evolving. With Google rolling out new algorithms and consistently updating versions of those algorithms, understanding what to do and what not to do is challenging.
What is the first thing you do when searching for a service or product? You Google it and see what comes up with organic search first. So does everyone else. A strong SEO strategy will increase your chances of showing up in the first few pages of results.
Here are a few basic steps you can take to ensure your content is optimized and your audience is finding your site –
1. Keywords: Research what keywords are best to attract the readers you want. There is a lot of competition for certain keywords, so it’s wise to spend some time doing keyword research. Once you have identified keywords that are relevant to your brand, use them originally and naturally. Search engines look for engaging, well-written and authoritative content. Any content written specifically to use a high volume of keywords will actually be punished in search – so don’t just stuff your content with keywords! It’s also important to be consistent with these keywords whenever you are sharing that piece of content on social channels and to always link back to your website.
2. Images! Images! Images! Compelling images appeal to readers, and because images drive more traffic to your website, the time you spend creating or finding the right image is time well spent. Include original images or pics in blogs, Facebook posts and tweets whenever you can. If you don’t have great original images, use a stock image site for easy access to images.
3. Use SEO Plugins: Most content management systems offer free or inexpensive SEO plugins. Don’t ignore them. Here are a variety of plugins for the popular WordPress platform. When used correctly, these SEO tools will guide you towards the best search strategies. Keep an eye out for using your keywords in META tags, title tags and on your webpages, too. This is an area where SEO tools really help beginners!
4. Leverage Social Media: Share your content on all of your social channels. Search engines favor social content. Using multiple social media platforms expands the reach of your content, and when that is paired with an engaging message and image, it encourages sharing. When yourcontent gets shared it drives more traffic to your site. When you get more traffic to your site, search engines reward you with a higher SEO ranking; it’s that simple. Just be sure to customize for each social channel. Expand that 140 character tweet for Facebook and Google – but not too much. Wordy posts can seem daunting for busy social audiences.
5. Talk to a PR pro – We have covered just the basics of SEO here. For a more in-depth explanation and approach to SEO, seek advice from a PR firm that understands the nuances of digital marketing. The good firms are adept at telling your story AND developing content that will drive the right traffic to your website.
SEO is tricky, but the tips above are a good way to at least get started improving the search engine ranking of your website. There are many other ways to boost your SEO. Understanding search is critical to your digital marketing mix, and ignoring it could mean losing customers to your competitors. Paying attention to SEO will most certainly pay off with more clicks, customers and currency!
This blog was contributed by Ryan Sabatini, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.
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Social media has fundamentally changed the way we do business by giving voice to millions of consumers in instantaneous, global (and very public) communications networks that operate around the clock. The speed and intimacy characteristic of new communications models like Facebook and Twitter have forced reputation from the number three to the number one ranked strategic risk currently facing large companies And with good reason.
Fifty percent of the public now cites the Internet as a main source for national and international news (Pew Research Center, 2013) far outpacing traditional sources like newspaper and radio. Businesses no longer have the luxury of time to prepare their responses to criticism or crisis. Simply put: today’s public relations practitioners must be prepared to put out a fire in 140 very crafty characters to proactively mitigate reputational damage.
The good news is that there are ways to prepare and proactively control a crisis using social media. Here’s how:
- Don’t hide. Digital silence is conspicuous. Social media offers a unique opportunity to publically address consumers in real time – use it meaningfully.
- Plan for crisis. There’s no need to pre-script tweets and status updates, but the tone and timing of your online strategy should be discussed and integrated into your existing crisis communications plan ahead of time. Bonus: Advance planning gives you the luxury of being able to run your ideas by your legal team, making it even easier to determine exactly what your response can and cannot say.
- Be quick, but don’t rush. Benjamin Franklin must have been dreaming of the Twitterverse when he said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Don’t allow the speed of social media to force an ill-crafted or rushed response you’ll regret. You can’t take it back.
- Be human. Digiorno’s new media team, lauded in the past for their savvy, apologized with a personal tweet to each and every user who noticed that they had mistakenly weighed in on the anti-domestic violence hashtag #WhyIStayed with an inappropriate tweet (AdWeek, 2013). Although it must have taken the company hours to respond to each individual user, it made the brand appear human, which made the mistake easier to understand.
- Use your newfound #ALSIceBucketChallenge prowess. Among the many takeaways from the now famous #ALSIceBucketChallenge, one is that it is possible for even the largest of companies to capitalize on a 24-hour turnaround. Crisis plans are bogged down with cumbersome top-down approval processes that just don’t make sense in social media. Develop a process for getting your tweets and status updates approved in the quickest way possible, while keeping in mind who needs to see each message.
