Social Media/Online PR for Business Promotion–Don’t Try This at Home…

…if you don’t have the time or experience to produce and manage it (best to leave it to the traditional promoters and publicists of the world).

Online/Social Media is the reality of our world these days–it truly is “new media channel” for personal and business PR, promotion, marketing and advertising. It has also become one of the best new tools for job search and recruiting.

There is absolutely no shortage of social media coaches, seminars and books on this new hot topic. However, these particular platforms can usually only provide a short-term solution or even simply overwhelm those who are new to social and online media production and management. Unfortunately the real work comes into play after the meetings and workshops are over! Social media strategy is one thing, but the implementation and management of it all is a whole other job in itself.

While many companies are slowly embracing this fact (hiring social media managers to work alongside marketing management), most business people may not think of outsourcing this new and very constant personal professional business task!  If you think about it, this type of service may not be so much of a luxury these days, but really MORE of a necessity especially for busy professionals who know they need to be more in tune with their personal online PR and reputation management and who do not have the ability or time to concentrate on it all–above and beyond their core business tasks.

I recently commented on a very good blog post by a “social media expert” who wrote about the five key success points of social media management (or something along those lines). While I agreed with most of what she wrote about, I did not agree with her in regards to the fact that since social media should be handled personally by the person or business that chooses to participate in this new media channel. I commented to her (on the blog) that this “rule” of social media production and management should not always be the case—and for the majority of people who are using online or new media to promote their personal professional brand, service or products.

Social media is no different from traditional media and if you want it to work and provide the best results (ROI), you better have a background in PR or marketing, the experience and ability to produce creative and engaging collateral, the ability to handle crisis management issues (that happens more and more now with new media being so wide open) and the time to manage it all on a consistent basis—or it will absolutely do NOTHING for your personal brand or business.

It’s a shame that there people out there getting other people to believe that a quick seminar or coaching session will help them learn how to be more in synch, and in tune with social media (for their own professional or business brand) and that just because “social media” is based in such an open type of forum (over traditional media), that they MUST produce and manage it all on their own. Even Reality T.V. programs are produced and directed by other people (kidding, but true). Just because social media is online it should not give people the license to think that they can or even should try to handle their online Personal PR initiative—and whether it’s for their own personal or business brand. If also takes a lot of time and effort and it really is a whole other job that should not be taken lightly.

With close to 25 years of PR/marketing experience, I’ve evolved my own professional/business brand into the production and management of social (new) media as it started to surge in the early 2000’s, but I also didn’t dive right into it as an expert! I slowly submerged into it. Believe it or not traditional publicists and marketers are still catching up and trying to infuse new media in with traditional practices. Then there are all the new “social media experts” who usually have limited traditional and basic PR or marketing experience—no one is an expert. Social Media or Online PR as I like to call it is NEW and things change every day–its growth is unprecedented. If anything, the expertise is really more about the ability to stay on course and change and adapt as new techniques, tools and platforms change or come into place and then continue to develop, build and manage it to ensure it creates a return on investment. The expertise falls into place from there.

Staying on top of all the learning and tasking can be overwhelming for most business people–which is why personal web/social media managers can provide a very necessary service to support business professionals in a similar manner to how most celebrity, government official and company brand personas are handled and represented on the web. I actually think that most businesses and professionals need web and social media managers even more so. Many celebrities have the down time to manage their own social media and online PR, but most do not. Being online in a professional manner is also about maintaining reputation and image—which is what a publicist or third-party should always handle as it is.


LINK BUILDING and Good Content…essential for online/personal PR results!

