Category Archives: Social Media

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. 

Three Public Relations Resolutions for the New Year

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I’m not a big fan of resolutions. They are so easy to make and so hard to keep. Eat less, spend less, exercise more and get organized. They all seem to center around self-deprivation and denial.  I know it’s good for me, but sticking to it day-to-day isn’t a walk on the beach. Still the beginning of the year does get me thinking about what I can do better. How I can improve and what steps I need to take to do that.

It’s a time to look at yourself personally, but also professionally.  I work with a lot of clients on public relations and time and time again I see the same simple ways they could easily step up their public relations strategy with just a little bit of effort. I am talking about the low-hanging fruit that too many companies just don’t take the time to grab.  Here are three things I think you could do this year to get more recognition and attention in your industry and community.

#1 – K.I.S.S.
I have always thought that when Einstein said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough” he was referring to news (press) releases. I know he wasn’t. He was probably talking about some complex theorem, but it’s still the same concept. You should be able to write a news release about your products or services that the average person can understand. That means cutting the jargon, simplifying and saying it in plain English. Save the tech talk for the spec sheet or the white paper.  Making your releases complex doesn’t get you points. In fact, it loses you readers.  Of course, this means the people writing your releases also have to understand the products and service well enough to explain them simply.

#2 — A picture is worth a thousand words
Photos, graphics, videos aren’t just the icing on the cake anymore. They’re more like the baking soda that makes the cake rise. Instagram just announced it has more users than Twitter; Twitter posts with photos get retweeted more often; and selfies are more ubiquitous as the smart phones that take them. Photos for a news release, media kit and event or product announcement shouldn’t be an afterthought. They increase coverage of your public relations efforts to the point that they should be just an automatic part of the process. Put it on your PR checklist and try to think in terms of good photo opps. And take it beyond the standard product shot.

#3 – Stay on top of digital and social media efforts
Continuous content is the most crucial element for success in a digital or social media campaign. A steady flow of good blogs, Facebook or Twitter content really makes the difference between success and falling flat. The New Year is a great opportunity to put together a social/digital media calendar. Calendars should be flexible and subject to change, but there are some dates that you can map out in advance. Start with any holidays you want to acknowledge on your social platform. Then add in any industry event like tradeshows or seminars, conferences and training sessions. Next, fill in with upcoming announcements or rollouts. By developing a calendar in advance you have a plan to build on and that makes it easier to keep your momentum.

Done right these three things can really make a difference. They take a little time, but very little money and you should begin to notice a difference pretty quickly. 

Keep Tweeting During the Holidays

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Merry Christmahanakwanza…Twitter?

With the holidays in full swing it’s easy to put your business social media accounts on the back burner. However, understanding how to engage with your Twitter audience during the holidays can be of great use to your business.

Have fun with your posts 
Since it is the holidays you can have more fun with your tweets. Post pictures of your office holiday party or what you are excited about for the New Year. This helps show your followers your business’/ brand’s personality. Use the hashtag #happyholidays to promote your brand with a trending hashtag. A Crimson Hexagon study showed that twitter holiday influence continues to increase until Christmas Eve. Also, try to relate your industry to the holidays. Many businesses continue right on through the holidays. Tweeting about having a happy holiday season is a great opportunity to include a link about your products and services.

Fewer tweets means more attention.
It’s true that a lot of people take off the last couple weeks December, but not everyone. Many professionals continue to work and check their social media accounts throughout the holidays. Fewer people tweeting means that your posts will get more attention. Also, work tends to slow down giving people have more time to give their social media accounts the due diligence they deserve. 

Scheduling your posts
Even is you’re out of the office for the holidays you can still keep up with your social media accounts. Use a platform like HootSuite to schedule holiday tweets before you leave. It’s a great way to promote your business and/or brand while still being able to enjoy your holiday vacation. 

-NP

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Don’t Forget LinkedIn in Your Content Marketing Mix

Let me start out by saying that I don’t think advertising is dead.  There is a lot of talk out there that it’s limping along as content creation sprints forward leaving it in the dust.  But, let’s be real, good advertising still sells.  That said, content creation has been around for a while, but as a relatively newbie to the marketing tool kit it’s getting a lot of attention. There are some pretty compelling reasons for this. Study after study shows that people respond to informational content.  What catches people’s attention is useful content that provides some insight or understanding.  A good blog – one that tells your customers and potential customers something they need to know — is a perfect example of persuasive content.