- Assign a social media gatekeeper who can pivot gracefully. Most crisis management plans outline not just what but who is assigned to handle each step. It is critical that you have a social media gatekeeper who can quickly implement the plan and pivot to accommodate changes to the situation. When rumblings began about #ALSicebucketchallenge participants were spending more on bagged ice than ALS research, social media teams evolved their strategy to include a significant donations from the company along with their CEO’s ice bath . One savvy company, Zodiac Pool Systems, even added a social element to their donation strategy by increasing their donation by one dollar every time a Facebook user liked or shared their video.
In short, recognize both the opportunities and the challenges that social media affords in handling crisis communications, and develop a plan that includes social media for when the inevitable crisis hits.
This blog post was contributed by Sam Peterson, Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency, Inc.
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Have you heard of digital snacking? It’s about consuming succinct, interesting, engaging and visually-appealing morsels of content that can easily be digested on a mobile device.
There are numerous examples of sites that serve up digital snacks. Take Buzzfeed for example, a company that runs news snippets alongside celebrity gossip, funny clips and lists. Investors’ confidence in this trend was proven most recently with Buzzfeed’s ability to raise $50 million. Some estimate Buzzfeed is valued at $1 billion, not far from the market cap of The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), which sits at about $1.9 billion (source: 247wallst.com).
Not only does content need to be short and engaging to be a worthy digital snack, but it also needs to be easily accessed on a smartphone. Martin Stoll calls it “The One Thumb Rule”or information that can be retrieved with just the click and scroll of your thumb.
At our firm, we believe there will never be a replacement for the in-depth reporting and thoughtful article writing taking place at great news organizations such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and thousands of special interest and trade publications across the country. But we’re living in a mobile world where people want news in the palm of their hand, and alongside funny videos and memes. To get attention, organizations must embrace the latest digital communication trends and get creative.
So here are some tips on how you can sandwich “digital snacking” between your meals of more meaty articles and content. A little snacking is OK – even good for your content strategy – but make sure you infuse your content diet with a healthy dose of in-depth content too.
Five Digital Snacks to Incorporate into Your Content Diet:
1. Videos and images – Vine and Snapchat are viewable on mobile phones and encourage sharing if the content is funny, unique or trending. Using images on Facebook and Twitter will yield high share rates. Platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are perfect for consumer products and destinations, but with a little creativity and imagination they can work well for B2B too.
2. Snack-sized blog posts – It’s often more difficult to write a concise blog post. But if you want it to be truly snack-sized try these tips:
- Come up with a short and compelling headline
- Entice readers with an interesting introduction
- Use short sub-titles if possible and keep paragraphs short (2-3 sentences)
- Incorporate a great image
- Write your opinion on a recent article and incorporate a link to the article
3. The infographic – Infographics are the epitome of quickly digestible information. Text is mixed with graphics to communicate an idea or brand message in seconds.
- Make them easy to share on social media, websites and blogs by providing an embed code
- Embed them in your own blog posts
- Share them across your social channels
- Send to infographic sites
4. Tips lists – We’ve found people love a good tips list. Make it 3-5 tips about anything your audience is interested in.
- Put the number of tips in the headline
- Use interesting titles for the tips
- Keep the tips themselves concise
5. Quotes – Use quotes sparingly in your content diet – kind of like that chocolate cake, every once in a while is fine. They can help out in a pinch when you need to post something quickly. Start a library of good quotes that convey what you and your organization are about, and use these only when you need to.
This blog post was contributed by Bonnie Shaw, President of Clearpoint Agency PR and Digital Marketing
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So, your company has signed up to participate in a tradeshow. Your staff is excited, schedules are blocked off, and you can’t wait to rack up those airline miles on your roundtrip flight. But what will you and your staff actually do once you step off the plane? What’s your overall goal in exhibiting? What will your tradeshow booth look like? How can you leverage the PR value of exhibiting? That’s where reality hits – and a good PR team steps in.
I recently participated in helping one of our clients prepare for the Drug Information Association (DIA) 2014 conference, a 3-day event that brings together an international community of professionals working in pharmaceutical and medical product development-related fields. I’ve been working in public relations for a few years but had never been involved in planning for a full tradeshow booth and exhibition (luckily, the team at Clearpoint Agency has decades of experience in it).
Let me tell you – I learned so much! Over the course of four months, the Clearpoint team worked closely with our client and a creative design team partner to create a dynamic tradeshow presence, complete with a large booth, a rotating schedule of speakers, iPad® and PowerPoint® presentations, giveaways and more.