Too funny, I used my cool new WordPress App on my BlackBerry to write the original version of this post.  The App is great, but (1) I am not used to writing a blog post on my phone (too small of a screen?) and (2) the App is way to fast, I thought I had saved it as a draft, but it posted.  So this is the redo of the original WordPress Blackberry App post (ahhhh the power of technology…).  Okay back to what I wanted to say…

I am ALL ABOUT LINK BUILDING. Content is KING if you are looking for online marketing RESULTS.  Honestly, I have always known this… the key word, meta tag thing just old-fashioned, I mean we still need it (especially in social sites like Twitter), but it’s  really a gamble if you’re looking for search engine placement on an organic level.  Buying the key words will get you the results, but as more people start driving the price of the key words up you will need to pay more and you really don’t have to do that.  Continuing to build your CONTENT.  Think about all the other people using the same exact key words. How do you compete with that?  So the more you post up in the form of articles, blogs, tweets, press releases, photos and video the more content you create and the more votes of confidence you earn from the search engines. The more votes of confidence, the MORE you will be seen and found online. It’s pretty simple, yes, but remember that content must have merit or your audience will not remain.

I have read an incredible eBook (which will be now known as my Link Building Bible) by Back Link Building Guru, Mark Collier. His “Link Building Mastery: How to master the art of link building” provides 86 powerful link building strategies to build thousands of high quality back links to send your site to number 1 on Google (and then some). According to Mark: “Everyone knows that back links are one of the most important search engine ranking factors.” Yet again, the quality of the content is the first priority— and in my mind’s eye quality content is the baseline of online publicity, but without back links your content and your website will never be found.

The Link Building Mastery eBook is a fantastic do-it-yourself guide to will learn how to get:

* Better placement on Google
* More search engine traffic
* Direct traffic (to your website or “main hub’) from people clicking on your links
* A better online reputation
* More direct sales or interest as visitors who come from links pointing to your site are far more likely to buy from or hire you.

Get Mark’s book – a great guide, great read. Well done! If you need a good “go-to” plan, it’s a fantastic ($47) investment!

One last note: The ability to work and communicating online,  does not equate to an ability to market and promote online. This mentality drives me nuts. I drive a car, but I am not a mechanic. Follow me?  The social media “how-to” books, seminars, and coaching service are fine, but my opinion is that if you usually do not handle your own publicity, writing, marketing or promoting and/or you do not have the ability or the time to do what it takes to build and then maintain all of your web content (including websites, blogs, articles, press releases, tweets, updates/micr0 blogs) then it might be a better idea to bring in someone who knows how to connect the dots.  I’m just saying…


Social Media = NO quick fix for instant results–please give it time and stay the course to build lasting results

Social Media IS very PERSONAL (PR) in my book — and the best and easiest way to find an audience and one that you want to be following you (whether it’s one million or one hundred).  But it’s not a guarantee of total and ultimate success.  Social media, online media/PR–whatever you may refer to it as, is another (albeit) new channel of marketing, promotion and public relations.

If one more “social media guru” comes to me (or one of my clients)  with great promises and illusions of social media grandeur (remember fad diets in the 90’s –and all the  “lose 20 lbs a week” promises?) i.e.  “Sales will flock to you…” or “New Customers Guaranteed…” a  I am going to scream.  Moving publicity and marketing into a social media venue is no different from any other traditional marketing venue.

Marketing and Advertising–in the traditional sense–is never guaranteed. You need to give it time/frequency and you need to find the right messaging or offer, but even THEN you are never guaranteed that your specific campaign or ad will rake in the big numbers or the ever-loving ROI that ever marketer, business owner and CEO strives for.

Marketing/Advertising and striving to find the right Publicity venue is a commitment and it TAKES TIME to flourish.  In order to see the numbers you must invest in it and stay the course. Again, remember when people were jumping on the fad diet bandwagon – looking for quick results, but only end up stopping because the RESULT DOESN’T COME FAST ENOUGH?  The same is happening with social media and networking.  So many people jump in gung-ho and only stop when they don’t see those “promised” amazing results and ROI. Does anything in business happen in a flash of a second? Especially as it pertains to marketing and advertising? I can’t tell you how many marketing programs I put together for the organization I worked for in the late 80’s that didn’t pull in the results we wanted.  No results though meant putting the brakes on one campaign and trying another–we never stopped.

