Author Archives: Sara

Making the Most of Twitter Analytics

I recently attended a webinar where Jimmy Hang, Twitter’s SBM marketing manager, explained how to use Twitter Analytics to inform and improve your business’ marketing strategy.

For those unfamiliar with Twitter Analytics, you can login using your Twitter account credentials at analytics.twitter.com. Once you login you can see how your tweets have performed as well as your follower’s demographics.

The tweet activity dashboard displays your tweets, how many people saw them and what type of engagement they received – retweets, replies and favorites. This helps you see what your followers are engaging with and create content to match what you followers want to see. The best way to do this is to create a content/social media calendar to plan out what type of content you are going to post each day. Again, always be sure you are following the rule of thirds. One third of the content should be about your business, one third should be news and informational tips about your industry and the final third should be engaging with your audience.

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Twitter Analytics also shows you a breakdown of your followers’ demographics. You can see what your followers are interested in, where they are located, their gender and who your followers are following. This is a great way to gear your tweets and blogs for your followers’ specific interests. The location breakdown can help you geo-target news or try to branch out to new cities or areas you feel are underrepresented. You can also figure out when to time your tweets based on your followers time zones.

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Finally, Analytics gives you easy access to Twitter Ads quick promote. This allows you to promote your best tweets outside of your network to users that might be interested in your industry and content. 

PR Pitching 101

As a PR pro you want to find influencers, pitch stories and gain coverage for your client.

How Do I Find Influencers?

The best way to find influencers is to ask yourself what your end goal is. Are you interested in making a new connection? Are you pitching a story? Do you have a new client or are you expanding into a new industry where you don’t have any contacts? These questions should help guide you when looking for new influencers.

Take the Time to Know Your Influencers

Once you have narrowed down your search it’s time to learn a little bit more about your influencers. See what they have recently written. Start following them on Twitter or connect with them on LinkedIn. This helps them remember you when it comes time to pitch. Also, editors and reporters might tweet personal things like, “At my kid’s soccer game,” or “enjoying my vacation.” This is a good way to know that they probably aren’t going to have time to read or respond to your pitches. Interacting with an influencer on Twitter also helps when trying to achieve the elusive Twitter pitch. A Cision research survey of reporters and editors shows that, “Twitter pitches go smoothly when you have already engaged with the editor or reporter on Twitter.”

Pitching

After you have done your homework it’s time to pitch. When pitching, whether it’s be email, phone or social media try to be as helpful as possible. Offer to schedule any additional interviews with a client/expert, be able to answer any questions he or she may have or even offer to write or package content for them. You want to make it as easy as possible when pitching your influencer. Also, as a  rule of thumb, never send attachments. Send everything in the body of an email. Editors and journalists do not have time to open your attachments and large attachment files may slow down their email.

Organizing your coverage

Once you have pitched your influencer and they have agreed to place your coverage make sure you ask them when you can expect it to appear. Do this for every piece of content you place regardless of how big or small the coverage is. Gather the coverage and organize it neatly and concisely in a coverage report. This shows you client ROI. 

Part Two: What does our visual culture have to with your company?

Recently I explained why multimedia is important for companies to leverage coverage in important traditional and social media… In this blog, I’ll explain how to use photos/videos to get the best results with the media and your audience.

Start at home with the company website:

The 2014 Business Wire Media Survey shows nearly 80 percent of reporters and editors turn to a company’s online newsroom when researching an organization.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your online space constantly updated and relevant… Have a blog section? Keep it updated with lots of photos showcasing your work and expertise.  Have an online news section?  Make sure you are providing video links with photos of new product and events.   It isn’t a bad idea to dedicate a space to all multimedia. Collect it, organize it.  Either way you choose to do it, consider your own site a deep well of information- the starting point of all that you do online.

In your press release

Another interesting statistic from the BusinessWire survey is that 90 percent of responding journalists used a press release just within the last week.  That means that while journalists are seeing your content – that’s not a guarantee they will publish it.  Here’s how to increase the chances that they will:

When distributing a release on:

·       A groundbreaking: include a photo/video link showing the ground breaking/new facility

·       A product release: include photo/video link demonstrating product

·       An event: include plenty of action shots/key people

I advocate using photos/videos for good reason – reporters are more likely to see and use your news if there are accompanying visuals. This touches back on the fact that we’ve become a highly visual society.  Pictures are like shiny objects, they catch our attention and encourage us to click and explore.

