Pass the Bubbly

July 9, 2009

The New York Times this week published a fascinating article about the changing role of public relations in Silicon Valley. Largely a profile of Valley PR phenomenon Brooke Hammerling, it’s a sobering, exciting and at times exasperating examination of the ascendance of social media as the primary tool for getting the word out about small companies and start-ups. My favorite line in the story was, “Now the best ideas bubble up… It’s no longer, ‘if you can’t get so-and-so to do a story, you can’t make it.’.” So true.

However: My clients are concentrated largely on the consumer electronics and particularly the custom installation markets, which, even though they are tech-focused, are shockingly far behind the Valley in terms of social media usage and acceptance. Even as the staffs and titles of the print magazines dwindle, there doesn’t seem to be much that is galvanizing or compelling on the social media side of the industry. If a CEDIA Twitterati with wide followings exists, I haven’t been able to identify it yet.

What’s exciting is that because my clients’ industry is so far behind the curve, I can really help blaze a trail for them. The groundwork we lay now will pay off huge dividends going forward.

Posted by Joe Paone

Social media: You’re not notable by your absence

July 1, 2009

Lots of companies, especially smaller ones, are a little freaked out by social media. They might not fully comprehend the purpose. They may feel it is a risky, uncontrollable venture. They may view it as the domain of the young and those with too much time on their hands. They may consider it a potential time-waster, or they may not see the value in devoting money and human resources to it, especially when they can still invest money in the tried and true marketing methods they have employed for years and, in some cases, decades.

It is time for businesses of every size to throw all of these caveats out the window. A lack of participation in social media at this point is akin to a lack of a web site or e-mail. Social media offers a terrific, relatively low-cost opportunity for every sort of business that wants to build stronger, more interactive relationships with its customers and spread the good word about its products and services.

Still, admittedly, social media can be a little overwhelming. Where to start?

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I tweeted all day and didn’t get one story…

November 4, 2008

It’s easy for PR professionals to get drawn into the allure of marketing through social media. It’s fun, interactive and in most cases, instantaneous. The inifinite number of web-based opportunities where a flak can “message” about a product, event or service to potential customers is equally alluring. However, the unlimited number of potential opportunities also make it possible to spend all day blog-posting, tweeting, forum-hopping etc. without achieving any tangible results to show your client.

To better understand how social media can be used for marketing, it’s important to recognize some common myths. Fortunately, there are pioneers who have immersed themselves in social media strategy so bandwagon jumping PR folks don’t have to learn the same lessons the hard way. Social Media Consultant Jacob Morgan (Twitter – @jacobm) has one of the better programs so without further ado, here are a few of his Social Media Myths. 

He who has the most followers or friends wins

False.  Quality does not equal quantity.  Just because you have 10,000 twitter followers or facebook friends doesn’t mean the quality of your relationships is good, are you interacting with them? are you providing value?

If you create a social media profile, people will talk to you

False.  This is a big myth, a lot of people and some companies think that just by creating a facebook fan page or a twitter profile that users are going to want to talk to them, not true!  You have to work to earn trust and you have to work to earn the privilege of having your users talk to you.

It’s good to be everywhere

False.  Do you really think that if you join 100 social networks you are going to be more successful than someone who joins 3 social networks?  Join as many networks as you can maintain and when I mean maintain I mean provide value and interact with those that are engaging with you.  Join the networks that are relevant now the ones that are prevalent.

Leave comments everywhere, it’s good for SEO

False.  As someone who runs a team of technical SEOs, I hate hearing this.  Let’s think about this for a moment, Google has a whole team of phd’s (I have a few I work with) working for them, do you think that leaving a few comments with your desired anchor text is really going to propel you to the top of rankings?  There is a lot more to SEO then links, and if you really want to know more then you can e-mail me.  Leaving comments is a great idea but don’t do it for SEO, do it to add value to the conversation, that way people will want to visit your site to see what you have to say.

Social media is easy

False.  Social media is far from easy in fact I would argue that social media is probably the most difficult aspect of marketing.  Why?  Because it involves building relationships, growing communities, continuous interaction, and human emotion.  Relationships are never easy, and if you think that you can just waltz into the social media game and expect to get great results, well good luck!

Social media works is a quick strategy

False.  Social media does deliver results but if you are the type of person who asks “what can we see in one month from a social media campaign” then don’t even bother getting started because you will fail.  Social media takes time, it’s not something you can flip on and off, if it’s on, it’s on forever.  Social media is a never ending relationship building mechanism it doesn’t work on a schedule so don’t try.  Just remember, every day that goes by is another day that you could have been engaging with your users and building up your community.

Social media is free

False.  Now, there are free social media platforms out there such as facebook, wordpress, etc. but social media is far from free.  Social media requires a lot of time and commitment for it to succeed.  While you may not be paying directly for the tools (some you will pay for) you can bet that you will be paying for the time (or using your own) which in a lot of cases is more valuable then paying for a product.

Social media will make everything ok

False.  Social media is one component of a marketing strategy.  Sure, social media is the best way to build relationships with your users but you also have to think about SEO, PPC, offline events, print advertising, radio, television, email marketing, etc. (whichever apply to you).  Social media is one way to reach people it’s not the only way.  Make sure you are reaching out to your users via multiple channels to capture a broader and more targeted audience.

It’s too late to use social media

False.  If you think that it’s too late to use social media then you are probably a pessimist.  It’s not too late to use social media.  Your users and customers are always going to be out there talking about you and the sooner you begin talking to them the better off you are.  Every day you wait is another day that you could have been interacting with your customers.  Social media is still a baby but it’s taking off quickly.  Get involved ASAP.