Social media/online marketing is not a magic pill that will produce results in a matter of months or even years. It’s NEW media–we are all still LEARNING how to use it!   I wish all the Social Media guru sales people out there would just stop promising buyers things that they cannot guarantee. Yes, they may pull in the sale, but in the end (after about 2 or 3 months) the  “promised result time” comes along and their new customers throw up their hands in disgust and throw fireballs at the Social Media Gurus and Social Media itself (makes my life hell).

Come on!? Does the LA Times promise a “Guaranteed ROI” on the $250,000.00 ad they may sell to Disney or Pepsi?  No,  I don’t think so. So why then is social media production sold with so many false promises and  guarantees of great results? Drives me NUTS.

There is MUCH more to social media then the perfect Key Words or “Call to Action.” Can you ever do that? Really? Think about it…

For instance, I just got this bit of jargon in my in-box today (they wanted me to “take a look at what they can offer my company”–do they read?):  We will create a presence for you {on the social networks} that delivers new customers and sales. Each one will be built around a strong call-to-action and will be professionally designed so that the first impression is a lasting one. All three will also be optimized for search within each network. This means that when someone does a search, you will be coming up in the top results.

While I cannot  say a lot about their whole approach to social media production and management, but who has the right to proclaim that they will “deliver new customers”?

Social media is an investment that has really no guarantee unless you stay the course and continue to build your audience and shape your messaging.  Take the time to figure out what works for you (personally) or your company because there is no cookie-cutter formula, but there are some basic things you can do that are generic to every social media campaign/strategy.

Stay the course and devote time to your social media plan, try different things, stay with things that work,  and don’t expect it to ever become automated or viral either.  Sadly the things you see and hear about viral marketing campaigns are not as ordinary as most people would like to think (kind of like winning the lottery – well maybe not that low of odds, but close).

Think back to our traditional PR/Marketing days–and those traditional strategies we still use to this day.  The ROI on a print mailing is usually about 2-3%.   So why, pray tell, does everyone expect social media to be any better or different?  Sure the hits will look like a higher ROI many times, but in the end isn’t it all about the balance in your bank account? Again, there is no quick fix, but give it time and your bank account will benefit if you stay the course because we have only just started!


Social Media for Executives – Dip a Toe In to learn and get used to it (the water is not as cold as you think!)

Based on what I have written below, it remains to be seen who will actually find and read this post—of course I will be sending the link directly to a lot of my “would be clients” via email.  So here goes….

I just LOVE this CEO Magazine article, July 2010 (by Karen Albritton, President, Capstrat)

Social Media: Where’s the C-Suit

Albritton speaks to the EXACT CONCERNS of most of my clients/prospective clients….right along side the “should I really pay someone to help me produce and maintain my online persona and social media” (albeit less the cost of hiring a receptionist or file clerk they will probably never  see or talk too– kidding, but kind of true). She (based on research via a couple of major business publications) states that most of the concerns about engaging in Social Media (and I am assuming for the good of a personal brand or the company brand or both) generally fall into one of three categories:

1. Productivity:   The C-suite sets the tone for productivity and social media is often seen as a time drain without much benefit. Some restrict access to common social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, in part due to concerns over potential distractions for employees. Executives are often tightly scheduled during the day with meetings and obligations. Finding time to engage online is a challenge.

2. Privacy: Many executives are inundated with information and requests. They have gatekeepers screen their email and phone calls to filter out unnecessary and unwanted contact. They deal with sensitive information and have to be mindful of what information they put out in the public. Social media is all about tearing down walls, putting yourself out there and engaging. This (partaking in new media) runs counter to traditional behavior for many corporate executives.

3. Profit: A recent survey of professionals conducted by Workplace Options showed that only 16% of workers felt social media helped them with their job. While many executives understand their company’s need to have a social media strategy, there’s still a fair amount of scepticism about the value that social media can provide.

