Posts Tagged ‘social media’

PR Best Practices for Social Media at SXSWi

August 12, 2010

Each March thousands of web and digital strategists, social media “experts”, flacks (like me!), media, and many from other professions flock to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference. I attended the event last year and learned a lot.  It was a fun, overwhelming, stimulating, engaging and highly educational experience.

Upon returning home from the event, I started to think about how I might contribute to one of the sessions.  Well, with the help of some friends – I figured it out!

In March 2011 for SXSWi I hope to be part of a four-person panel with Sarah Evans, Ryan Osborn, and Jason Kintzler.  The title of the proposed panel is: Spin Doctors: PR Best Practices for Social Media.

The process to have your panel chosen to be part of the event is three-fold. And is weighted as follows:

30%            Staff Choice

30%            Crowdsource – via PanelPicker

40%            Advisory Board

To vote, log onto the PanelPicker site and register.  Registration is free and is only a few steps.  After you have confirmed your registration, please consider giving our panel a “This idea rocks”-thumbs up.  You do not have to attend the event to vote.

Thanks for your consideration.


South By

February 26, 2010

I am headed to Austin for SXSW in two short weeks. When talking to a client and friend who is also attending, I was corrected and told that “people in the know do not call it South by Southwest, rather South By.”

Ok. Clearly I have a lot to learn, this being my first time to South By, and not just about what to call the event!

Here’s what I am scheduled to do (scheduled to change without notice and often!). In addition I will be part of the PR and media focused Tweetup with Sarah Evans and PitchEngine’s Jason Kintzler. I am really excited to hear many a social media rock stars speak and share what they have learned, but my real interest in going is network with others who do what I do and learn from them.

If you are going, drop me a line or connect with me on Twitter. If you have been to “South by” before and can share some tips – bring it! I’ll be sure to post a blog upon my return about the trip highlights.

How Do You Self-Educate?

November 6, 2009

I have always been a big believer that you need to consistently be feeding your brain to be happy in life. I think most people feel that way.

When it comes to my career, I long ago realized that my education did not end when I graduated from college.  That was merely a starting point.  As a professional, I need to consistently educate myself on new trends, practices within my field, changes in business, etc., etc., etc.

Sure, in the past my employer has paid for me to attend seminars and get certifications.  The problem with most of those “educational” experiences is that you lose what you learn within six months.

When you are self-guided in your education, you are more vested. I also think that that is the turning point when your job becomes your career.  You see spending time outside of the office on this type of education as an investment in yourself.

At this point in my career I am still working at it.  At the moment I am reading and studying the ever-changing world of social media. I am also reading up on sustainable business and corporate responsibility.

What are you working on?

It’s an honor…

August 21, 2009

…to be nominated, really!

Sarah Evans (of Mashable, #journchat, and Twitter fame) started the Top 50 Tweeples to Follow on Twitter.  Now in it’s second year, this award is a “people’s choice” style award where nominations come from the community and voting is open to anyone.  The idea is that this list of 50 are the best people to follow to help other better understand Twitter and how to use it.  There are several categories.  Being nominated for this is really an honor for me as we do spend a lot of time trying to better understand social media tools and how to use them effectively in marketing and public relations.  And as with social media – sharing what you know with others in the online community is part of the gig.

You can find more details here.

You can vote and see results here.

I am delighted to see PMG clients GreenHomes America and Boloco also nominated.

Good luck to all.  Voting ends September 1st.

Talkin’ Social Media

May 28, 2009

Last week I was invited to talk about the basics of social media on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV as part of my participation in Vermont Business & Industry Expo.

As always, Mark was delightful to chat with. In case you missed it, here it is: Nicole’s Interview with Mark Johnson

Thanks again to Mark for welcoming me to the show.

If you missed the Expo video that we produced for the show, you should see it.  Izabela Socha at PMG scrambled to get this together and did a great job!  We now call her “Hollywood” – look for more from her soon!

Don’t Talk to Me!

