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Archive: July 2009

OnSide Online - A Right Proper Public Engagement!


01 July 2009

Developing a Dynamic Online Communications Strategy for the Public Sector through Social Media and Emerging Online Channels

 

When: Wednesday 23rd September 2009
Where: W5, The Odyssey Complex, Belfast
Time: 9.30am  - 3.30pm (Spanish Style Lunch Included!)

 

Hear from the experts on how to reach your target audiences through online real time engagement using the latest digital marketing & online PR tools.

Online communications is setting a new pace in the communications world. But how on earth do you go about plotting a path for your organisation through this online jungle?

How do you go about building and maintaining a successful online communications strategy?

How do you project and protect your organisation's reputation in a fast moving, dynamic environment?

 

Well, attending this event is the best place to start!!

Why wait? Ten PR skills of tomorrow that are needed today.


13 July 2009

At CMPR, we loved this blog post by Al Kruger of comet branding blog. Read more from their site at www.cometbranding.com/blog


Over the last couple weeks there have been several blog posts and stories written about the skills that PR pros of tomorrow will need. Here is one by Arik Hanson. I agree with many of the points that were raised in Arik's and others' posts. If you have perused posts here in the past or listened to the Comet Branding Radio show, it's no secret that we advocate for the evolution of PR.

We need to be pushing this conversation about an improved skill set forward so it is heard at the highest levels of the PR industry and in the universities and colleges who are teaching our future PR pros. I am not writing this post to be a me too blogger. I am writing this post because the skills outlined in many of the skills of tomorrow's PR pros posts are needed TODAY. We should not be waiting for tomorrow or for younger pros to figure these things out.


Social media and other forms of the read-write-web are creating significant opportunities (not challenges) for PR that weren't possible a few short years ago. But, for us to leverage all of these new opportunities there are a few skills that will always be needed:


1. Strong journalistic writing and storytelling - We must always be able to tell a strong story with all of the relevant information beyond the what, when, who and where. Craft an engaging and relevant story.  We have to work hard to determine and then tell the story of the why, how and the why does it matter. For full credit we should be figuring out different angles to the why does it matter question for different audiences and publics. As the opportunity grows for companies to connect directly with customers these skills will continue to increase in value. Developing strong journalistic content will be paramount.


2. Relationship development - PR is so much more than media relations and pitching. We need to be able to develop relationships on multiple levels of an organization, with the media/bloggers, with customers and with people who have opposing views.


3. Business acumen - Access to C-Suite level discussions and decision making is only possible if we can offer well-rounded and strategic business recommendations. This ability can only come from experience and practical knowledge. If we can look at a business and figure out what it needs to grow business and sales and help make that happen through PR/communications/social media - that's when all of us will have a seat at that table. If we are only seen as flacks or a media relations vendor, then that journey is going to be seriously difficult.


4. Curiosity and restlessness - Within every industry, there are people who are constantly curious and restless about what they do. They lead the pack. These people are always keeping tabs on new developments and trying to find new ways to do things. The moment we become comfortable and satisfied with the current state of things, that's the exact moment to be significantly concerned. We, the PR industry, should always be thinking about what comes next and progressing what we do.


As the current forms of media continue to fade, and social forms continue to evolve, PR pros have the opportunity to help their company (or clients) connect more directly with their customers/publics TODAY - not just tomorrow. But, to do this, we need another set of skills that we haven't needed before:


5. Programming and design - We all need an understanding of web programming so we can communicate with programmers to get what we need to build a web site and contribute/edit and customize content. It would be ideal to know some coding ourselves, but a lot can be said about having someone who is truly skilled take the lead. As blog platforms continue to evolve and become easier to use, we still need to have an understanding to communicate changes or the ability to make tweaks and changes on our own.


6. Working knowledge of social media distribution platforms - For all of the great elements of social media, one drawback is that the social web has many gather places. I am sure you could name 10 sites right off the top of your head. It has become burdensome to push content onto so many sites. Thankfully, applications for social media publishing continue to evolve and distribution platforms like Shoutlet are coming to the forefront to help communications pros distribute content across many channels (email, Twitter, Facebook, widgets, etc.) instantaneously. We all need to know how to use these tools because they put the true power of the social web at our fingertips.


7. Video creative direction, writing and production - The social web is fueled by engaging and relevant content. One of the most attractive forms of that content is video. The caveat within this element that is interesting is that video for the social web needs to be very good, but it does not have to be great. Frankly, the slicker the video looks the less authentic it feels and the less accepted it will be in the social web. Because of this, we don't need to be super-duper Grade-A class video producers, but we need to be pretty good. There are many programs out there that make video production relatively easy. You might want to look into these, because it's more likely than not that you will need to produce a web video before the end of the year.


8. Community gardening - Many people refer to this as community management, but a friend of mine recently shared with me that he doesn't think we can fully manage a community. I liked what he had to say. If you think about it, the masses probably don't want to be managed. In this, a PR pro needs to be able to help grow a community and foster activity and conversation within it.