My 48 year-old CFO sister falls right into all of the above–super successful, but won’t touch Twitter, Facebook or even Linked In (she thinks they are DUMB and “just a fad”).  Then there is me, I am older and I have built my business via social media over the least several years. Why? Well I am in PR/Marketing (my sis is in Insurance so that could be the difference right there!)–I saw the power of this new media a long time ago and I realized that I had to get in on the action or I’d be left behind and forced to play catchup.  So as I started to succeed with social/online media, I started to support my clients in doing the same.  Naturally some have tried and have gotten either fearful, impatient or both.  After all leaning something new takes trial and error – and a lot of execs (especially the ones that were successful pre-internet/social media) hate that! So not everyone needs my support or wants it, that’s fine, BUT…

Albritton goes on to say that she had recently attended a CEO forum in North Caroline just prior to writing her article, and one of the most profound things she heard that entire day was a comment made by Chuck Swoboda of Cree (regarding the adoption of sustainable products — but the same applies to ANY new technology right?). He said “I decided I couldn’t serve my clients or my business if I didn’t use the technology too.”

I agree– my opinion is at least “dip your toe in” to discover and learn.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain (as an executive in business). Here are the stats:

  • In the last 7 years, Internet usage has increased 70% PER YEAR.  Spending for digital advertising this year will be more than $25 billion and surpass print advertising spending (forever)…Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI these days.
  • Naked Pizza set a one-day sales record using social media: 68% of their sales came via twitter and 85% of their new customers
  • Dell has already made over $7 million in sales via Twitter thus far.
  • 37% of Generation Y heard about the Ford Fiesta via social media BEFORE its launch. 25% of Ford’s marketing budget is spent on digital/social media.
  • 71% of companies plan to increase investments in social media by an average of 40%
  • A recentAltimeter Group study found companies that widely engage in social media surpass their peers in both revenue and profit (and I know this can also pertain to the executives that run them).

Think of TV in the 1940’s, people jumped in and some with just a “toe in” first,  but they experienced it and got used to it and well, the rest is history.  Many did “dip a toe in” at the beginning  and either helped a company grow or their own personal brand to explode and in some cases BOTH HAPPENED.  Remember Uncle Milty? (I am dating myself – I was a 1960’s baby, but I remember him… talk about a personal brand in, then, the new media).

We support our executive clients in engaging in social media producing it for them to start ( just like how it used to be when you hired an agency or in-house person to design your company brochure or advertisement collateral).  Then, yes, as Personal Publicists, we support the placement/promotion and management of the executive media channels and content (not everyone is good at writing about themselves or writing in general and this a huge part of social media, next to video and audio messaging of course).

We keep our clients on track and in action so they learn not to be fearful (of the unknown?) and to embrace our new media to their own personal advantage and or the advantage of the company brand.  My team and I are NOT experts (who is?), and while most of our clients do engage on their own (as they should), they know that they can rely on us to support them, encourage them and even help them say the right thing at the right time and place. It’s easy, as with anything new, to just throw in the towel when you aren’t seeing results at the speed of light (the internet is new and fast, but it also does not give out miracle ROIs).

As any business or executive consultant (or any successful leader) says, “success is not singular” or “it takes a village” or…you know the drill, the same applies to social media.  And while Albritton provides tips on how to start and stay involved in social media, I still say that for many busy (Baby Boomer– “I already have a business model or process in place”) executives/professional all the TIPS can be overwhelming too! Yes you need to engage and participate (it is not called social media for nothing), but sometimes it makes sense to engage with another to help you be successful.  Social media participation is not a once in a while thing (and most C-suite execs on Linked In have oh, about 10 connections), once a month or even a once a week commitment.

If it’s not in your genetic makeup (like it is mine?) to want to jump in to the social media space, then ask someone to support you to engage and make it happen!  I don’t handle the up-keep of my own front and back (h0use) yard for the very same reason, but sometimes I jump in to clip the roses, plant a plant etc.