Here’s an overview of how a PR agency can help prepare you for your next big tradeshow:
- Determine key messages: In the planning stages for the tradeshow, our PR agency was instrumental in brainstorming ideas for the main creative theme of the booth. We knew we needed a unified idea that would tie every element together, both supporting our client and appealing to our audiences. It wouldn’t make sense to simply bring old brochures, posters, and banners; every piece of the booth needed to have a purpose. Knowing that the audience for this show predominantly would be emerging biotechs that need guidance in the clinical trial process, we settled on the theme “We have your answers,” and from there, we began planning the details of the other exhibition components. It was important to have us involved in the initial stages because over the course of our relationship with the client, we’ve fine-tuned the messaging. We know what language works.
- Create engaging collateral: In addition to putting together messaging and content for the booth graphics, our team developed a significant amount of marketing collateral. Clearpoint created content for ads in trade publications, wrote and updated presentations for company spokespeople, developed a pocket brochure for booth visitors, wrote content for a DIA-specific landing page on the client’s website and more. It was our task to keep the content consistent with the “We have your answers” theme. Everything down to the 5×7 recruitment cards we had available at the booth had to match the look and feel of the overall plan.
- Drive social media traffic: Publicizing tradeshow happenings before, during and after the event is key so that both attendees and non-participants can stay up-to-date with activities. For us, Twitter was a big part of the DIA tradeshow experience. Of course, the conference had its own hashtag, but we decided to try our hand at making our own DIA-specific one. Weeks in advance of the show, we publicized “#DIA2014answers” by tweeting it, announcing it on the client’s website, including it in pre-show email blasts and more. During the conference, we live tweeted and posted photos to our client’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
- Make media meetings happen: Journalists with specific beats frequently attend tradeshows to get the inside story on different companies. A good PR agency plans news announcements that can be made at the show, pitches meetings with media in advance, develops media talking points for company executives, creates briefing books with interview schedules, facilitates interviews, and manages the follow-up to be sure reporters have the information they need. We were pleased to arrange several interviews for our client at DIA.
Tradeshows are fast-paced, busy and expensive events that require thoughtful planning to ensure a return on your investment. Consider outsourcing the work to a skilled PR team that can partner with you and bring your vision to life!
This blog post was contributed by Amanda Whitlock, Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency.
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Videos are a mainstay for the modern marketer and for any business wanting to compete for attention online. Engagement rates are often higher with video than with other forms of marketing content today. Competing for attention in a vast marketplace is challenging, demanding and often confusing for marketers and content managers. Utilizing video will help get attention for your brand by reaching overwhelmed audiences with creative and compelling content. Here are 5 of the biggest reasons Clearpoint Agency suggests using video content in your digital marketing strategy.
- Immediacy: The Content Marketing Institute asserts that there is simply “no content on the web today has the same viral potential of video, and few forms of content can match it for immediacy.” Video impacts directly, and is absorbed very easily; with the sights and sounds an audience experiences, video provides the most direct contact besides actual face-to-face interaction.
- Traffic: Cisco recently estimated that video will account for nearly 70 percent of all Internet traffic by 2017. Using video to create traffic to your site is a great idea not only because of the size of the market, but due to the fact that 64 percent of people are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. Having your videos in multiple locations drives customers directly to your site to make purchases.
- SEO : YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, accumulating more than 30 million viewers per day and more than 1 billion viewers every month. High-quality videos with the proper tags and key words often earn very high search rankings. Having well-produced videos linked to your site, or to your social media accounts can really go a long way in terms of search engine optimization (SEO).
- Engagement: Videos are a great way to become more important on social media because visual content yields high levels of engagement, and video content surpasses still images. Social Media Today reports that companies with Vine (a popular video sharing app) accounts see a 400 percent higher share rate with Vine videos than any other form of video content.
- Retention: Consumers are much more likely to remember video content than other marketing materials. Text and pictures simply cannot compete for space in the viewer’s memory if there is video present. According to TechSmith, 80 percent of people can recall a video ad within 30 days – that’s the retention rate every marketer dreams of.
As the Internet and social media landscape continue to evolve, adapting to changing trends will elevate your content marketing program and drive results. Video has evolved into an indispensable marketing tool to grab your audience’s attention and boost engagement with your brand.
In short, people love video – USE VIDEO!
This blog was contributed by Ryan Sabatini, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.
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Today it seems like everyone is on Facebook. That’s probably because more than half of the United States population has a profile. Even Grandma writes “happy birthday” on your timeline. The good news is Facebook isn’t just for catching up with grandma or posting pictures of your cat anymore, it is an effective marketing tool for business! According to HubSpot social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC. So, how does your business get a piece of this marketing pie? Here are five tips to develop your business Facebook page into a successful marketing piece.