April 29, 2009

Social media done well includes three things:

  1. Contribute to the conversation. Sure, there is a lot to be learned by reading tweets from others, but chances are you have nuggets of information that others would find incredibly valuable. Why not contribute your thoughts?
  2. Listen to your customers, critics, competitors, brand evangelists… really to everyone who has something to say about your company, brands and you! Chances are you will learn something, and better yet, you may be able to get ahead of issues.
  3. Engage. As a marketer it is easy to blast messages at your fan or follower base. This is not engagement. Engagement requires a give and take – kind of like a good relationship. If you are listening it is easy to react and engage.

It is pretty simple stuff. But, somewhere along the way we became comfortable with talking at and to rather than with people. Said that way, social media can really bring us back to basics—if you want to do it well. And with the global community that we now have access to thanks to the internet, our conversations have more reach.

Bottom line: don’t forget that social media is a conversation and requires interaction. Kind of like a dance, sometimes you lead and I follow. Other times, I lead and you follow.

Also, taking a step back and perhaps sending a note card to contacts from time to time, rather than an email, might set you apart from the crowd. A total retro move, I know, but I can guarantee you won’t get lost in the stream!

Twitter. Why Bother?

March 26, 2009

Twitter.  We have been hearing about it a lot more lately.  In fact, as a pr person I have been seeing an increased number of queries from the media asking for “experts” on Twitter – so there must be something to it, right? Ellen tweets.  And apparently Jay Leno did too for awhile.

I have blogged about it before… and here I go again!

A few of my non-marketing friends have recently dipped a toe into the Twitterverse and wonder what all the fuss is about.  Well, friends… it takes more than a week to really figure it all out.  If you are basically tweeting out what you had for dinner and how your commute went – then you are missing the bird… err, I mean boat!

Here are some quick suggestions on how to get some meaning out of your time on Twitter:

  • Search for people in your community that you want to follow. For example if I search the code #BTV (which is the airport code for Burlington, VT) I can see all of the stories that are related to people tweeting about Burlington.  This works for most other cities too.  And if there is a tweetup – go! You never know who you will meet and what sorts of handy tidbits you can pick up!  
  • Work in a specific industry? Find out if there is a virtual get together and tweet in!  I rather enjoy Monday night when there is #Journchat and have connected with many a pr and journalist there for some engaging conversation.

What you tweet about is up to you… I find that a mix of my work life and helpful or good links with a small dash of personal works best for me.  I have been able to start some great conversations and have learned a lot about topics that interest me and those that I did not know about before.

At the very least – secure your Twitter name.  Like a domain name, once it is gone – it is gone!

I came across the following tonight and thought it was hysterical.  Too bad that the writer of the clip has not realized that most people have moved past mundane tweets and have become more engaged… but it is fun to watch anyway!

Jump on in!

December 22, 2008

I came across this post on VizEdu, it is another great example of how social media works. 

These posts continue to serve as a reminder to me that social media is not something that we can control. When speaking with clients and potential clients, the questions most asked are:

  1. how quickly can we get this going? 
  2. what happens if the conversation goes in a way we would prefer it not to go?

How fast you can get your social media campaigns going will depend on how much time you have to spend signing up for accounts, “friending” or following the right people, and monitoring your brand to identify opportunities to interact. This is not something that happens overnight, though relatively speaking, your company’s foray into social media can be quick.

Well, friends, if you are going to embrace social media, you have to be ok with giving up control. Part of the viral aspect of the campaigns that you do is how you interact with your customers and how they influence others about your brand. Sure, you may have some not so wonderful things said about your company – but how you address those comments will go along way with the public.

Here are three quick suggestions for those wanting to dip a toe into the social media waters before fully committing:

  • Start small and build. It is ok to implement one or two social media tactics and master how those work before jumping into the rest.
  • Join a community that has an active dialogue about social media. This is often the best way to learn on the fly.
  • Understand what you are using. So often clients want a Facebook business page or a corporate Twitter account, but they do not use the services themselves, so they do not understand what they are looking at and how these sites work. It is valuable to understand that your blog and your micr blog can work together – you don’t have to know how if you have somebody doing this for you – but you should at the very least know what you are looking at.

The social media water is warm, come on in!


“Teeny-Boppers” Take Over the World!