My PR Mentor, Lynne Doll, the ultimate advocate for life leaves behind a legacy…lasting PR

On August 3, 2010 my childhood friend and long-time partner and president of The Rogers Group, Lynne Doll, passed away (link).  She was 48. While she fought hard to battle Cancer over the last three years, and won that fight, in the end she lost her life to a stroke. The stroke was most likely due to complications that came about from one or more cutting-edge cancer treatment/procedures she underwent while fighting the cancer. Those treatments were a result of Lynne being her own best advocate while battling cancer. She believed that everyone (fighting cancer or any disease for that matter) must absolutely be their own best advocate. In her opinion advocacy was the only way to win. But then again being an advocate was pretty easy for Lynne Doll to do—advocacy was in her blood–she was the ultimate advocate.

As an award wining top Los Angeles Public Relations Executive, Lynne Doll was a nationally recognized crisis communications expert. She was known for her handling of tough challenges in public relations and risk management, and was sought out by top corporations for her counsel. Lynne also directed The Rogers Group public sector practice, serving as a key strategist for several major social marketing campaigns and leading the agency to win numerous awards and national accolades for public education campaigns in the areas of health, environment, education and early childhood development.

Lynne’s passion for community involvement and volunteerism was a driving force behind the development of her agency’s Community Involvement Program, which to this day encourages staff to contribute time, talent and money to organizations in need, with support from the firm. At the time f her passing, she served on the Boards of Directors for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/los-angeles) and The DAISY Foundation (http://www.daisyfoundation.org). Previously she had also served on the national and regional Boards of Directors for the National Conference for Community and Justice, an organization that fights bigotry and racism–ultimate advocacy, need I say more?

I could go on and on about my friend Lynne Doll. She was a friend for over 45 years–our families are still fast friends to this day. While I didn’t see her a lot, she was one of those friends that you could call and talk to as if you had just seen her the day before (even during the cancer, travel, meetings, etc.). I have always admired her and truly aspired to be like her in this world of Public Relations. Lynne Doll, the PR woman, was one of those people who kind of made you feel as if you had not worked hared enough or lived your life to the fullest, but in a good and inspirational way. Let me tell you, even though this girl was busier than busy in her professional life, she still balanced all of it with a full personal life. Spending tons of time playing and traveling with her daughter, husband, three sisters, mother (her father passed after his battle with cancer about six years ago), cousins, and “her gang” of friends–there were over 300 at her Memorial on August 13th.

Needless to say “Ms. PR Doll” and my PR Mentor lived LARGE–in the midst of building her agency, serving her community, fighting cancer and advocating for life. I will miss her very much. Even though I am very sad, I can only say that I am inspired to move forth and advocate for my own clients and those who need a chance to continue to live life. This woman left a legacy and I am sure you will her more about a foundation or non-profit that will be named for Lynne Doll in the very near future. Talk about lasting Personal PR—isn’t this something we all must strive for?


Personal PR, Branding, and running a Campaign for Job Search…more important than ever before…

Okay so it’s not like running for the job of President or even Mayor, but let’s face it job search now requires creative professional personal branding, better online messaging, targeted spin, direct pitch marketing and much more.  Producing a full-fledged campaign is a not something one should take lightly– it’s now a MUST if you hope to land the right opportunity.  Of course there are never any guarantees of the exact timeline either, but the game has changed (get out of the 1990’s people!) .  Like it or not, today’s competitive business environment now requires professionals to develop and keep up a complete personal brand package and a visible digital persona as well as a robust online network and following.

You’ve probably seen all the media interviews with personal branding and social media experts as of late. Everyone’s talking about (online) personal professional branding and publicity and why it is so important to have in place due to the explosion of online networking, social media and internet search.  Not to toot my horn, but I’ve said this for YEARS!  The difference with me though is that I DO  THE WORK, while these experts give plenty of direction and advice about “how to” go about creating a personal brand and promotion program.  I am sure you can agree that most busy professionals do not have the time, desire or ability to even think about developing this on their own, let alone be able to manage it all on a somewhat consistent basis. 

