Best Practices

Three Easy Things You Can Do To Prosper in 2012

Tip #1. Take care of your body.
It’s difficult to be a good leader when you don’t feel good physically. Start your day with exercise and a healthy breakfast and you’ll be better equipped to make tough decisions and deal with stress. (Easy to say, hard to do. If you have advice on how you make this work, I’m all ears.) Keep a large container of water within reach to stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s good for your body and your mind. (Fortunately, this is doable.)


Tip #2 Take care of your mind.

Forget multitasking – it actually makes you less efficient. Instead, focus on each task at hand and master the art of deep breathing. Filling your lungs with oxygen helps your brain function more efficiently. (I put a BREATHE! Post-it® on my monitor.) To keep your mind sharp, read things totally unrelated to your industry. (Articles in the Scientific American e-newsletter have inspired marketing ideas.) Step out of your comfort zone to do things you’ve never done before. (So many choices, so little time.)

Tip #3 Take care of your marketing.
Or let us do it for you. But please don’t ignore it, because right now your competition could be courting your customers. It’s easier to make marketing a priority when you see metrics of what could be and how we can make it happen. If marketing isn’t your priority, or you simply can’t find the time to get it done, then “concentrate on what you do best and outsource the rest” to c3PR. The most productive marketers are those who are passionate about their work, and as Yoda would say, “Passionate, we are!” Here’s to a prosperous 2012.

For Social Media Success, Measure Quality, Not Quantity

As with any PR program, measuring the results of your social media efforts is the key to success. However, the metrics have changed. In a recent “Measuring What Matters”  webinar, PR Industry Veteran Katie Paine explained that while we used to measure social media efforts by the number of followers, friends or likes, eyeballs don’t mean much if they don’t land on your content and do something about it. And forget about hits. Katie referred to this old-school metric as “How Idiots Track Success.” Ouch

To measure the success of your social media program, it’s important to use qualitative measurement to complement the quantitative. That’s because social media is about more than sales. It’s about conversation, engagement, influence, relationships and sentiment. But that doesn’t mean that social media won’t improve the bottom line. Over time, your company’s ability to listen for need and respond will inevitably contribute to growth.

Considering that the ratio of online to print media is now the exact opposite of what it was five years ago, it’s more important than ever to include social media in your marketing efforts. And like PR, social media is a process. It takes time to build a successful program. Seek relationships rather than followers and good results are sure to follow.  

For real-word  examples of how other companies are using seven indicators to measure social media success, read my full-length article: Beyond Hits: Seven New Social Media Measurement Metrics.

M’m! M’m! Good! Taglines

What’s one of the most difficult branding tasks? Coming up with a good tagline or slogan. I was reminded of that when I saw Virgin America’s new “A Breath of Fresh Airline.” When we were struggling to find just the right tagline for c3PR, I spent hours on the Tagline Guru website. It’s packed with tons of tagline trivia and games to test your knowledge of classic taglines and the products or companies they advertise.

Tagline Guru Eric Swartz surveyed one hundred leading advertising, marketing, and branding professionals to come up with a list of the 100 most influential taglines introduced since the advent of broadcast television in 1948. Got Milk? ranked #1 out of more than 300 submitted nominations.

 “If a slogan is repeated, imitated, or parodied often enough, it eventually becomes part of our collective consciousness and takes on a life of its own,” Swartz said. “Slogans that achieve this level of notoriety typically have broken new ground, whether it’s in their use of grammar (Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee), rhythm (The quicker picker-upper), rhyme (Don’t get mad, get GLAD), inflection (They’re gr-r-r-eat!), metaphor (This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?), attitude (The few, the proud, the Marines), ulterior meaning (Nothing comes between me and my Calvins), or positioning (The uncola).”

Since the survey was confined to slogans created after 1948, classics such as The breakfast of champions (Wheaties), The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola) and Good to the last drop (Maxwell House) were not eligible. I was amazed that one of my favorites, Campbell’s Soup’s “M’m! M’m! Good!” is over 80 years old. I wonder if c3PR’s tagline, “get noticed. get results.” will still be around in 2090. If it is, we have our Webmaster, Kelley Rao, to thank for coming up with such a good one.

Monday Washday and GTD

Having trouble getting things done? My grandmother, a farmer’s wife and mother of seven, had a system she taught to me in the form of a skip-rope song: “Monday washday. Tuesday sew. Wednesday garden and to market we go. Thursday bake bread. Friday strip beds. Saturday wash heads. Sunday rest.” She did those same chores on the same day every week. She didn’t make to-do lists or think about what needed to be done. She just DID.

Apparently Grandma was ahead of her time. Recent studies found a neurological connection between order and workplace productivity. Jonathan Fields, author of the new book Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance says, “Without organizational systems, your brain has to work harder to hold virtual organizational structures in its circuitry, relying on greater levels of working memory. This taxes a part of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. When the PFC fatigues, you’re far more likely to both give in to impulse, distraction and resistance and pull away from the work needed to create great art, experiences, ideas and businesses.”