On social media

At Daum Weigle, our experiences adding photos in social media – particularly Twitter – have been very positive. When we use more photos on our @dwpr and @Security_Update accounts, our analytics reflect more interest from our followers.  A good general rule of thumb: try to include/feature at least one photo in the Facebook/Twitter daily rotation. And don’t forget LinkedIn and Pinterest if they apply to your client’s business.  The photos will get more attention, which is what you are after, right?

Part One: What does our visual culture have to with your company?

 

It’s no secret that with the rise of social media, a highly visual culture has emerged. High quality, sharable images reign supreme online. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make when posting or distributing a press release/product/general announcement is to do so without an image.  It’s like throwing a needle in a haystack. There are several reasons why.picstitch

Picture-focused social sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook show how valuable photos are because of the “sharable” factor. Posting images can help increase engagement.  For example, photo posts account for 93 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook. They average 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs on links than text-only posts. Check out how American Express uses strong visuals to “capture” and engage its audience. The page is interesting and makes you want to stay and explore.

Social media isn’t the only online space to consider when it comes to photos.  According to PR Newswire, a study analyzing more than 10,000 press releases showed the more multimedia you include in a press release distribution, the more views it receives.   In my experience, pitching releases is easier when you have accompanying photos. Editors know they increase readership and will be more likely to run your news.

Also, images are proven to affect local searches. Consumers are more likely to contact a business if there are accompanying images attached to any news/company blog site because it simply grabs their attention.

Aside from distribution and social media, maintaining a visually pleasing company blog and website are equally important.  Most companies have a specific goal in mind when it comes to their home page: to drive website traffic to it.   The most successful websites use photos in a way that makes cross posting on social media a breeze. You don’t want to make your social media sites look great only to drive traffic back to a stark website with nothing to see.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how to use photos in each capacity – for media distribution, social media and your company website. 

PR and the Mobile Age

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There is no question that we have entered the mobile age.  Sales of desktops are decreasing, there are enough cell phones for everyone in the world to own two and even Third World countries have cell service. On top of that, 25 percent of smart phone owners ages 18- 44 can’t even recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them. Many business professionals see mobile as the future of social media. As mobile technology continues to increase, it’s important that PR professionals take notice and learn how to adjust to the mobile experience.  

That experience lets industry professionals see the latest news from anywhere. Even though you can reach a larger audience, you have to be aware of how your content is displayed. Although smart phones can access the same sites as a desktop like Twitter, and Facebook, etc., there are key distinctions between them. One being that smart phone screens are significantly smaller than a desktop sotweets and posts need to be short and to the point. Another thing, hashtags don’t work on Facebook mobile. 189 million Facebook users only use Facebook through their smart phone.  So save the hashtags for Twitter.  

Also, even though Twitter allows the user to tweet up to 140 characters, the chances of someone reading a tweet that long on a mobile device are small. The reason being, if mobile users have to expand the tweet, they probably won’t read it. Keep in mind that the end of a tweet is often where professionals attach links for users to retweet. 

Compose your tweet so that it is less than 120 characters if you want it to be retweeted — or even read.  A University of Florida study found that 43 percent of B2B companies get new customers through Facebook and 34 percent of marketers get leads through Twitter.  Getting the right people to see all of your content is crucial.

Some social media programs are only available on a smart phone, like Instagram and Vine.  Social media is image based.  An MIT study showed that Facebook posts with images received 37 percent more engagements.  Images are useful because they quickly tell the story. Many smart phone cameras are of equal quality to the average digital camera.  Pictures are also larger than text, which means they take up more of a person’s news feed.  Your company, whether B2B or B2C, should be using smart phones to get content out there, whether it be posting pictures on Instagram or posting videos to Vine.  

Another unique feature of smart phones is text messaging.  Many social media programs started out as SMS programs.  Text message campaigns (opt in only, of course) are a great way for B2C and B2B businesses to showcase new products, update consumers on new projects and give monthly factoids about your industry. 