9. Walking the talk - There are many lessons that can only be learned within the art of social public relations by doing it for yourself. There is no better teacher than personal experience. If we aren't out there writing blogs, doing podcast/videocasts and growing a community for ourselves or our own agencies/companies, all we can do is talk. And how far will that get us? If we are doing all of these things, we are learning every day and those learnings can then be used to drive strategy for our clients and others.


10. Proving Return on Investment - This is an area that I will leave for Sara Meaney to handle as the Left Brain of Comet Branding. Although I'm not fully a numbers person, I do understand and value how important they are. If we can't prove to our clients that the programs we are running for them are worth it, then it's not worth a heck of a lot. We have to show proof, proof, proof and more proof.


While this isn't exhaustive, this is a list of the things that I feel are important and relevant today. Not tomorrow.

 

The 10 Laws Of Facebook Advertising No Marketer Can Afford To Ignore


20 July 2009

This is a fantastic article by Nick O'Neill from allfacebook.com - an unofficial marketing aide for using facebook. Log on and you can receive regular updates & tips!


Every week I speak to countless businesses and no matter what they are selling, most businesses want to accomplish one thing: sell more. While they know that Facebook advertising can help their business, most don't know where to get started. In this guide, I'll walk you through 10 of the most important laws for businesses when advertising on Facebook.

1. Facebook Is Least Effective At Direct Sales

If you've come to Facebook looking for instantaneous sales than you've come to the wrong place. Facebook presents businesses with the opportunity to reach their target market throughout the entire marketing cycle. While a small percentage of users are ready to purchase while they're browsing Facebook, a much larger percentage of users are going to make a purchase in the future if not now.
2. Create A Greater Volume Of Ads That Target Less People
Often times on Google, advertisers will create an ad which targets every person in a single country and then split test two ad versions against each other. On Facebook this model will do nothing but cost you money.
Facebook provides 11 targeting factors for advertisers - with three new factors announced yesterday. Below is an outline of each of those factors:
1. Location - Facebook enables advertisers to target by country, state, province, city, and metropolitan areas. All advertisements are required to have a location selected. This should be pretty straight-forward as to which location you'd like to select.
2. Age - Age is a standard demographic factor. Most marketers that have a well defined target-market will be able to select their age.
3. Birthday - This is one of Facebook's latest advertising targeting filters. It should be pretty obvious what types of ads should be presented to people who's birthday it is.
4. Sex - Gender is another typical targeting filter for Facebook.
5. Keywords - Keywords will are based on a user's profile information including Activities, Favorite Books, TV Shows, Movies, and more. I believe job titles are included in this field and I typically spend the most time trying to brainstorm effective keywords.
6. Education - While you can target based on their level of education, this is most effective for targeting ads based on the schools that people went to.
7. Workplaces - This is another great targeting filter. Often times you will know the companies that your target market works at. If you are looking to get new clients or looking to spread awareness within specific organizations, this filter can be priceless.
8. Relationship - If you Want to target people that are about to get married, this is a great tool for that. If you are a bar or club, you most likely want to go after those people that are single. While this filter can be useful, you also need to keep in mind that selecting any of these settings will remove all users that haven't selected a relationship status in their profile.
9. Interested In - This factor is useful if a user's sexual preferences are relevant to whatever you are advertising. I tend to skip this field for most of my ads.
10. Languages - If your ad is in English but the user speaks Chinese, it's probably not a good idea to be displaying ads to them.
11. Connections - The connections fields were launched yesterday by Facebook and they enable you to include and exclude users based on pages, events, and applications that the users have joined and you happen to be the administrator of.
3. Friend Users Before You Sell To Them
Facebook is about relationship marketing, not direct sales, as I described in the first law. That means it's more important to build a relationship with a potential client or an existing customer rather than closing a sale right away. The most obvious form is through the Facebook Ads for pages and events.
Through these advertisements, users can become a fan or RSVP to an event directly from an ad. At that point, you have the opportunity to interact directly with that individual and build a relationship. If you had directed a user to your website, you would have been forced to have them enter a form or make a purchase right away. 4. Understand Your Market
In order to become an effective Facebook advertiser, you need to have effectively defined your market. This will help you to take advantage of the 11 targeting factors that Facebook currently provides. To help define your market, you can go through the market segmentation process. This involves defining the need your company satisfies and then more thoroughly defining who your customer is.
5. Set Advertising Budgets With A Goal In Mind
It's extremely easy to spend a lot of money on Facebook advertisements by experimenting. I can't tell you how many people I know that have aimlessly spent thousands of dollars on Facebook advertisements but couldn't point to tangible goals that they had accomplished. If you set a budget on a campaign for $20 a day you should know what you would like to receive for that money.
Think Long-Term
In terms of sales, the payoff will be further down the line so be prepared to spend over weeks and months, don't blow your budget in a day. Unless you are an affiliate marketer, who has distinctly different goals, you should be invested in the advertising for the long haul. A one-week campaign is not going to bring you riches, but a long-term investment in advertising can produce measurable results.
6. Monitor Your Ad Performance And Adjust Accordingly
Now that you've defined your goals, it's time to track whether or not you've achieved them. Throughout each Facebook advertising campaign, you should be tracking how well the advertisements perform. Whether you are on track to reach the goals that you've set  or whether your advertisements are achieving a reasonable click-through level are questions you must ask yourself.
7. Test Landing Pages Versus Facebook Pages
In traditional online advertising, users are directed to a landing page from which they are prompted to fill in information in a form. This information is then typically used to send marketing literature. On Facebook, you want to build relationships but if the relationships you are building aren't generating any revenue, you may want to diversify your advertising strategy by including some landing pages. 
8. Split Test Ads By Demographic
An advertiser once told me that women tend to react more often to advertisements that have the color pink in them. While I doubt this is consistent across all women, this could be true for a large portion of them. The only way to find out if it is true is to split test different ads within that specific demographic.
9. Develop Creative Ad Copy
The best way to determine effective ad copy is to take a look at the existing sites around the web. Even if the ads appear to be annoying, if you continuously see them, there's a good chance that they are doing something right. Click on ads and see what types of products are being offered and what the pitch is.
10. Don't Over Target
While you should most definitely take advantage of Facebook's targeting features, it's more important that you get your company's name out there and then build the relationships.
Conclusion
Improving your advertising is something that takes time and patience. On Facebook, marketing is about relationships, not immediate sales, so set your budgets and advertising plans with that in mind. Facebook advertising is still a relatively new offering and marketers are just beginning to understand how to use these advertisements most effectively. With these 10 initial laws, all marketers should have a great starting point.

