Embracing Blogs as Publicity


blog bloggersIn recent years blogging has become very popular. Sometimes it seems like everyone has a blog about one topic or another. It comes in handy as a search tool, since you can google virtually anything and someone has written about it personally and included many helpful details first hand. People turn to blogs these days, writing and reading them, for many different reasons, one main one being advice.

With so many blogs out there it cane be hard to determine which ones are actually trustworthy and whether you should believe everything you read on them. You do have to be able to discern when a blog will be helpful or not. But when you can tell a blog is trustworthy, and trusted among it’s readers, that is when they can be a great for your publicity.

Many businesses have begun to embrace bloggers more and more as they see the positive effect it can have on their business. Bloggers tend to be very passionate about whatever the topic of their blog is. They tend to be the type of people who love to share their opinions and let people know about their experiences. They tend to be outgoing and open to trying new things, if it has the possibility of an interesting blog post their readers will enjoy.

Because of this, inviting bloggers in to your business can be a very worthwhile move if you’re looking for cheap publicity and to grow your customer base. This can be done two different ways- either inviting a bunch of bloggers in at once for a ‘blogger get-together/party’ event, or invite them in one on one for individual experiences. Once they are there, make sure they have a wonderful time and get to fully experience everything your business has to offer. Yes, this may require putting a bit of money down one time, in order to offer them free service or small favors to take home afterward, but it is worth it for the positive image they will have in their mind of you and your business and they will inevitably become repeat customers themselves, as well as brand ambassadors touting your praise to their friends and followers, resulting in more business later on.

I recently attended a blog event at one of my restaurant clients in which they provided a small tasting menu specifically for these bloggers. It included six dishes with a description of each by the owner and a chance to meet the chef, owner and manager. There was a group of tables all set up for the bloggers before they arrived, so they were able to enjoy an evening of chatting and getting to know each other or catching up with each other if they knew each other from previous events. At the end of the night they were sent home with some goodies like a shirt from the restaurant, a colorful rubber whisk, a recipe for the restaurant’s famous peanut butter pancakes and a small bag of the peanut butter chips required for said pancakes. Not only did the bloggers get to blog about the dinner and the food they tried, but they have the potential to write another post in the future about baking the pancakes if they choose to!

If nothing else, having bloggers write about your business increases your web presence just by having your business name on multiple sites. Beyond that, bloggers are taste-makers and have loyal followers who trust their opinions. It makes sense to find some who are interested in your product, build relationships with them and encourage them to follow your business. They’ll appreciate it and prospective customers who feel better visiting your business after seeing what to expect from someone else online will appreciate it.

By |February 6th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Should The Pope Tweet?

Should The Pope Use Twitter?

The Pope’s Twitter Profile

It was announced this week that the Pope has signed up for Twitter and will begin tweeting on December 12. Um, what? Why in the world would the Pope need a Twitter, you may ask. That is a good question, and one I am also asking.

 

It has to do with the fact that everyone thinks that everyone should be on social media these days. They hear about social media and how it’s the thing and the best way to reach people. But the truth is it really isn’t for everyone. Social media is not the be all end all. It’s not a requirement.

 

Yes, it can very much help a company, brand, or person to get out there and spread their word and build community. But it has to make sense for the specific company, brand or person. It’s not right for everyone, and using social media just for the sake of using it can be worse than not having a social media presence at all.

 

There are many things to consider when deciding if social media is the right route to take, and which specific social media outlets to use. These include the time it will take up, the followers you wish to have, the ways you will interact with followers etc. The overall point here is that there needs to be a reason to have the Twitter– it should be serving some purpose that helps achieve your overall goals. I don’t pretend to be religious in the least, but I never thoughts the Pope’s job had anything to do with hashtagging overconnected teens who #askpontifex who would win in a fight between Jesus Christ and Wolverine.

 

As a communications professional, I can almost see where the Pope’s misguided team was coming from. They got caught up in the idea of social media and connecting with people all over the world on another level. They thought it would open up the lines of communication in a way that the Pope never had with his followers before. They just didn’t think about two main things.

 

First of all, while it seems that everyone in the world is on Twitter these days, they’re not. You cannot consider Twitter a viable representation of everyone in the world. For an American brand, maybe—most of your audience probably is on, or has access to Twitter. For Christianity? Nope. Tons of people all over the world don’t even know what Twitter is, much less have access to is, so using it as a way to connect with the Pope’s followers is going to obviously be very skewed toward those areas and age groups in which is is prevalent.

