CEOs who aren’t using social media are doing their organizations a massive disservice.

What a title for a blog post – in my line of work, it better amount to some SEO for myself or else. No, I do not right a lot (these days) on my blog. Too busy running blogs and social media networks/campaigns for my clients, but I HAD to take a time out today to share this one “theme” again! This article (post) on Ragan.com, one of my regular daily go-tos for all the latest PR/Marketing news, says it all:

Study: CEOs aren’t using social media to full potential
CEO.com and analytics firm Domo found that more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 chief executives have no social media presence at all.
By Matt Wilson | Posted: September 9, 2014

CEOStudy_jpg_600x0Among Fortune 500 chief executives, only one, Mark Zuckerberg, is on all five major social networks. It probably helps that he invented one of them.

About 68 percent of the other CEOs have no social media presence at all, according to new research from CEO.com and business analytics firm Domo. Of the 162 chief execs who do have social media presences, 110 are only on one social network.

Read the rest of the study/article >here.

If you follow me on social media or this blog, you know I write about this “growing issue” a lot and have been preaching this since the dawn of social media (2003). Lots of CEOs and other C-suite professionals have heard my cry and have allowed me to help them become and remain more visible on social (and digital in general) media. In my opinion, this “push-back” so to speak is more so about having the time and the ability to do what it takes to be successful with social media. There are way too many people out there trying to push all of these fancy options for these executive leaders. It’s overwhelming! And do their corporate marketing or even outsourced PR firms handle all a CEO or any C-suiter for that matter, ON SOCIAL MEDIA. 99% OF THE TIME = NO. But, well its social media and everyone should know how to navigate it and use it right? NO!

Most CEOs leave the marketing and PR to other people in the organization they operate, but then it is assume that they have to handle their own social media outreach. Well, I am here to tell you the do not have to! Most of the guys and gals who are super active on social media DON’T handle themselves on social media (just like they don’t handle themselves on a red carpet or on a press-media junket). Social media IS media, media is media. Don’t go at it alone and especially if you run a Fortune 1000, 500 or 1 company…even a small, under 50M company. BUT a C-suite leader can’t just NOT be present online – like the article says, CEOs who aren’t are doing their organizations a massive disservice. Not to mention an under represented image as it applies to the company – in the ever-growing digital media space.

And Obviously, it’s about having a certain style out there in the biz world (as I always say, not everyone can be a Richard Branson or Bill Gates or even Donald Trump) on social media. Strong and Silent can work, as can Loud and Clear – it’s about being yourself and being real and approachable. Being active on social media is more than just about how much you say, it’s also a lot about what you do (or don’t do).

I think, I can safely say, that I know how to “lead (executives) into the light”… of being present on social (and yes, ALL of digital) media. Here are some fo the articles I’ve written “in this flavor” over the last few years:

Why your managing partners need to be on social media

Come out from behind the brand and start operating like Sir Richard Branson…

Is outsourcing social media right for you?

reputationRemember when it comes to personal or business promotion: There is no such thing as social media marketing, it’s called being able to market and promote (publicize) on social media. Further more, social media was built for humans to connect with other humans (do the math). Executive leaders will serve their organizations well if there are open to connecting and allowing others to approach and get to know them via social media. Press and media outlets also do most of their research (looking for sources, comments and so forth) online and via social media. And when a CEO is mentioned in a mainstream media article or interviewed on the air, etc. It’s important to have the online presence up and running for those instances as well. At the end of the day, all of that in combination could play out well for the organization as a whole. Putting someone in one’s corner to manage of all that on one’s behalf just may be the key to getting more CEOs (C-suite)


Is outsourcing social media right for you?

Originally published on the Jaffe PR Blog on Jan 22, 2014. Jaffe PR is a complete Public Reputation resource, devoted primarily to law firms, legal associations and vendors to the legal market. Legal Brand Journalism™, including media relations and content development, is at the heart of our work for clients.

Outsource social media activities

As we all know by now, a vast majority of today’s professionals are active on a multitude of social media networks — for personal and, with increasing frequency, business purposes. What was once considered a new phenomenon in the legal industry — being present and active on social (digital) media — is fast becoming a “must-do” for attorneys (and, I’d like to add, for just about every high-profile professional, executive leader or entrepreneur).