32 Ways to Use Facebook for Business


28 July 2009

At CMPR, we love this article on webworkerdaily.com by Meryl Evans.


Hopefully it can be of use to you and your business. Connect with the author through the webworkerdaily.com website.
Facebook's not just for keeping tabs on friends and filling out quizzes -  it can also be used as a highly effective business tool. It's great for marketing your products, landing gigs and connecting with your customers, so here are 32 ways to use Facebook in your business.


Manage Your Profile
1. Fill out your profile completely to earn trust.
2. Establish a business account if you don't already have one.
3. Stay out of trouble by reading the Facebook rules regarding business accounts.
4. Install appropriate applications to integrate feeds from your blog and other social media accounts into your Facebook profile. (Although you should be careful before integrating your Twitter feed into your Faceboook profile, as a stream of tweets can seem overwhelming to your contacts.)
5. Keep any personal parts of your profile private through Settings.
6. Create friends lists such as 'Work,' 'Family' and 'Limited Profile' for finer-grained control over your profile privacy.
7. Post professional or business casual photos of yourself to reinforce your brand.
8. Limit business contacts' access to personal photos.
9. Post your newsletter subscription information and archives somewhere in your profile.
10. Obtain a Facebook vanity URL so that people can find you easily. (for example www.facebook.com/belfastfashionweek)
11. Add your Facebok URL to your email signature and any marketing collateral (business cards, etc.) so prospects can learn more about you.
12. Post business updates on your wall. Focus on business activities, such as 'Working with ABC Company on web site redesign.'
13. Share useful articles and links to presentation and valuable resources that interest customers and prospects on your wall, to establish credibility.
14. Combine Facebook with other social media tools like Twitter. For example, when someone asks question on Twitter, you can respond in detail in a blog post and link to it from Facebook.
15. Before traveLling, check contacts' locations so you can meet with those in the city where you're heading.
16. Research prospects before meeting or contacting them.
17. Upload your contacts from your email client to find more connections.
18. Use Find Friends for suggestions of other people you may know to expand your network even further.
19. Look for mutual contacts on your contacts' friends' lists.
20. Find experts in your field and invite them as a guest blogger on your blog or speaker at your event.
21. Market your products by posting discounts and package deals.
22. Share survey or research data to gain credibility.
23. Use Facebook Connect to add social networking features to your web site.
24. Suggest Friends to clients and colleagues - by helping them, you establish trust.
25. Buy Facebook ads to target your exact audience.
26. Read up on Facebook Beacon to see if it might be useful for you.
27. Start a group or fan page for product, brand or business. Unless you or your business is already a household name, a group is usually the better choice.
28. Add basic information to the group or fan page such as links to company site, newsletter subscription information and newsletter archives.
29. Post upcoming events including webinars, conferences and other programs where you or someone from your company will be present.
30. Update your group or fan page on a regular basis with helpful information and answers to questions.
31. Join network, industry and alumni groups related to your business.
32. Use search to find groups and fan pages related to your business by industry, location and career.

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