Social Media Tools Should be Used for PR

In my opinion, public relations is all about getting people’s attention, and responding to what they have to say about you. Today, I want to talk a little about the second part, which is for the most part known as reputation management.

Defined: As related to the media, reputation management is the process of tracking other’s opinions and comments about a company’s actions and products, and reacting to those opinions and comments to protect and enhance the company’s reputation.

If your company currently does not have a reputation management strategy in place to monitor and respond to company mentions in social media, I recommend immediately signing up for the following social media services.

Google Alerts

I’ve talked about this in a past post, but to summarize, Google Alerts is a service that will send you an email, or report to your RSS feed, when any mentions of your company name, your name, or any keyword become indexed on Google.

Why is this useful? If you were Dell, wouldn’t you have liked to have been immediately notified when a laptop that you made spontaneously combusted at a conference? In today’s era of social media, there would have been tweets, blog posts, and photos of it online within thirty seconds of the first flame.

If some extremely negative or extremely positive comments are made on one of your products or your company in general, you want to be the first to address it so that any potential problems will not escalate.

TweetBeep

TweetBeep is sometimes known as the Google alerts for twitter. It’s the same concept- except you are notified when your keyword is mentioned in any tweets on Twitter, and in real time (within one hour of the mention, you will be notified).

Twitter is evolving as a real time search engine, so instead of getting notified hours or perhaps days after your company’s product explodes, you’ll be notified immediately, allowing you and your company to immediately begin to formulate a plan for addressing the issue and managing your company’s reputation.

What to do after your notified

I am by no means a PR professional, but I can tell you that consumers don’t like to be lied to, and don’t like to be “talked around.” My best advice on this topic is to respond to any negative press timely, honestly, and up-front. If your product was faulty and is now considered dangerous, admit that you made a mistake instead of blaming the problem on the plant you outsourced to, for example. Take responsibility and address the issue. People care about you fixing the product, not who you point the finger at (for the most part). The ‘problem’ is much more likely to stay a simple complaint then to escalate into a full-blown crisis if it is addressed immediately.

Also, be sure to not release a short press release or statement talking around the issue, saying things like “we are doing everything we can to solve this problem,” and simply leave it at that, with no further communication as you actually address the issue. Or else, the fact that you are handling the situation poorly will become the focus of the ultimate conversation going on in the media.

Remember- your entire company and every step you take will be under scrutiny once an issue arises, so handle yourself appropriately.

If you’re feeling ambitious

If you’re not completely comfortable with social media yet, but are feeling ambitious, then create an official company Twitter profile. This way, when somebody talks about you on Twitter- you can immediately respond instantly to that individual or the mass twitter audience, in a short and sweet message of 140 characters or less.

The point:

Public relations professionals should be using social media tools such as Google Alerts, Tweetbeep, and Twitter to monitor company mentions in the media to most effectively manage the company’s reputation.

I Just Joined Twitter! Follow Me!

After commenting slightly multiple times on how Twitter can be a great marketing tool, I’ve finally taken the plunge and signed up to try it out. I’ve always been a little bit skeptical of exactly how useful it can be in the marketing sense, so now I’ll finally get to try it out myself!

Since I’m involved in so many other types of social media, it will be interesting to find how relevant it will be to me- and how often I’ll end up using it.

If you’re at all interested in eMarketing and the different types of new media, or if you’re interested in knowing what I’m doing from time to time, follow me on Twitter to stay updated!

I’ll be sure to keep you informed on the success rates I achieve with Twitter, and how it compares to the types of social media I’ve used before.

The New Gen Y: Embrace Them

I was going through my feed reader yet again and found an incredible article on ReadWriteWeb.com through a recent PandemicBlog post. This article, “Why Gen Y Is Going to Change the Web,” begins to explain to the older generation that they must adapt to this new generation, who are or who will soon be working for you. I wanted to be sure to share this with my readers.

This post is also meant as somewhat of a wake up call. Do not reject change. It’ll hurt you in the end. Your way may have worked in the past but times have changed. Blogs will bash you and other companies or services will take over, to leave you to die out. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. But if you resist the change and do not embrace the technology while it’s not too late, you will cease to exist.