November 18, 2008

The election of 2008 will never be forgotten.  And in Grafton County, New Hampshire, that day will be remembered as the day campaigning changed forever.

Vanessa Sievers, a twenty year-old, Dartmouth college student from Montana won the county treasurer position against incumbent Carol Elliott, which was a major upset.  How’d she do that? Easily.

Ms. Sievers used the power of social marketing to campaign, marketing herself to her own generation – who were already headed to the polls in record numbers to cast their vote for the 44th US President. She placed an ad on Facebook for $51 targeting students at Plymouth State and Dartmouth Colleges.  This gave her the 500-vote lead over Ms. Elliot.

Unfortunately, Ms. Elliot chose to take the low road of name calling and coming off as a sore loser. From calling college students not “real people” to calling Ms. Sievers a “teeny-bopper”, you can read all about it here and here. And even the big dogs wrote about it here.

Use of social marketing was key in the national races, but it was not used as prominently in the local races. This is one stone that was left unturned by most local candidates, which is too bad as the cost of a viral marketing campaign on a small scale can cost a candidate little to no money and can be extremely targeted.

I looked back at my state elections.  Vermont being a small state, I figured it would be relatively easy to track what had been done.  All of our candidates for governor had Facebook fan pages.

And that was about it.


If every vote counts and most of Gen Y is not reading the paper (which is a shame – Just ask Andy Rooney!), wouldn’t it make sense to use social media and marketing tools to target these voters? They are/were going to the polls anyway.

Hopefully those seeking office on a local level all the way up to a national office will do a better job of marketing themselves and where they stand on issues so that they can get their messages across to all voters. And if you are one of those candidates and you need a few tips – give my office a call… we’d be happy to walk you through a few simple tips or let you know when we are holding our next seminar (shameless plug, I know.).


Press Releases of the NOW

October 9, 2008

So I promised that my next blog would get away from social marketing and focus more on PR.  Well, I was half telling the truth!

Social media releases are kind of becoming a buzz topic in the industry.  As PR starts working more hand in hand with social marketing, and the media is crossing over its traditional lines, the way PR professionals pitch and communicate with the media is ever changing.

Wire services are offering online components for distribution of press releases.  They distribute the release both by traditional means of blasting the information out to newsrooms and now also offer a service of making your news more “social” or “viral.” PRWeb is a good example of this.  When they distribute your release they also include distribution to online news sites, like Google and Yahoo. Your news becomes searchable by being listed both on their own newsfeed site and on these online sites.  There is a cost to this, and depending on the service and distribution you choose, it can cost anywhere between $250 and $800 or more.

Pitch Engine allows you to build a social media release for free, online. PR pros are using this new to and various ways. Some are posting the information and letting it become discovered by the journalists who search the site.  Others are using it as a means of distribution.  At PMG we are using it to help distribute our information.  We build the social media release, upload the images, links, and all other information and then get the assigned URL for the release.  When pitching reporters we offer the link to them to obtain the additional information.  In our view this is valuable for the media and PR people alike, as attachments to emails can get caught in spam filters and it is just a one-stop shop for all of the information needed.  The other great feature: the quick pitch! Basically, this area has you create a 115 character pitch about the release.  Talk about useful! We can use this on Twitter, as a start to some of our email pitches… the list is endless!  Our thanks to Jason Kintzler for developing this tool.  It has changed the way we pitch and distribute our information, not to mention… we think it is really effective.

Micro-blogging your pitch can be effective – if you have the right people in your networks. This is along the line of a TwitPitch or a Quick Pitch. You boil your pitch down to 140 characters or less and post it on Twitter or in your “what are you doing” section of any social network you belong to.  Your network then and see what your news is.  Be sure to provide a link to the full release.

Sure, keeping up with it all is a bit cumbersome, but, with our ever-changing world it is necessary.  You really want to continue to reach our traditional outlets, but at the same time embrace the new media.  Keep in mind that some some “old school” outlets like the New York Times have online editions as well.  These online editions sometimes can yield better placements… they certainly are trackable by looking at your click throughs!

Happy pitching,