Yes! It’s important, if not more important, for law firm attorneys (again “the above mentioned” types of business professionals) to also “show up” online.

Read the article here (click over to): Jaffe PR Blog Continue reading “Is outsourcing social media right for you?” »


How to fashion a successful digital content strategy

Originally posted in Smart Blogs
By Sarah Lynch on January 21st, 2014

Choosing the right content to post on social media is a bit like picking the right outfit each morning. To be successful you need to have a strategy, shop around for the best quality pieces and accumulate a tidy collection.

Like matching a good shirt with the right pants, pairing the best piece of content with the most fitting social platform hangs on three important factors:

-Where you are headed as a brand
-What you want to achieve
-The needs of your audience

Shop around
Dressing your social channels with the right content necessitates careful planning and coordination. The ease and efficiency of sharing across multiple platforms has resulted in many brands slipping into the classic social fallacy: If it works well on one platform it will work well on every platform.

Repurposing content across all your social profiles is the fastest way for your brand to experience a plateau in customer engagement and a significant drop in conversion rates.

What to wear
Social platforms have been purpose-built to attract users for very different reasons. Content that is well-liked on Facebook, for example, could be a total disaster on Twitter. Tailoring the right content to the appropriate platform is essential to your brand’s success on social media.

Twitter
The little black dress of your marketing cache, Twitter is the most versatile item in your social wardrobe. Twitter audiences are notoriously fickle and demand targeted, varied and engaging branding. In order to keep your audience pinned to your brand’s page, it is critical to style tweets that are:

-Clear and concise
-Simple
-Varied
-Powerful
-Reflective of your brand identity

Combine fun business tweets with tips and tricks, links to interesting sites or articles, inspirational quotes, and links to original blogs posts.

Avoid posting the same tweets too often. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit two days in a row, so don’t expect your audience to be thrilled about seeing the same content recycled regularly.

Facebook
The eye-catching summer dress of your social ensemble, Facebook is an inherently visual tool. To delight Facebook audiences, cloak posts in high-resolution pictures and videos. Maintaining high audience engagement is as simple as:

-Raising the hemline on posts by keeping them between 100-250 characters long. This approach garners 60% more engagement from audiences than longer posts.

-Clothe images and videos with a clever tagline or hashtag

-Fold opinion-based questions and fill-in-the-blank updates into your daily strategy

Package posts with an interactive-fashion focus of fun-over-form. Competitions and giveaways are the main reasons why Facebook audiences follow brand pages, so keep your content light and entertaining.

Google+
The dress suit that rounds out your brand’s social media collection, Google+ audiences favor quality content over quantity. Where Twitter followers appreciate short-form instant gratification and Facebook fans enjoy visual stimulation, the Google+ community has shown a strong preference for informative and helpful content.

More than any other platform, keeping your Google+ community engaged requires:
Donning unique, novel and informative content to your brand page that avoids pushing a covert marketing agenda. Google+ users react strongly to brands they believe are inauthentic.
Adorning your brand’s Google+ page with 5-second GIFS as a snapshot of what your brand can do. Google+ is the only major social media channel that allows GIFS to be placed directly into your audience’s stream.

The perfect post
These days the biggest digital fashion faux pas is to repurpose the same content across other brand platforms. If your customers follow you on more than one channel, they will quickly tire of your content and, by proxy, the product or service your brand represents.

For dynamic businesses it is critical to tailor all online interaction to the personality of the audience who occupies each social space. This approach will not only gratify customers on multiple levels, but also leave them hanging out for more.

Sarah Lynch is a freelance writer and content manager based in Sydney, Australia. To hear more musings from Sarah, you can follow her on Twitter.


Social Media and ROI: What Should You Expect? It depends.

Gaining ground within social media and digital/Web channels has to do with content and thought leadership. The more quality content you can generate, the more you (or your company) will be seen, heard, and followed. Add to this a high “engagement factor” (the amount of responding, sharing, that you and your followers engage in) then you are most likely on your way to a good Return on Investment (“ROI”).

That said, if you were to outright ask me, “What’s my return on investment going to look like?” I would be hard pressed to give you a number. Every client and every situation is different, from the industry or niche you operate in, to your reasons for wanting to engage in social media, to how involved and active you can or want to be.