The biggest challenge with a blog is consistency and providing useful information.  But, there is more to it than that. Once you have the blogs written and posted your work isn’t done. If you have spent the time and energy to put together a useful blog you have to market it to keep it alive and reaching as many targeted people as possible.  Good content is marketing gold, but only if you get people to see it.  You can create a great ad, but if you don’t place it, it doesn’t sell anything.

There are lots of ways to market content.  Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should all be part of the mix.  But, I think one of the most overlooked marketing tools for b2b communication efforts is LinkedIn.  We all know (or should know) that LinkedIn isn’t just for recruiting and job searches any more.  People use it to keep tabs on contacts, network with peers, follow industry groups and get company news.

According to reports, LinkedIn has 300 million worldwide users with 100 million in the U.S. alone.  And it’s estimated that 40 percent of those users check their accounts daily.  The average LinkedIn user has 150 connections and many have more than 500.  When you post something to LinkedIn it appears on the news feed of all of your followers (depending on your privacy settings).  If one of your connections sees it and likes it then it appears on the news feed of all of that person’s connections, if one of his/her connections likes it, it appears on the newsfeed of all of that person’s connections and if someone from that person likes it . . . well you get the idea.  The number of people who see your post adds up pretty rapidly and exponentially.  

If your post links back to your website, you not only get more visibility for your content but you also have the potential of driving more people back to your website.  And remember all of this is free.  All you have to do is assign someone (or your agency) to regularly post all blogs and news coverage to LinkedIn. It should be on the check off list along with posting to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

LinkedIn works pretty much like Facebook, but I like it because it is a business platform targeted to professionals. Facebook is great for family photos, funny animal videos and personal opinions, but LinkedIn is for business. When you post on your company page that post appears in the news feed of everyone following your company. These are people who have shown an interest in you. Keeping them updated is important and should be a priority. These are your evangelists – people who will spread the word for you.

Are you making a fool of your brand on Twitter?

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 11.06.10 AMLast week the Twitter-sphere was a buzz about the “Why I Stayed” hashtag. It went viral after a video surfaced of now suspended NFL running back, Ray Rice, punching his then finance in an elevator. Many people took to Twitter using #WhyIStayed to share their personal stories of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, DiGiorno did not get the message and used the hashtag to promote pizza sales. After much backlash, DiGiorno took down the tweet and later apologized, saying that they did not know the meaning of the hashtag prior to posting. Although this was a large- scale embarrassment that doesn’t happen everyday I think we can all agree that we have been guilty of Twitter blunders. Here are some common mistakes we all make:

1) Improperly using trending hashtags

Sure, you probably haven’t angered everyone on Twitter by making a joke about domestic violence, but companies often attempt to use trending hashtags that have nothing to do with their brand. Just because a hashtag is trending doesn’t mean you have to use it to get noticed. You can customize your Twitter trends based on your location and your industry to get your hashtags noticed by the right people.

2) Not reading what you are retweeting 

Retweeting is key to organically growing your Twitter account. That being said you need to be smart about retweeting. It’s easy to look at your newsfeed and retweet the first headlines that relates to your industry without reading the link. Often companies tweet out self- promotional content disguised as helpful insider tips. While this information may be valuable to your industry and your followers you don’t want to promote your competition.

3) Not planning your tweets

If your tweeting content that isn’t time sensitive plan out your tweets in advanced to insure you’re putting out the best content. You can still leave plenty of room for spontaneity.

4) Not scheduling your tweets

This is similar to number three. Not only do you want to plan out in advanced what you say, you need to plan when you want to say it. You want to be tweet at least three times a day. Tweets are most likely to be seen and retweeted from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. Use a Twitter platform like HootSuite so you can schedule your tweets in advanced. You want to space out your tweets at least an hour apart from each other. The worst thing you can do is put tweets out back to back. People will start to view you as spam.

5) Not adding pictures

Visual culture is crucial in getting noticed. In a sea of texts it’s always refreshing to see a photo. Tweets with photos get 2x the engagement rate than those without.

 

Tips for Building Up Your Business on LinkedIn

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An average of 45 million profiles are viewed on LinkedIn each day.  As a result, LinkedIn has become a key tool to help market your business and professional life. LinkedIn company pages don’t have the accessibility as a personal LinkedIn profile. Joining groups is one of the key ways to put your company’s name and expertise out there as well as gain new connections and opportunities. 

 Tips for LinkedIn Groups

1)    Don’t join too many groups.. Join five to six groups at most  so you will have time to participate, engage and build a strong presence with each of them.

2)    Join Content Niches. Be specific in your posts to find people who have similar interests.

3)    Connect with people who frequently talk/ comment in your groups and conduct private conversations, follow them on Twitter or other forms of social media.