Some mobile apps are especially useful for PR pros.  Tools like Hootsuite, Microsoft Office and Drop Box are all available for many smart phones. There are also some new smart phone-only apps that you might want to check out. , Apps like Taptu, Flipboard and Pulse can take your social networks and websites and merge them into visually appealing and easy-to-read read streams. These new PR smartphone apps make getting the latest information that much easier. 

Being mindful about how the mobile experience works, providing the potential to reach a bigger audience and expand a business’ message.

-Niki Perri

@neperri

 

Should Brands Create Controversies?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about how the president of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, feels about same sex marriage.  In an interview with the Baptist Press  he took a controversial stance and created an uproar that might have put the fast food joint in jeopardy.

Interestingly enough, this move did wonders for his bottom line. Anti-gay marriage supporters dedicated an appreciation day to the chain, giving it one of the highest grossing sales days it’s ever had.

As a public relations professional, I have to wonder: was Mr. Cathy’s public stance on such a controversial issue intentional?   It came to my attention that almost three quarters of Chick-Fil-A locations are in the more conservative Southern states.  Could this have been a planned PR move in order to boost sales primarily in these areas?

It’s an interesting thought. Marketing departments work hard to create relatable and attractive brand images. So the idea of starting a firestorm seems a bit risky.  Maybe it’s a case where bad press can be good press, too.

So do you think this was an intentional move? Is it a good tactic for brands to create controversy in order to boost visibility and sales?

@SaraAlisia

 

If You Could Do Your Banking on Facebook – Would You?

Image: digitimes.ie

From time to time, I might ask close friends and family members for a financial advice, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought about the possibility of “social banking.”

Financial giant, Citibank, is however thinking about the possibility of “social banking,” as least as far as Facebook is concerned. The bank recently posted an interesting message to its Facebook page, asking fans if they would bank through Facebook, testing consumer appetite for “social banking.”

The post has already garnered nearly 800 ‘Likes,’ but comments on the post are overwhelmingly negative – here’s just a small sampling (positive and negative) of my favorites:

  • “100%”
  • “No way.”
  • “Yes, absolutely.”
  • “Over my dead body”
  • “No. That would just give hackers an incentive to hack Facebook. In the long run, I get my information stolen, and Facebook AND Citibank lose their reputation for keeping your information safe.”

It’s clear, we live in an ever more-connected world. We check-in, hangout, Tweet, ping and snap photos all day and all night. We can already deposit paper checks into our accounts with mobile banking apps and transfer money with a touch.

That convenience has improved the way we do business and streamlined money management, but is a good idea always worth taking to its logical extreme?

Facebook’s questionable privacy history, combined with the obvious security questions raised by many Facebook users in the comments on Citbank’s post, come together to create what could either be a disruptive partnership that changes the way we think about banking, or, it could be a behemoth privacy disaster.

So, what do you think? If you could do your banking on Facebook, would you?

– Marrissa (@marrissam)

Guerrilla Marketing: Do YOU Deserve to Die?

Guerrilla marketing often aims to offend people in order to gain their attention.  It’s not for every organization, but it can work.  Officials at the Lung Cancer Alliance seem to have a good understanding of the concept.  The group recently launched a campaign that includes posters saying things like: “The tattooed deserve to die” and “Cat lovers deserve to die.”

What the..? Hey! I love cats!

 

Upon visiting the group’s website, you see a countdown clock until the big reveal of a mysterious disease that doesn’t discriminate: lung cancer.  The clock has been removed and replaced with:

“Many people believe that if you have lung cancer you did something to deserve it. It sounds absurd, but it’s true. Lung cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither should you.  Help put an end to the stigma and the disease.”

The American Lung Association has always been the top dog when it comes raising awareness/funding for lung cancer research.  But this guerilla marketing campaign really put the small Lung Cancer Alliance on the map.  I had honestly never heard of the group until recently.  Many angry comments posted across social media sites prompted me to check it out.

Well done.  I see what you did there, Lung Cancer Alliance.  You let the ticked off people do your dirty work for you.  Here are some excerpts from the Lung Cancer Alliance Facebook page:

 

Some would argue for the end of this campaign. It’s certainly not appropriate for all issues or groups.  But for a small, cash-strapped non-profit trying to raise awareness about a deadly disease, I applaud the effort.