Many of my clients come to me because they . . .

• Have little experience in social media, other than the occasional Facebook post or like, and simply don’t know where or how to start
• Don’t feel they have the time necessary to dedicate to beefing up their social media and digital presence
• Don’t know what’s reasonable to expect in return for their efforts.

Getting started and making the time are easy to address. Social media (at least how we know it as today) has been around in a big way since 2007. There’s history, there’s precedent, and there are clear do’s and don’ts. As for what’s reasonable to expect for a return on your investment . . . it depends.

With Social Media, ROI doesn’t show up as easily it does with direct marketing or advertising, where there’s a clear target and a beginning, middle, and end to a campaign. Measuring Social Media ROI is more complex, especially when Social Media is done in concert with other, more-traditional marketing efforts.

While I can clearly measure the exposure my clients get through various Social Media and Web channels—such as the number of tweets, LinkedIn shares, or Facebook posts; the number of new followers or connections; or an uptick in likes, Web traffic, and new subscribes—I can’t for certain quantify if Social Media alone is generating more sales. It’s simply impossible for me to link every client’s sale/new client acquisition to what ultimately influenced a customer to buy (unless I do a customer survey, of course, but that’s a whole other topic!). Most likely, there is no one thing that made it happen. Most likely, it’s a combination of various efforts made by my clients, including Social Media.

Social Media can go a long way to getting customers interested and to the “table,” but sealing the deal also relies on your customer/prospect’s emotional connection to your product or service, together with pricing and delivery. Is your product or service what the prospect wants? Is it what the prospect thinks he or she needs? And are you the one to provide it?

Ultimately, TV, Radio, Print, Social Media, the Web, and what you get out of your efforts with each of these mediums, is all about communication and approach. Just as most people wouldn’t produce their own TV or radio spots to sell a product or service, Social Media really should be viewed no differently—especially by busy executives and business owners who are running their companies and don’t have the time, the inclination, or the experience to optimize Social Media as a branding and messaging tool.


Oh where, Oh where have I been (on this blog)?

As a publicity producer in the social (and traditional) media space for individuals (on a personal level) and businesses as well as other agencies, I get into “busy spurts” creating and managing content for my clients and have a hard time finding the time to write for my OWN content for this blog!

I must say, that tweeting and micro-blogging (broadcasting thought leadership/sharing content) is my cup of tea more so. It’s quick easy and a great way to build a following. However, content curation in the form of blog posts is still so important when it comes to developing “web visibility” (as I like to call it) or SEO.

Did you know that blogging alone can lead to opportunities that a regular website never could! Someone will need your product or services and will go to Google (or Bing or Yahoo etc.) to search for it, your blog  can help win that search! The more you put into the blog (content) the higher up the search engines you go (“gulp” I need to pay attention to my own advice right?).

If that’s not enough of a reason, here are some additional reasons to have a blog (I pulled these tips from my one of my trusted vendors, Vocus):

You also get to include a heck of a lot more content and information: Twitter is limited to 140 characters (and that includes spaces!). So you do not have worry about changing pages or bringing in a web designer every time you want to add or change something in regards to your web content!

  • A Business or personal (professional) blog helps you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. We publicists now also call this Brand Journalism.Tip! If you are NOT a writer, hire a writer, editor or publicist (someone to help!). I ask my clients to write down some rough copy (some do write!) or thoughts and ideas and my team and I then polish up the piece as well as add back links to other posts/articles that are aligned with the article’s content (another way to pull more traffic to your blog site).Note!  Some of my clients have blogs that are dedicated to reporting news on their projects (i.e. construction companies), while others contribute to thought leadership oriented blogs that support their online personal or corporate brand visibility.

Next step then is to share/broadcast your blog content and or thought leadership (and this must happen more than a just one or two times) within social media channels. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. can definitely help “spread the news!”


Time to Defeat the Social Media Skeptics? YES!

Yahoo News March 14, 2012:

For those trying to get a social media campaign going in their company, they’ll often have to deal with naysayers that question the value. Behind the Brand’s Brian Elliott interviews Former Kodak CMO Jeff Hayzlett — who says dealing with the non-believer is all part of “running the gauntlet.”

