Posts Tagged ‘ social media ’

Affinity Groups and Social Media

In this day and age, social media is running through the veins of not only our personal life, but our businesses as well. Half a decade ago, I don’t know what was more painful…having a tooth pulled or getting a client to agree on a social media plan. That was after, of course, we went through the education process of why a social media plan is important. Now there are websites dedicated to finding your next job position with exciting titles like: “Social Media Manager”, “Social Marketing Manager” and even “Social Media Analyst”. In some cases, these positions even make-up the team of an entire department within a company.

So how is this changing “the game” and how does the interaction take place? We’re glad you asked! Correct us if we are wrong (and please feel free to comment on our Facebook page), but there appears to be a shift happening: moving from a “macro” approach to a more personal “micro” connection…also known as affinity groups. But my dear writer, what do you mean? Glad you asked so we didn’t end the white paper there!

Facebook – Full speed micro!

Facebook is all about friends/“likes” and how to keep connected. This holds true for individuals and businesses as well. Now, for example, we have your average individual on Facebook. They are infatuated with their Miniature Poodle, Miss Fru Fru. This individual could create a page to share their love of dogs or they could even create a page to show their love for Miniature Poodles. This individual chooses neither of these. They choose to create a page specifically for Miss Fru Fru, share it with everyone the dog may or may not have come in contact with, and to show off her amazing lion cut that more than likely completely embarrasses this dog, but still generates the “Awwww” reaction upon passing glances. Along with this, a Twitter account is set up so that Miss Fru Fru can tweet about the amazing nap she just had and how her owners will never find her secret stash of hidden socks she keeps lifting from the laundry basket. This may be diving a little too far into it, but the point stays the same: affinity groups are quickly on the rise within the realm of social media.

Why go through all that trouble? This allows people to connect not just with a type of animal or even specific breed, but on a much more personal, one-on-one level and gather like-minded people together. This applies to advertising and marketing as well. When placing an ad or trying to reach a certain market, you want to get the most out of your budget. You want to have your target clearly defined and connect with them. This can be done through social media. The Hilton Hotels have seized this great opportunity and offer a multitude of Facebook pages for specific Hilton locations, encouraging guests to post pictures and updates from their stay there, forming a company location affinity group.

A little blue birdie sending love and keeping you connected

Another company that is a prime player in the social media realm is JetBlue. JetBlue has been known to respond to most tweets about them in a fairly quick fashion. From tweets about missing sunglasses, issues with confirmation numbers and even as far as responding back with a “we love you too” comment here and there, JetBlue stays connected with its clients through social media by utilizing Twitter’s potential to the fullest. Now granted, JetBlue can’t get to every tweet, but they have a great track record of allowing their customers to feel appreciated individually through personal responses, and not just a tweet blast to the masses stating their apologies. Connections like this will continue to keep their customers happy and loyal.

Current research shows that the top-three social media sites businesses engage in are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you are new to the social media arena, we recommend you have a social media plan that includes a strategy, rules and guidelines your employees must adhere to and someone on your staff dedicating a minimum of 3 to 5 hours a week to keep everything current.

So if you ever catch yourself wondering what Social Media can do for you, then ask yourself, “How connected are we with our clients/customers and how can we build a better connection to shift to a more personal level?”

By Cheryl Parker/evok and Gerald Rollason/Mindspot

How to Be Worth a Journalist’s Time

Public Relations (PR), at its core, is a special type of communication used to gain earned media in broadcast, print and online channels. When proven professionals are leading the charge, PR is an invaluable component of any full-service agency and a crucial element to an organization’s professional engagement. At times, it can make or break campaigns and is often the best resource in times of crisis, lending itself to third-party credibility.

Many companies develop their own PR in house, some by typing up random contact lists for journalists at publications they’ve never read and sending out press releases through email blasts. Remember, it takes grit to harness the power of persuasion and finesse to win someone over.

To get your news published, you must be worth a journalist’s time. Here are a few pointers when considering taking on the public relations role internally.

  • It’s more time consuming and costly than you’d think. Even a mid-sized company with a 60 +/- employees and a marketing department of less than five, could spend $75,000 +/- per year in salary, benefits and overhead in a mid-sized market, plus approximately $1,000/mo. in management software such as Cision or Vocus, if done right.
  • Personalize – That means no more email blasts. Each email, letter or fax  sent needs to be personalized to the receiving journalist. Get to know their position, what they write about, and take the time to read some of their recent articles to get to know their writing style. Become a resource to the journalists, not a spammer.
  • Be worthy – If you don’t read their publication, your company probably doesn’t deserve to be in it. When corresponding with journalists, show that you know their publication and understand its value.
  • Know their and your audience – Even though many companies can’t accurately pinpoint their audience’s ethnography, the extra effort will need to be made if you want to do your own PR. Does your audience align with viewers of a particular news program or readers of a particular magazine? How do they consumer it? When? Where? Know where your audience is and take the steps to reach them “where they live.”
  • Foster a good relationship – Ruining a relationship can be easier than you may believe. In some cases, all you have to do is refer to your journalist contact by the wrong name, send them something of non-interest to their audience, fax a news release to the wrong department, misspell a word or pester to see if your release was published – and presto, you may have just lost a contact. Their time is very limited, and they look to seasoned professionals to focus the message, especially since the inundation of social media.

Although the pointers above are not inclusive of all that you’ll encounter, it’s time to move on to “your” story. Even if you have the perfect journalist at the perfect publication, do you have the perfect story? Don’t miss the mark.

  • Impact – The facts and events that have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people are, simply, the most noteworthy. Include numbers, indisputable facts and figures in your release. Without a tangible frame of reference for the media’s readership, the context may not be fully recognized by the journalist gatekeeper. They want to write about what their readers want to read. Demand is supply.
  • Timeliness – Events that happen recently are more noteworthy. Newspapers are already competing for readership with electronic media, so know when their deadlines are and work to be in front of them with a timely story, not last week’s news.
  • Proximity – Events that happen near the readers or viewers are generally more interesting. Again, context. The reader or viewer has to see or feel the impact of the release, or it may not be newsworthy.
  • Relevancy –Attempt to find a common thread between your company’s news and a current issue. A little hint is to look in the national publications and find a local angle for your company.
  • Human Interest – Stories that play to human emotions may be noteworthy. Remember to target only those writers who have written human interest stories in the past and follow their style.

Public relations is an investment that can yield significant results, yet is often the first to be cut from a marketing budget and taken “in house”–unhealthy for the organization. “Hey doctor, … cut right here?”