1. Always keep an eye on your end goal, otherwise you run the risk of getting caught up in all the Facebook chaos. Set up a list of objectives to accomplish through the use of Facebook. This will prevent straying from the path. Questions to consider when establishing goals are “Why should the company have a Facebook page?” or “What is the company trying to accomplish through social media in general?” For example, some companies invest in social media to increase brand exposure, to increase web traffic, or to gain market insights, according to Social Media Today. Decide what’s important to your company and stick to it. Remember to keep your expectations realistic, too.
2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Stay dedicated to the plan you have committed to. There are many social networking sites out there, and it’s tempting to join every one so as not to miss out. However, too many companies set up a social media profile, update it once and then forget about it. The profile turns into a “ghost” of your former ambition. It looks careless and inconsistent. Best to have just one or two profiles and do a good job managing those.
3. Stay relevant. This goes back to posting pictures of cats, and other stuff people don’t care about. For example, it’s not effective social media if a pharmaceutical company posts about a celebrity’s tragic outfit. Facebook is an opportunity to present your company as a highly credible and knowledgeable industry source. Post about topics that your audience is going to be interested in and find valuable.
4. Have fun! This is a chance to swap formality with personality. People like to see companies as humans too. This opens up possibilities for great brand and customer relationships, and to build trust between the two. Show your brand’s personality and your company culture with cool images, fun pics of your team, feel-good posts about your community and other human interest posts.
5. Be generous and you will be rewarded. Share the posts you find valuable from other Facebook pages. By sharing you not only help a customer, partner or influencer reach your audience, but you will benefit from reaching a wider audience because their followers will see your share when you tag the original post with that Facebook’s handle.
This blog was contributed by Samantha Forth, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.
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The value of press releases has been a topic for debate for a few years now, and we heard it discussed recently on a PRSA Google+ Hangout with several top Los Angeles tech reporters. That inspired us to give our answer: we contend the press release is not dead! Coincidentally, so did all of the LA reporters on the Google+ Hangout.
Here are three reasons why the press release is still a knockout tool in public relations –
1) Helps reporters fact check: Whether or not a reporter interviews a source, they still rely on press releases for the important details. Several of the reporters at the PRSA Google+ Hangout said they use press releases for fact checking. Releases provide pertinent details such as dates, properly attributed quotes, features, pricing and availability in one quick, accessible resource. Is the press release dead? “Absolutely not,” said Natalie Jarvey, tech writer for the Hollywood Reporter. The details are especially important for time sensitive news. “[The press release] has all the information you need,” says Ben Kuo, of SocalTech.com.
Pro tip: Make sure your release has those key data points. Hard facts, quantifiable numbers, and real data is important to give your press release life.
2) Provides SEO and general visibility: Your press release can increase search engine optimization (SEO) and help your company be seen by current customers, potential customers, and the media. Thanks to Internet distribution, these key audiences can see your press release on RSS feeds and news portals, and be inspired to give you a call. We regularly get calls from reporters who saw a client’s latest press release and wanted more information.
Pro tip: Use professional newswires for the best distribution online, know the key times to release news for optimum visibility, and always do custom pitches for coverage.
3) Builds your content marketing toolkit: To continue to rank well in search engines, websites and blogs need regular updates with fresh content. Updating your website’s News section with the latest press release is a great way to keep it refreshed. The same goes for your blog. And press releases really get nine lives when they’re used as posts on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Pro tip: Make sure when updating your website or blog with a press release that you use a platform that can be easily read by search engines. Some methods are easier than others.
The press release IS learning to share: Those are several reasons why the press release is still alive. But it is evolving, as are other news-dissemination tools. The press release is no longer the only viable platform for public disclosure. In March 2013, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced that Facebook and Twitter were considered valid for corporate disclosures. Some companies strictly use their blog as the place to share company news.
The important thing to remember is the press release tells your story, and it has to be legitimate news backed by real facts. There are still people out there who wrongly believe press releases can use “spin” to make something out of nothing. That is not the case! Sometimes, a press release is just not the right option. For example, if someone important said something nice about your company? Great – put it on social media. Or your age-old software got its 15th update? Unless it’s a major change, put it on your blog and send the update to specific audiences. Your latest news may be best suited for another tactic.
We see great value in press releases and were so pleased to hear several reporters agree with us. We encourage our clients to use press releases to share newsworthy information, and we’re always happy to provide guidance on what is, or isn’t, appropriate for a press release.
Long live the press release!
This blog was contributed by Lexy Haynes,Director of Client Services at Clearpoint Agency.
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