4)    Add “Follow us on LinkedIn” on your company website and email signature.

5)    Don’t just join communications or PR groups. Join groups that relate to your clients interests as well.

6)    Follow the rule of thirds. What’s that in this context? I remember learning about it in photography class

Tips for Company Pages

About 80 percent of LinkedIn members want to connect with company pages. Even though company pages do not have the same accessibility, it is still important to have them.

1)    Brand your page to make it SEO friendly. Google previews will show 156 characters of your description page text. Use industry keywords in your description. Members will find your company page by searching those keywords.

2)    Post in the morning. This is gives your post a longer shelf life and insures that more people will view and engage with it. Updates with links have a 45 percent higher engagement rate.

3)    Link your website and other social media on your LinkedIn page to ensure that potential clients can easily find you.

 

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. 

Make Some News

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the value of content — company news and opinion — in driving potential customers to a small to medium business website or social media platform. One of my favorite headlines is “Content Is King.” Now I’m not much into royalty, but I totally agree that self-published content can be a huge asset in helping to grow an SMB.

There are a couple of factors driving this. One is that the major search engine — Google — no longer gives much weight to news releases, long the staple of a public relations campaign. The theory is that a release put on a wire service and picked up en masse by relevant and non-relevant outlets can be accomplished by any company willing to pay the wire charges.

However, algorithms known only to a few Google computer engineers do notice original content. A 20-inch company profile in the New York Times or two minutes to pitch a new product on the Today Show is still a big hit. But let’s be realistic, those opportunities don’t come along very often.

Industry trade publications still need news to fill the space between ads. But increasing numbers of editors are doling out their coveted spaced to those SMBs that advertise. It’s becoming known as the “No pay — No play” rule.

I’m sure your SMB has something to share with your current and potential customers, but how do you reach them? Make your own news. Tell your unfiltered story through a blog page on your website and by using social media. LinkedIn, the social media site for professionals, recently adding blogging capabilities that let’s you communicate directly with your connections. But no matter the platform, plan for regular posts that will increase your online visibility.

And if you think your business is too boring or technical for blogging or social media, think again. Let’s look at one example. Plastic pipe extrusion won’t make lively party conversation, but a search of the term on Google brings back more than 1 million hits. Somebody out there wants news about making tubing and pipes of different sizes and shapes.

So get out there and create some content about your business. If you don’t have the capability on staff, find a good writer to help you tell your story. There’s no longer any excuse for sitting quietly and letting self-publishing competitors pass you by.

– JD

Follow me on Twitter @jdaum

 

6 Tips for Email Marketing

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Content marketing is one of most important trends in public relations this year. It’s all about promoting your business to followers with useful content. A great way to do that is through email marketing. But, are a few things you should know before you start.

First, think about the direction of your message/content. What type of information do you want subscribers to see?  Is your content beneficial and informative?

Choosing a Platform: Choose an email-marketing platform. This is essential because you do not want your emails to automatically go to spam if you are sending them out to a large group of people.  Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp are an easy and inexpensive way to help build and polish your content and keep it out of the spam folder. Create multiple test emails and send them out before you choose a particular platform. See what you like.

Finding Contacts: You should already have contacts ready to go to start a marketing campaign. However, you want your contact list to expand. Think about who would be interested in the services/ information you have to offer. Do your research and build a good contact mailing list. In addition, make sure it’s easy for potential subscribers to sign up for your email service – whether that be on your website or your social media platforms.

Crafting your Email: Make sure your emails are written and designed so that they are clear and concise, and the design is mainly neutral colors. Emails should be a “readable” length and if they are too long the will more than likely not be read or read all the way. Try to make it so that your reader only has to scroll down one or two times while reading any given email.

Integration: The key to growing your influence is integration. Create a Twitter account, a Facebook page, etc. for your newsletter. Make sure to advertise your social media when the newsletter goes out. Also use your social media sites to tweet or post updates from your newsletter. Post or tweet a link to your newsletter subscribe button as well. 

Tracking your Emails: Many email-marketing platforms will allow you to track your emails. You can see how many people opened it, what links they clicked on, etc. Every week you should be tracking your progress. See who’s opening your emails and what they are doing after that. Are they clicking on your links? What type of links get the most hits? All of this is important in maintaining a successful email marketing campaign. Use the statistics you collect and modify r accordingly. Remember, email marketing is all about what the subscriber wants to see.

Be Consistent: The key to all content marketing is consistency. Plan out which days and approximately times you want your email to go out. When you start your email- marketing campaign write a welcome email to let your subscribers know what they can expect from you.

– Niki Perri