I highly recommend you read through the article, but there’s a few points that it makes that I wanted to highlight.

Article Highlights

  • We, the “Y” Generation, grew up on computers: Some of us took college courses through a computer screen, we expected professors and employers to respond to our emails within two hours, or they were considered “slow.” We surf the web for fun, instead of watching TV.
  • Work isn’t our whole world: We expect more than your older employees may have- don’t block our networking sites, it’ll hurt you in the end. We’ll spend a few hours on your clock trying to figure out how to get around it. Once we do (and we will), we’ll still use it. Don’t block Gmail or other email sites. It’s unnecessary and stupid. Your mail server isn’t the only one that exists. Don’t want to give us what we want? Hire somebody else. We’ll work as consultants.
  • We soak up everything: news, politics, educational content, howto videos. We put everything in a feed reader or our inbox and just read, read, and read until we get sick of it for the day. Then, we go to sleep, wake up, and read some more. Bottom line? We’re smart and stay educated on what matters in our personal and professional lives.

Erica’s Personal Input

And a little bit I want to add to the content of this article:

  • Consider individuals with less “years of work experience” if they apply for a position that “requires” an extensive amount of experience. We may have more knowledge and be better for the job than those with “10 years work experience.” I graduated from college in three years and taught myself how to successfully market online within 6 months, and am actively learning more and more at an increased rate. Your applicant with ten years of work experience- he may have simply pushed paper for ten years. One year experience of the Gen Y could = 5 years experience for a Gen X.
  • You are marketing to the Gen Y crowd now. What does this mean? Don’t rely on traditional mediums. That means stop spending so much money on those damn Superbowl commercials and create some online viral marketing campaigns. We’re not all Pepsi- we can’t spend money just to spend it. Give us a user generated content campaign (like Doritos did when they asked their audience to make their own commercials). Find us– we’ll be online, with the television on in the background as noise.
  • Respond. Did somebody say your website has a problem? Fix it. Suggest an improvement? Consider it. Seriously consider it. And don’t put together committees and meetings in order to decide on something. The internet is immediate. We don’t need to have proofs of newspapers like we did in the past. Take a lesson from Google. Throw your site out there and see if it works. If it doesn’t? Fix it as you go. This whole new generation is about communication. Don’t shut the door on it.

Thanks to Brennan White at PandemicBlogs for making me aware of this article and making me think even more than I already do every day! 🙂

Thanks to Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb for writing the article that inspired this post.

Importance of Benchmarks and Statistics in Marketing

I’ve stressed before the importance of keeping up with your competition in prior posts. Today, I’d like to stress it again. So here I go: It is extremely important for you to know what actions your competitors are taking, and what tactics they are implementing in terms of your marketing and advertising strategies, so that you can borrow from their success and reach your maximum potential.

If you become familiar which tactics others find successful, you can optimize your actions to match your competitor’s efficient techniques and become equally, if not more, successful.

Reach your maximum potential by borrowing from others’ success.

The following are some excellent benchmark reports offered my MarketingSherpa, a research firm specializing in tracking what tactics work, and what doesn’t, in all aspects of Marketing. I’ve used many benchmark studies in past years, including the Email Marketing Benchmark Handbook.

Please check them out and consider purchasing a copy or two for your organization so that you can benefit from others’ experiences and success stories.

2008 Online Advertising Handbook + Benchmarks2008 Online Advertising Handbook + Benchmarks:

Discover online marketing secrets in order to maximize your online advertising and new media marketing success. Find fact-based data for online advertising strategy, tactics, and general know how, gathered from a survey of over 500 advertisers and marketers currently participating in advertising with online media channels.

This handbook includes over 116 tables and charts full of numbers and statistics, and thirty images and creative samples to inspire your creative materials. This handbook + benchmarks will:

  • Help you better understand online advertising and its relationship to the broader marketing picture.
  • Help you grasp the mechanics of effective networked digital marketing.
  • Give you a practical guide to planning, designing, executing, and measuring an online ad campaign that will give you results you seek.

    Learn More!