The trend toward using ultra-organization to increase productivity took off about a decade ago with the bestseller Getting Things Done. According to Author David Allen, knowing exactly what you need to do next allows you to focus on the work itself instead of trying to remember when the work is due. Personally, Allen’s complex GTD system of files and action lists increased my not-GTD stress. If you’ve got a system as efficient as my Grandma’s, I’d love to hear about it.

Tweetorial for the Twitter-Challenged

Tweeting has become the terrific (and for some, the terrifying) trend in social media territory. Not everyone tweets, but like skydiving and chocolate-covered bacon, you’ll never fully “get it” unless you try it.

Twitter is easy. Really. Even if you think Facebook, LinkedIn and Delicious are too complicated, you can use Twitter to spread the word. Be the first to tweet about breaking news, new products, industry events, funny things you hear, great articles you read, great articles you write, and more. Here’s the lingo demystified:

Follow people you are interested in. That can be customers, clients, coworkers, your children, grandchildren, competitors and especially magazines, editors, and industry leaders.

Hashtag(#) any tweet phrases you want other people to be able to search by, organize, group, list. On the right hand side of Twitter, you can see “trends” that are the most popular searched and tweeted things on Twitter. Animatics, a manufacturer of integrated servo motors, uses #manuf, #robots, #automation and a number of others. Recently a trending topic was #smallbutpowerful, a perfect description of their product. Hashtags are also useful for event tracking. On any marketing brochure, tradeshow, program and more you can make your own hashtag phrase (just search it first on Twitter to make sure it’s original).

@___________ is how you “tag” other people in your tweets. If used at the beginning of the tweet, it implies you are replying to that person’s earlier tweet or telling them something directly. Used at the end of the tweet it’s more of a “head’s up” to that person. Think one of your followers in particular would like your tweet? Want to mention someone else you ran into at a tradeshow? Just place an @ symbol in front of their Twitter username and tag ‘em!

RT @__________ If you hover over someone else’s tweet there’s a small button that says “Retweet.” But before you click away, know that hitting that button will send the other person’s tweets, along with their profile picture, to all the folks following you, with only a tiny text message at the top saying “via “your twitter name”. A better way to pass on the info is to copy other’s tweet text into your text box, then right before add “RT @(tweeter you got info from). This way, you’re still active on Twitter and people see your profile and picture, but the original author still gets credit.

Shorter Links and Tweets = More Retweets We tend to like http://bit.ly for shortening links because it gives you the power to see how many people actually clicked on the link you tweeted (and we love measurable results). The shorter your links and your tweets, the easier it is for people to RT @______ your tweets themselves.

Direct Messaging (aka Weinergate Scandal) To send a direct message, click on “Messages” at the top menu bar of your Twitter page. Then you can click “New Message” on the top right side to send someone a message through Twitter that no one else sees. You can only send direct messages to people who follow you. Or you can “unknowingly” message someone through the regular Twitter box to everyone “by accident” and then try to cover it up and bask in the flash of the media bulbs. We suggest the first.

There you have it!  Now get out into the Twittersphere and start tweeting!

Melissa Junge is a Marketing Associate at Animatics

How Important is a Social Media-Friendly, SEO-Optimized Website?

SEO Social Media WebsitesThat depends on how much you want your business to grow. Most companies grow by adding new customers, or expanding product and service offerings. But you can’t grow if prospects can’t find you on the Web. If your website doesn’t rank high in a search for the keywords most often used to identify your business, or if your site isn’t linked to your company Facebook page, YouTube video, LinkedIn profiles and other popular social media channels, you’re missing out on a steady stream of new business.

Problem is, new websites take time to plan. And cost money to build. So many businesses limp along for years, trying to make do with their old site. Inevitably, the site’s foundation becomes too old to support new technology.

That’s what happened to c3PR
In 2003 we launched a dynamite new website. Over the years it became harder and harder to update. So we just stopped trying. And since we couldn’t add a blog without major rework, we didn’t do that either. Eventually, c3PR dropped off the face of the search engines altogether.

Then along came WordPress with all its widgets and whistles. Today, a good webmaster can build you a great site for a fraction of what it used to cost. These full-featured sites are easy to update, too. Check out the WordPress websites we produced for our clients dB Control and ION. Both took just a few weeks to build. Now when we write a news release or blog post for them, it’s posted on their site immediately. Plus last minute changes are no problem.

Search engines love the smell of fresh content
Add content to your site and your rankings will soar. Ours did. We’re now #2 in a search for “high tech PR Silicon Valley.” Keeping that ranking will take a steady stream of fresh content. But creating content is what PR agencies are all about.

