Start November off right with these Digital Marketing tips…
By Robyn Sachs, President & CEO of RMR & Associates
Social Media and Social Networking
It seems like only yesterday that “PR on the Web” meant posting your latest press release on your website. Today, PR on the Web can largely be summed up as Social Media and Social Networking. Beyond Facebook and LinkedIn, there are thousands and thousands of networks, with one or more for every industry, interest, or idea you can imagine.
What Does it All Mean for You?
To many people, it’s a big, overwhelming headache; but it needn’t be. Instead, look at it as a huge well of opportunity, especially if you know where to start and how to use it to your advantage.
First of all, you need to change your thinking about what Web PR can do for you. This is not a vehicle for making direct profits. Advertising on the Web can be profitable. But this time we’re talking about PR, Public Relations.
The purpose of Social Networking is to build relationships with individuals, specifically your potential customers. And just as with relationship building in “the real world” (i.e., off of the Web), there are good ways to introduce yourself and things to avoid like the plague.
Making Friends and Influencing People
Picture yourself at a huge party. VIPs are all around you—chatting, laughing, deep in conversation. The din is deafening. You want desperately to butt in but can’t risk being seen as obnoxious. Suddenly, across the room you spy a familiar face, and before you know it your friend is introducing you all around.
That’s the Web. It’s a gigantic party and you’re invited, but to get noticed you need the right introductions. Here are some ideas for getting noticed:
• Don’t try to be the life of the party; sometimes subtlety is best. Spend the time to get your name out there, to be talked about, and to build your reputation.
• Speaking of reputation, try to encourage influential people to start dropping your name by getting the right bloggers to give you favorable mentions on their blogs. Blogging has become the biggest party of all—there are blogs for everything and anyone can start one. Research to find blogs that would be a good fit for your company and then spend time following those blogs so you understand the viewpoints of their owners and readers.
• Start a blog of your own so you can better control its content. Be sure it provides valuable insight on topics that would interest your target market.
• Add links to your website, embedded pictures, and videos into your postings. This way, you can steer your audience where you’d like them to go, while raising your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your blog becomes more interesting too, which certainly can’t hurt your reputation.
• Join other social networks if you haven’t yet, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Add links to your social network in your blog and on your website, and links to your blog and website on your social networks.
• Update your blog, your social networks, and your website regularly. Out-of-date information makes your company look out-of-touch and inactive. Once readers know your sites are updated regularly with interesting info, links, and ideas, they’ll stop by often.
Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague
• Putting emphasis on the hard sell is a big networking no-no. It’s just like coming on too strongly at a party. You’re there to network, not to close the deal.
• Recognize that social networking has different rules. Ask your marketing firm for their advice on using Web PR methods in your marketing plan. Research the Web PR presence of your competitors and other companies you admire. What are they doing and how well is it working? What are bloggers saying about them?
• Don’t let your blog sit idle or your website age with ancient information. Update, update, update should be your mantra. Which, by the way, is why CEO blogs tend to be discouraged; they just don’t have the time to keep information current. Alternatively, consider adding a full-time blogger to your staff. No joke. Blogging effectively can be a full-time job, and “Chief Blogger” has become a real job title.
• Don’t try to dive into social networking all at once. Dip your toe into blogging and see what others are saying about you. Just as you can’t take back a press release once it’s been sent, comments you post on the Web are there to stay and can take on a life of their own.
Don’t be overwhelmed by PR on the Web. It’s a huge party, and you’re invited. All you have to do now is accept the invitation and work the room.