Gone are the days of “being found” via a job board ad or resume post. YOU HAVE TO CAMPAIGN! If you don’t have the resources to launch a campaign, you at least have to have good online branding and messaging and key words up and consistent. Then once you’ve landed your dream job, don’t think that your brand and promotional package is something that gets tucked away in a corner. It’s very important to manage and maintain an online personal brand and promotion program to align with your company brand (so many organizations are requiring this now too) as well as to develop more business/contacts that can enhance your business and corporate positioning.

As more and more executive search professionals continue to recruit via a cloud recruiting platform (internet search/key word search), staying on top of your personal brand, messaging and campaign effort will only help you remain visible to future (job) opportunity. Hopefully our economy will get back to normal in the next few years and we’ll all be ready as companies being to hunt down talent again on a regular basis (sigh).

All that said, putting a promoter in your corner who is capable of producing and managing your personal brand and self promotion campaign is not so much luxury these days, as it is a necessity.  Yes,  Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Oprah even the President make the whole personal publicity and branding thing seem easy (well maybe for some–I think most of you GET IT), but COME ON do you really think that they stay up late at night PRODUCING and IMPLEMENTING their own personal publicity campaigns?


PERSONAL PR FOR NON-EMPLOYMENT SEEKERS: Now is NOT the time to “hunker down” and be invisible!

As any of you may or may not know, I am constantly pounding the pavement to educate professionals (all levels) on the importance of having PERSONAL PR/Web 2.0 and Personal Branding  in place now and for the entire span of one’s career!  Putting good Personal PR into place is not just for people who need to look for work, business or press. If you have not noticed, the way in which the world of business rolls these days is very different.  Just because you are WORKING does not warrant the fact that you can go underground.

I just got a wonderful note from the Editor of Execunet (this goes to a  great number of people of course) — it sets the stage and tone of my message perfectly. The issue here again, is having the time to be able to stage one’s own personal promotion when one is buried, or deeply focused, etc.  A personal publicist/promoter/producer can help create the stage and keep it in lights!

September 21, 2009

Dear Laurie:

We’re always cautioning executives not to “hunker down” at work. They also shouldn’t bend, cower, hide, kneel or crouch. But the current economic environment may make employees feel like throwing on a cloak of invisibility to avoid being noticed, believing they will escape the lay-off list.

Yet, during periods of job growth and prosperity, career planning and maintenance are often overlooked because of the perceived abundance of opportunities available.

Those who are fearful keep their head low to miss the ax; those who are busy at work have their head down in deep focus. But denial and complacency share a characteristic: inaction, which can derail a career for those who are unprepared.

Despite the recent economic instability, fewer corporate leaders feel prepared for job search than they did in years prior. According to ExecuNet’s 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, just 43 percent of executives claimed they are ready to look for a job, compared to 56 percent in 2008 and 69 percent in 2007; another 24 percent reported this year they were unsure if they are ready to look for a new position.

It could be that “prepared” seems less defined against a recessionary backdrop, and fewer executives feel confident about how to launch a job search campaign in this market. But many of the old rules still prevail, albeit with some amplification and 21st century tools:

  • Focus, define and envision what your next role looks like.
  • Create messages that communicate the problems you solve to your target audience.
  • Identify the online and offline opportunities where you can best help others.
  • Become known for your expertise so others can refer and recommend you.

Robyn Greenspan
Editor-in-Chief
ExecuNet
Robyn.Greenspan@execunet.com
295 Westport Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06851
800.637.3126

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. HSM has extended a special 2-for-1 offer to Executive Insider readers for their annual World Business Forum, held October 6 and 7 at Radio City Music Hall in NYC, featuring President Bill Clinton, George Lucas, Paul Krugman, T. Boone Pickens and many other inspirational leaders.