Hayzlett spoke with Bryan Elliott on Behind the Brand.tv about what it takes to engage audiences, and how to explain to those number crunchers that social is valuable. For one, he said talking about return on investment is overhyped.

[More from Mashable: Announcing a Live Chat With Hootsuite Founder Ryan Holmes]

“I say to them, ‘What’s your return on ignoring?'” Hayzlett said. “If you’re engaged with your customers, and you have an operation that is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, then you’re going to make money.”

Hayzlett said at this point, not engaging via social media is just a way to lose money. He broke down his social media strategy, calling it “the four E’s.”

“Get engaged, start doing it. Start being your own Chief Listening Officer,” Hayzlett said. “When you educate people about your product, they get excited, and then start to evangelize by becoming brand ambassadors.”

Watch Part 2 with Brian and Jeff on http://behindthebrand.tv/


All-in with Social Media Yet? It depends …(right?)

Does social media really work? 

As a public relations professional and social media PR producer/manager, I get asked that question all the time, especially as companies big and small and individuals from all sorts of industries and professions jump aboard the social media bandwagon. (It’s as though someone’s built the better mousetrap . . . and everyone wants in).

Of course social media “works,” but what that means varies by business and by individual. It really comes down to the results you desire and your audience. Just because you think social media is a great idea, doesn’t mean they do.

Can social media raise awareness of your company or personal brand?

As a long-term strategy, that’s a big “yes” on both accounts. Of course, you have to work at it, you have to generate quality content, and you have to be vigilant. But the ease with which you can push out posts and blogs and tweets makes social media a natural for creating “buzz” about you and your products or services and for keeping the volume cranked up to a healthy “11.” Plus, it doesn’t cost much to get your feet wet (though I will argue that you get what you pay for: getting your feet wet is quite a stretch from realizing social media’s maximum benefit for your business).

Having said all that, you might feel tempted to toss all of your eggs into the social media basket. Not so fast . . . hear me out.

Despite all that’s been said about it, Social media is not the cure for your every marketing ill. It’s important. It’s powerful. It’s far-reaching. But, really, social media is just another “channel”—a very robust, new, and exciting channel, mind you—through which you can reach out to customers and prospects with relative ease.

Remember when cable TV exploded in the 1980s and 1990s, adding a whole universe of additional niche markets to mine? We didn’t simply drop our traditional TV, print, or radio marketing back then did we? No. At the time, cable TV simply represented another tool in our marketing tool box, one we needed to work with, learn, and “try out” to see how we could use it most effectively. Such is the case nowadays with social media.

For some, social media might comprise the bulk of their marketing efforts; for others, it may be nothing more than an afterthought, a “nice-to-have” but not a necessity. As a business owner or a business professional looking to increase your brand awareness, you need to consider whether social media can produce the kind of return on investment necessary to justify the amount of attention and resources you give it—just as you would with any other marketing tool. How you deploy social media boils down to your target audience, your product or service, and what you determine is the most effective way to reach out and engage your customers and prospects.

  • As an individual, how much time can you dedicate to creating and pushing out the content needed to position you or your company as a thought leader?
  • If you don’t have the time, do you have the resources to hire someone else to execute a social media strategy for you?
  • Once engaged in social media, how can you turn social media traffic into real sales? Getting fans or having someone tag you in a photo is one thing—it means you’ve been noticed—but how can you translate that into new business?
  • What ways can you convert social media traffic into sales traffic . . . or at least bona fide leads?

If these considerations seem vaguely familiar, it’s because they also can be applied to traditional media. Running an ad? What’s your call to call-to-action? Staging an event, what kind of time and resources can you dedicate to it?

You see, social media is really an additional way for prospects to engage in a dialogue with you. Ultimately, you still need to convert them into customers.

For sure, social media needs to be part of the 21st century marketing mix, right alongside the tried and true plus other new media that might be coming down the pike (whatever that might be!). But relying on social media to be your sole means for connecting with your target audience, at the exclusion or the downplaying of everything else, is risky business. Although, yes, it can work for some.  As I look back over the last few years (especially!), social media PR has worked for me quite well, but then again—I’ve paired social media alongside email marketing and old fashioned networking (channels).