New Year, New Website

The new year tends to sneak up on us. It takes a week to get back in the saddle and hunker down – that’s if we aren’t supporting a client at CES, the Las Vegas-based Consumer Electronics Show that takes great pride in being first out. The second in week in January usually finds us swamped with everything we put off until 2011. Then suddenly it’s the middle of the month and we’re wondering how it went by so fast. But one of the best things about the new year are the lists. Here’s a few from my favorite PR blog, Ragan’s PR Daily News Feed: The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) started a “new tradition” of predicting industry trends for the year ahead and posted 11 of them on its blog, PRSay. They made my heart skip a beat with # 6: “Good content and storytelling is paramount to breaking through the clutter.” You betcha! I also like the predictions that “Reputations are at greater risk” and “The value of PR continues to rise” See a connection there? . . . Social media monitoring company Sysomos released its annual study of the Twittersphere, which explores trends from more than a billion tweets from 20 million users. Sysomos found that 100 million people joined Twitter in 2010 . . . The Zeitgeist Report 2010 listed the year’s most popular searches. In the U.S., iPad, ChatRoulette, and iPhone4 were the “fastest rising” queries. And if you’re looking for some inspiration, The Business Insider created a slideshow of 20 Brilliant Marketing Campaigns That Literally Stopped Traffic.

Social Media’s a Solution, Not a Chore

In her article about Social Media, c3PR associate Vanessa Bradford reminds us that every business has a story to tell – new products, media mentions, shifts in management, awards earned and more. So use social media to give your prospects a reason to do business with you. But remember, most companies don’t get hundreds of followers overnight. Vocus said it nicely: “Social media engages consumers in a way that encourages trust and message retention.” Building trust takes time.

The beauty of social media is that its conversational tone and simple-to-use features make it easy to implement. If economic challenges have impacted your company, consider leveraging the advantages of social media, like its highly interactive nature and increased Internet visibility, to build your business.

At c3PR we love 3s and were delighted to read that social media success is based on three action items:

  1. Continually monitoring what is being said about your brand/business online
  2. Reacting to industry trends and fine-tuning your message accordingly
  3. Keeping content fresh and engaging with your audience

Need help managing your social media campaign? We’re here for you.

Making the Most of the Holiday Buzz

No, we’re not talking about throwing back a little too much eggnog, although that sometimes helps with Holiday stress. In this case, buzz refers to using a news release to get more exposure. After all, ‘tis the season when nearly two-thirds of retailers (63.8 percent) expect their company’s online sales to grow by fifteen percent or more compared to last holiday season. B2B companies who want to take advantage of the market’s extra attention should look for a news angle that ties in with:

  • Holiday cooking and entertaining
  • Staying fit/avoiding overeating during the holidays
  • Holiday travel
  • Gift ideas
  • Holiday trends (cancelling holiday parties, starting a new tradition, etc.)
  • Do-it-Yourself or other money-saving tactics

For example, is your company planning to release a new product or platform in October or November? Your news release can highlight that you’re “kicking off the holiday season” in your industry with this new technology/product/service. Does your company host an annual holiday party? Throw this year’s get-together in honor of a charity like The American Cancer Society and announce that all proceeds from your raffle will benefit the nonprofit. For more holiday ideas, call us.

Social Media Monitoring: Taking it One Tweet at a Time

Social Media Conversation PrismSo you’re finally on board with social media. You’re hip. You’re cool. Your company has a Facebook page. So now what? Social media channels like blogs, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr are valuable PR tools. But monitoring these outlets to stay on top of what’s being said in your industry can be a headache. Here’s five tips from a recent Marketwire webinar:

1)      Join the conversation (Where?) – There are hundreds of blogs, sites and pages. Cut through the crowd by figuring out which conversations are the most interesting to your customers.

2)      Reach vs. affinity (Who?) – The key to finding who to engage depends on your organization’s goals. Reach (followers and subscribers) is a traditional marketing yardstick, whereas affinity values quality over quantity and takes into consideration the authority and influence of the authors and content.

3)      Real-time communication (When?) – Social media conversations occur in real time. There are many monitoring tools like Sysomos MAP and Heartbeat. If budgets are tight, dedicate some time each week to checking out what’s happening in your social media bubble.

4)      Lots of data (What?) – Billions of conversations are going on right this very minute. Find out what’s being said – especially by your competition – and chime in.

5)      Sentiment (Why?) – Before you comment, decide whether your feedback strategy (i.e. comments, @ replies, wall posts, etc.) will be positive, negative or neutral.

 

Social media builds and join communities. It can help you spread the word about your organization and brand. Content is King. Context is Queen. But it’s the conversation that’s the Ace. Use a SMART approach to set your strategy (Socialize, Monitor, Analyze, Report, Target), then develop a community and join the conversation. Now go forth and tweet!