 

@saraalisia

 

PR: There’s an App for That

Almost everyone has a smart phone, most likely compete with tons of downloaded apps.  I recently sat in on a discussion about which mobile apps are most useful for PR industry pros from Cision.  Here is the top ten list:

1.     Bump

Bump is like a virtual business card that allows you to swap info with people just by launching the app and then physically “bumping” your phones together.  It’s perfect if you’re on a time crunch and want to make a quick connection.

2.     CardMunch

This app allows you to take pictures of business cards and convert them into contacts right into your address book. The top perk to this app is that it will also show you LinkedIn profile information as well as any connections you have in common.

3.     Dropbox

This is a very popular and free service that lets you store/access your photos, docs and videos anywhere and share them easily. It’s so convenient to pull files your Dropbox account from your phone and share with others on the go.

 4.     Evernote

The Evernote app helps you remember your ideas, projects and experiences across all the computers, phones and tablet platforms you may use.  It captures text, photos and audio and then synchs it via the cloud.  These files can then be shared, edited and used to collaborate with your co-workers.

5.     TweetDeck and HootSuite

Either of these two apps are a great way to keep track of journalists’ feeds and also handy when you need to manage your Twitter/Facebook presence while travelling.  As far as layouts go, it’s really a Coke vs. Pepsi thing.

6.     Yammer

Yammer is an enterprise social network service and is used for private communication within organizations and pre-designated groups. This is a private way to collaborate with your co-workers and send them messages.

7.     Google Analytics (mobile)

This app gives you instant, mobile access to your Google Analytics.  It’s perfect if you’re travelling but still need to report back to the office about how a post is doing.

8.     Word Press

This app is compatible with almost every operating system.  For this reason, it’s a great way to update any blog on the go.  This is awesome if you are blogging from a trade show and want to share timely updates.

 9.     Tripit

If you travel frequently, this app is a lifesaver.  It basically takes and organizes all of your trip details (flight, car rental, reservations and anticipated weather) and puts them in one place where you can share those details with others and print out your tickets.

10.  Media Database Apps

If you need to look up a media contact and you aren’t by a computer, it’s helpful if the media database service you use has a downloadable app.   MyMediaInfo, CisionPoint and Vocus are among those that have them. Great for a last-minute pitch.

Do you have any good apps to add to this list?

Follow me @saraalisia

 

 

 

Twitter: It’s Not All About You.

There’s no question, social media (primarily the “big three” networks: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) is integral to a successful, comprehensive PR campaign. However, as corporations get more comfortable with social media, we’ve noticed that many of them still have a “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha…” approach to Twitter. To those organizations I say, “Newsflash: it’s not all about you.”

That may sound a bit harsh, but what I really mean is that social media, Twitter especially, should not be used as corporate air horn – only for broadcasting company news, white papers, case studies or executive accomplishments. Twitter is capable of much, much more. That is IF you take the time to step back, think about what interests your followers, engage with them and share relevant news and stories – even if they’re not about you.

I’m not recommending a complete kibosh on sharing corporate news and marketing content. I am however, endorsing restraint when it comes to tweeting corporate news. Take your average enterprise Twitter handle: with 3-6 original tweets per day, no more than half of those tweets should be self-promotional.

What else should you tweet if your not sharing news about your company?

Great question. Twitter is perhaps the fastest way to directly connect with potential customers and even members of the media – they’re all there, and if your talking about a subject that interests them, you just might open the door to your next sale or major feature story.

In order to do that, you must share your knowledge with the ‘Twitterverse.’ No corporate news or product launches this quarter? No problem. What’s going on in your industry? Do you see a major industry challenge on the horizon? Have you noticed an interesting trend in customer buying preferences? These are just a few of the things you can (and should) be blogging about.

Draft a quick blog (100-200 words) and tweet it out. If you’re interested in the topic, chances are, the people following you (including influencers) are interested in it as well. If you regularly share your knowledge, you will be repaid in spades on Twitter. You’ll gain a) Credibility as a thought-leader; b) Trust of customers who are used to being bombarded by marketing messages c) The interest of members of the media looking for expert sources.

Finally, a point on engagement. It’s simple really – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means, thanking someone for a retweet or for following, responding to tweets in which your brand is mentioned and asking questions.

When you learn that Twitter is “not all about you,” you’ll gain the social media respect you deserve.

– Marrissa (follow me on Twitter: @marrissam)