I’ve seen many companies and individuals go “all-in” with social media, only to find that it’s not the end all/be all they thought it was—at least not in the short-term. Social media is a great way to increase your visibility over time through consistent blogging and frequent updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites—but getting customers and prospects to buy something from you still takes good old fashion legwork, quality leads, and the ability to deliver on your brand promise . . . and there’s no substitute for that.


Social Media Publicity vs. Social Media PR

I have decided that I am a true “micro-blogger”—not a  blogger.  Obviously (AS YOU CAN SEE), I do not post a lot on this blog.  This is mainly due to the fact that I am a “PR producer” first and foremost. My thought leadership (and opinion) usually happens in quick bursts (not in long article format)—throughout the day as I am working on other people’s PR strategy and tactical management. I’d rather update or tweet—I am, as they say, obsessed with Twitter anyway so it works for me along with Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Foursquare you name it. However, I do like to talk so blogging will still come out of me from time to time (including Blog Talk Radio – I have a program there as well – time to get back to Blog Talking!). I work with a lot of writers in my agency, so they also help the creative juices to flow out of me on the blogging end… or at least I will press them to do so more often!

A lot of my clients do like to write blogs (I love to edit so that must get my blogger side fulfilled?). Some of my client’s blog mostly due to me pushing them to do so, but I really only push the ones that I think have that certain “blogger mindset.”  Blogging is a great form of social media PR and excellent for search engine placement/optimization (link building).

Some of my clients have PPC ad campaigns already running upon hiring us. We usually  wean some of them off of these (this is not PR for one thing) once we are able to build a better social media PR strategy for them and get a leg up on daily tactical placement and management.  We usually can get page ranks up much higher or equal to that of their PPC ads on the organic end within the first 90 days we begin working with them. Organic Social Media PR is what I LOVE to go for on a continued basis. Yet, most people don’t realize that this takes work, dedication and constant engagement. So many clients tend to look at PR in the same way as advertising or marketing and tend just want to hand it all over and never without saying a word. Social Media PR, in particular, can’t work that way.  Hiring a PR firm also means letting go.

I just re-read a short blog post by Seth Gordon (circa 2009): The difference between PR and publicity.

He wrote:

Publicity is the act of getting ink. Publicity is getting unpaid media to pay attention, write you up, point to you, run a picture, make a commotion… Publicity is not PR. ….PR is the strategic crafting of your story. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people talk about you.

Read the whole post (it’s not long), but he goes on to say:

In my experience, a few people have a publicity problem, but almost everyone has a PR problem. You need to solve that one first. And you probably won’t accomplish that if you hire a publicity firm and don’t even give them the freedom and access they need to work with you on your story.

AGREED SETH, AGREED. Thank you for making that clear—albeit two years ago, it still holds true today!

Now, here’s my re-examination of his (very to-the-point) explanation of the difference between publicity and PR as it pertains Social Media–since, again I do and always have been of the opinion that Social Media PR is/should be included in on the “traditional definition” of PR:

Social Media Publicity is the act of getting ink. Social Media Publicity is getting unpaid media (as people who read you beyond your ppc or banner ads) to pay attention, write about you, point to/share your thought leadership, run a picture, make a commotion… On the other hand, Social media PR is the strategic crafting of your story.

Social Media PR is the focused examination of your interactions, tactics, products and pricing that, when combined, determine what, why and how people talk about you (or your company/business, etc.). You need Social Media PR strategy to get PUBLICITY.

Few people have a social media publicity problem (as long as they “speak up” online they have publicity), but almost everyone has a social media PR problem (once again, key words are not the end all, but a very small part of the social media PR equation). You need to solve that one first—that is–your Social Media PR problem. You probably won’t accomplish your social media PR goals if you do not hire a publicity firm* and you don’t give them the freedom and access they need to work with you to develop and execute your best social media strategy. Everyone should strive for lasting social media publicity. Yes key words are fine, but once you get them to “click over” what are you going to do to get them to stay and talk to you or about you?

* This does not include social media coaches, SEO or PPC experts—PR strategists and tactical managers all offer all of this expertise on top of everything else. If you  want to hire a PPC or SEO expert that’s fine, but just don’t leave out the PR expert who knows both traditional and social media PR.


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…