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.


Personal Online and Social Media PR for business executives, professionals and public figures–a new competitive must-have

In today’s new social media and online environment, it’s more important than ever before for the executive suite to small business owner to speaking dynamo to develop and maintain online PR.  Personal public relations–as well as personal branding must beyond the general marketing or launch of a particular service or product brand.

Most new business owners and operators approach this (area) completely backwards–still expecting the company, service, brand…whatever it is to perform on its own.

On new media age, demands executive, business and even political leaders to take the necessary steps to be more in front of consumers and other businesses on a daily basis.  The social media channels and search engines have given business leaders a golden opportunity to get in front of their audience at a much faster pace (over the typical press/media briefing,  print article or even television interviews–not to mention the basic business letter).

Putting a consistent online Personal PR strategy in place along with up-to-date personal branding  is a must-have for just about every executive business manager, leader or owner.

Online Personal Professional PR must include the following to establish and continue to establish the company or brand’s credibility and general PR:

  1. Building a strong online social network audience (target following – in networks that matter to the business/industry)
  2. Creating a strategy that will cultivate followers (SEO development and online network updates to utilizing e-mail, press releases, articles)
  3. Engaging with the targeted audience  (listening and responding)
  4. Sharing knowledge (Pay-it-Forward and “think like Oprah”)
  5. Keeping an audience “glued” to the company brand from a reality perspective–tell quick stories, ask questions (good example: Michael Dell http://twitter.com/MichaelDell)

Naturally this concept is very new, it won’t happen overnight. But personal professional PR (on and off-line) is the wave of the future. Those who are partaking now (even in baby steps) are certainly way ahead of the marketing game.


The whole personal branding concept is really more about creating better Personal PR

YES! Personal Branding is really MORE about creating relationships with an authentic expression of who you REALLY are, as personal branding expert, Sally Hogshead proclaims in her post: http://ow.ly/64ALj.

According to Hogshead:

Your “personal brand” is based on the impression you want to create. It’s about packaging yourself in a certain way to appeal to a certain audience

Your “personality brand” is based on who you actually are. It’s about identifying and expressing your unique personality strengths, so that you can express those true strengths in a way that connects and communicate.

In today’s up-close-and-personal world, a great Personal Brand is what is supposed to help “sell you” to your audience.  But if you think about it, a personal brand is static (for the most part). It’s really the creation of consistent Personal PR (depending on the reality of one’s profession/situation that can be created from online thought leadership to mainstream press/media) that will move people to engage within the reality of a current situation.

We need to move away from the  personal branding bandwagon and concentrate more so on the building of a better Personal PR (which I might add, includes PERSONAL BRANDING) to continually be able to build (new) and maintain professional business relationships and or career and professional movement.


Is public relations a recession-proof industry? Certainly not…

Is public relations a recession-proof industry?

YES! Says Gil Rudawsky (follow on Twitter @gilcommedia), Crisis Communications Strategist at GroundFloor Media, blogger, PRDaily contributor, writes: It used to be that when the financial markets dragged down the economy and corporate bottom lines, public relations budgets topped the list of spending cutback targets.

These days, even as the swooning markets erode consumer spending, there’s potent optimism that PR budgets will remain intact—and possibly even grow. The proof comes down to 10 years of ups and downs and, through it all, an expanding, almost recession-resistant PR industry.

In a nutshell, he says (and I agree 100%!), …PR delivers cost-effective results compared to advertising and marketing.

This is an informative and “classic” piece that every PR person and anyone looking to hire a Public Relations profession or firm definitely needs to read and re-read from time to time! >Article here.


Contribution is one aspect of social media that has never seen a downturn…

Toshal ShenaiMedia Planner (Digital) at Madison Media Bangalore, and a self-proclaimed newbie in the world of Social Media has said it just right:

The Social Media Landscape is broad. Sharing, Discussions, Networking, Media, Blogging, Microblogging, Live Stream, Live-cast, Virtual World, Gaming, Multi-player games, Music, Video, Podcast, Review, Social Bookmarking, and Wiki. This is just a list of the beginning of social media. What started as e-mails, groups, and messenger, has now widened its scope, reach, depth, richness, interactivity, and quality. The most challenging aspect of Social Media today is the way participation needs to be moderated, and a promotion of better quality content.  Read more

Need to add the concept of Social Media PR… social media is a channel of media (a.k.a. NEW media) thus driving public relations and publicity is a huge part of the contribution side.


Investor Relations and Social Media

Investor Relations and Social Media: Together at Last!

According to Dave Hogan, APR, who teaches public relations at Abilene Christian University and serves as director of investor relations and corporate communications for First Financial Bankshares, Inc., Investor Relations departments have been notoriously slow to embrace social media compared with other sectors of public relations and marketing, but that may be changing as new social media channels emerge that seem better suited to investor relations needs than popular consumer-facing sites such as Facebook.

Read more > http://ow.ly/5Z9n5

Follow Dave Hogan on Twitter or view his profile on LinkedIn