 

Also, in order to use Twitter effectively it is important to engage with followers. After all, that is the whole point. I don’t care how many people are employed on this social media team but there is no way they are going to be able to interact with everyone who tweets at the Pope. There is no way they will want to. The account hasn’t even gone live yet and a quick Google or Twitter search brings up tons of inappropriate tweets to the Pope that they will have to ignore. Even the serious tweets will be coming in so fast that there will be no way to keep up with them in an effective way that helps build the online community or makes people feel heard.

 

This Twitter handle seems like a big waste of time for the Pope, who should have larger issues on his hands. Instead of being a way to connect with and interact with followers, it will inevitably be nothing more than a way for the Pope to spew his thoughts to his followers whenever he sees fit and is able. That just is not the point of Twitter. He may as well start a blog instead.

By |December 5th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

The Time for Social Media

Social Media Time Suck It’s a question many organizations are asking these days: How much time and money are we supposed to spend on social media?

 

It’s a tricky question to answer, because it depends so much on the unique needs, resources, and goals of the organization.

 

The truth is, social media can be a full time job. You can spend all day on social media and use it to further the mission of your organization. It can help build your brand, grow your audience and connect with them.

 

But you can also spend less time and still be effective. While a lot of social media consists of interaction with followers, and responding to questions and comments in a timely manner is important, there is also a lot you can plan ahead of time in order to have a presence without actually being online all day.

 

First decide what social media platforms you are going to spend your time on and how you want to use them. Chances are, not every platform makes sense for you and you don’t have time to use them all at once anyway. It is better to choose a few platforms and use them successfully than try to overextend yourself and not do them well. Most common are Facebook and Twitter, and one of these is probably a good place to start. (A post on social media platforms and how to best use them is coming soon).

 

Make a calendar. Especially important in blogging, but also helpful for other social media, a calendar of what to post when can be one of the most helpful things that you do. Nothing is worse than realizing your social media is in desperate need of updates and not being able to think of what to post. Creating a plan can help determine when to run major promotions, or product launches, and when to cover certain topics so you can make sure to roll them out when it makes the most sense and posts don’t get too backed up or bunched up. Having a set calendar makes social media run smoothly.

 

Schedule posts. Using a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite allow a user to schedule tweets. Facebook now offers brand pages a chance to schedule posts. This means that you can plan out certain content that you want to post at certain times of day or certain days of the week and get them all up there at one time. This way you have regularly updated content without having to be online all day long. You can still add in last minute posts whenever you want, without it messing up your previously scheduled posts. Ideally, once you create the calendar you can schedule a few posts immediately, because you know what is happening when.

 

Gather ideas constantly. You probably already follow other brands, industry insiders, and community members on social media (if you don’t, start now!). Pay attention when they post content or links that are pertinent to your organization or industry. If you don’t have time to read them or respond right at that time, create a bookmark folder or a desktop folder with the links to the articles or content that you can go back through later. That way, when the time comes to create content or update posts on your pages, you can go back and retweet, repost, or blog about one of these things without having to find it all over again or search for brand new info.

 

Customer service. If you choose to use your social media as a ‘customer service’ platform (and this does not have to be taken literally- this can mean you simply answer people’s questions or help them understand what you do, even if you don’t have a physical product and your audience isn’t a ‘consumer’) response is key. You can still use all of the above suggestions, but you need to physically be monitoring the channels at all times and be sure to provide prompt replies. This still does not mean you need to sit in front of the screen all day. Set up alerts to go to your phone or email when you have a post or message from someone and set aside five minutes every hour or two to log on and post replies. Quick response time is key, because if people do not think they will get a response soon they will not bother posting and you will lose that chance to engage with them. People send a tweet because it’s quick and easy and already something that is a part of their daily life. While you have them engaged, make sure that you offer them something more than they would get on the main website or by calling on the phone, even if this is just swift answers and a personal response.

 

Every organizations social media strategy is different, because every organization is different. It’s the ability to customize it that makes it such a useful tool. While social media is definitely something that should be a part of a companies marketing mix, it also has to be used effectively to make it worthwhile. These are just some of the many methods you can use to make it effective for you.

 

Feel free to check out how I use social media with my twitter account @pollinaPR!

By |October 3rd, 2012|Blog|0 Comments