2008 Landing Page HandbookNewly Revised, 2008 Landing Page Handbook

In prior posts I’ve talked about the importance of optimizing your landing page design to fit the needs of those brought there by paid search links, email messages, direct mail pieces, or other sources. Landing Page optimization is an art. This extremely useful handbook will talk about every aspect of the site that can be tweaked, form locations, above the fold information, navigation, etc.

Use this handbook to raise conversions by up to 55% or more for search, email, and ad campaigns for lead generation, e-commerce, and blogs. The handbook includes:

  • Step-By-Step Instructions for each step of landing page design, including copy, graphics, layout, buttons, typeface, video, audio, and top four types of testing. Plus, “skunk works” tips.
  • Creative Samples & Case Studies to use as design aids and inspiration for your new landing pages. Includes multivariate test results and real-life marketer’s stories. ( Click for a list of brands featured)
  • Specific help for search engine optimization, B2B marketers, e-commerce sites, email marketers, offline advertisers and even bloggers.

Learn More!


Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008

Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008

I’ve personally used the 2006 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide from MarketingSherpa, and I can’t say how much it helped in the curriculum development of the Comprehensive Guide to Successful Email Marketing Course offered by eBizITPA in Erie, PA.

The research provided in the Benchmark Guide allows you to recognize and replicate email marketing best practices to allow you to maximize your potential conversions with email marketing.

The contents of this guide include the results from an in-depth survey of over 1,200 marketers that have hands on email marketing experiences. With 328 pages of statistics, charts, images, and eyetracking heatmaps, you’re bound to find either that one statistic you’ve been looking for or the secret to increasing your email marketing success.

This year’s edition also includes four new special reports, including the results of a spam complainers survey, in which 3,000 consumers who had recently hit the “spam” button in their email clients were surveyed to discover their feelings about emails arriving too frequently, irrelevant emails, and other thoughts on advertising and marketing messages.

Learn More!

Be sure to check out all of MarketingSherpa’s benchmark guides, research reports, educational conferences and classes, webinars, and everything they have to offer. They are an incredible marketing research company that have never disappointed me in the past.

ESP Review-Listrak:: Part 3

keyboard

This is the third post in the Email Service Provider (ESP), or email campaign management tools review post series, in which I will review several common ESPs, and conclude with a summary and comparison of each that were reviewed.

We’ve already looked at Constant Contact, in Part 2: Constant Contact- anConstant Contact Inexpensive ESP, an inexpensive solution which can be customized to many different sectors and email newsletters. Its pricing model is based on size of the list rather than the number of emails sent per month.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at Listrak. Before we begin, let me state, for the record, that Listrak is the ESP I am most familiar with, and have used most frequently. I apologize if this post tends to be biased towards Listrak; I promise I will try to keep it neutral. 🙂

Listrak doesn’t make their prices real public, but they are still at the more inexpensive end of the spectrum. An individualListrak or organization can send 10,000 emails per month for $99.99 per month. and about one cent per every three emails after that.This is the first level of service. There is an increased level of service for an unknown fee upgrade.

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MacBook “Barely Th”Air

MacBook Air 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 64GB SSDSteve Jobs recently announced the new MacBook Air, which I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. So thin it can fit into an envelope, it certainly is “thinnovative” as some ads have declared. Very cool, sleek, durable, and light, allowing for easy travel. However, what do we give up to be able to carry around a laptop in an envelope? Why would anyone ever carry around a laptop in an envelope?

My biggest pet peeve with the “thinnovative” product? Minimal amount of ports (only one USB), and no disc drive. Apple‘s solution? Well, with the wireless capabilities of the MacBook Air, you can “borrow” the disc drive of a nearby computer when you need to install software from a CD or watch a DVD. Or, you can purchase a separate disc drive to connect to the MacBook Air.

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How Exactly Do I Get One of these Blogs?

Maybe you’ve been reading mine and other blogs recently. You’ve conquered the concept of RSS feeds, read the specifics on why you should be using a blog to help promote and market you, your company, and your products.

You even read about how you can make money simply by writing about stuff you love to write about using PayPerPost, Amazon and other affiliate programs, and Google’s Adsense advertising. You’re ready to tackle the feat and try your hand at exceeding Shoemoney’s record Google Adsense revenue of $132,994.97.

So, where do you start?

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