Posts tagged with ‘Social Media Summit’

  • Social Media Strategy for Small and Emerging Businesses An interview with Jim Panagas

    In Chapter Events, Social Media on

    By Ariana Revelas, PRSA Boston Faculty Forum Student Correspondent – Bentley University


    Jim Panagas is a Boston-based marketing and communications professional with deep experience managing major brands, hiring and managing agencies, and running his own business. He believes companies should take full advantage of the full marketing communications mix — from video content to webcasting, social media, PR, and analyst relations — to connect with key audiences, communicate better than their competitors, and achieve market leadership.

     

    I asked Jim to discuss his experience in counseling small business owners, in particular about their PR and marketing initiatives.  He shares how small businesses face a different kind of challenge when it comes to PR and Marketing:

     

     

    Please share some insights on counseling small business owners.

    Often times, small and emerging businesses simply don’t have a marketing or communications professional on board yet. So, you’re often dealing with a point of contact who doesn’t have a lot of experience in this area. He or she may not know the right questions to ask and what is appropriate to spend at this point in time, and may unrealistically expect immediate results (as in closed sales opportunities).  

     

    What is your approach for counseling small business owners in the technology industry in the strategic use of social media and PR?

    My clients reside in the technology space. I tend to point them toward LinkedIn and Twitter. It is important that a company builds and maintains a company page, sends out announcements on a regular basis, and engages in online discussions. The richer your content (such as including a photo, video, survey, study, etc.), the more likely people will read what you have to say, comment, and perhaps forward that information to their friends and colleagues. When you’re sharing information on LinkedIn, there is an option to simultaneously share that same information with your Twitter audience, which I strongly recommend.

     

    That doesn’t mean that you can’t put some exclusive content on LinkedIn and/or some exclusive content on Twitter. It just means that, in general, you want to ensure that comparable information is being shared on both platforms. Social media is key to getting people to know about and talk about your company in the short term.

     

    What should businesses look for when hiring a digital marketing expert?

    It makes the most sense for a small business to engage a marketing consultant or agency rather than hiring marketing staff right out of the gate. This is particularly important because the marketing industry is in a period of extreme change at the moment and marketers tend to fall into one of two camps:  “classical marketers” i.e. people who can write, design, strategize and come up with innovative ways to generate visibility versus “digital marketers” who are primarily trained to run a marketing or sales automation platform.

     

    If a business is looking for someone to run a particular platform such as Marketo, Pardot, or even Salesforce.com, it probably needs a person or agency with more “digital” expertise. However, a business needs to crawl before it can walk, and that early formative communication is much more likely to be developed by a classical marketer. I don’t mean to overstate this schism, but it exists and the delta between them is getting wider. I cannot overemphasize the importance of these small and emerging business to engage a high quality writer. That way, they are building on a solid foundation.

     

    What are the current social media strategies that businesses should take advantage of?

    To win in today’s marketplace, it’s about quality of communication – not quantity. It’s more important to have senior, influential people within the organization communicating about your brand through social media channels rather than having a small army of people across your company – people who are not trained writers – sending out content. Again, it’s about quality of content, not quantity.

     

    Increase use of video content. 

    If you’re having a 5-minute discussion with a member of your management team…or a subject matter expert…or a partner, you should capture that conversation on video and share it through social media channels. People are used to watching video.  They are more likely to remember something that they heard or saw in a video clip than something that they read. 

     

    Update your website with compelling content.

    Your company website should contain significant content that your audience will find both useful and interesting. Here is a short list of must-haves in order to be effective on the web:

    1. List your address, phone number, email address, etc., so that people can easily contact your organization. Make it EASY for people to contact your company.
    2. Your leadership team should be clearly identified on the site with photos and bios.
    3. Feature downloadable assets such as data sheets and success stories.
    4. Webinars are a great low cost and broad vehicle for attracting qualified prospects.
    5. In addition to being shared via social media, video content can also find a home on a company’s website. If the videos are short – less than 1-2 minutes in duration – website visitors are very likely to click on them.
    6. Make sure you have a mailing list that website visitors can join, so that you can stay engaged with them over time and they can keep track of what’s happening at your business.

    The bottom line: find the right professionals. Find marketers and communicators who think like you do, who understand exactly what your business does and recognize why it’s important. If you’re in the technology space, look for marketing, communications, and PR professionals who have done a lot of work for technology companies over time. Ask about their background and credentials. Read their referencesTake the time to look at samples of their work. Hire the right person or agency, and great things can happen. 

     

    To find out more about social media strategies, attend our 7th Annual Social Media Summit, May 3, at Bentley University.  You’ll hear from some of the region’s most forward-thinking agencies, organizations and content creators!

     

  • Fast Five with Deirdre Breakenridge, 2018 Social Media Summit Keynote Speaker

    Deirdre K. Breakenridge is Chief Executive Officer at Pure Performance Communications. A veteran in PR, marketing and branding, Breakenridge is the author of six books, including “Answers for Modern Communicators”, “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional”, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” and “PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences.

    Deidre teaches online PR and social media courses for the UMASS at Amherst  and for Rutgers University’s PR Certificate course. She is also the host of a podcast program, Women Worldwide, interviewing women around the globe who are encouraged to share their incredible stories, educating, imparting advice and offering insights to show listeners. Women Worldwide has recently joined the C- Suite Radio Network, where Deirdre is recognized as a C-Suite Advisor.

    Deirdre will be the opening keynote speaker at the 2018 Social Media Summit on May 11 at Bentley University.  Join Deirdre and a host of other speakers for an amazing day as we explore how social media is being integrated in communications strategies at some of the region’s most visible brands.  Learn more and get your tickets here

    What prompted you to start PR Expanded?

    I launched PR Expanded (formerly PR 2.0) when I was researching and writing my book PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools and New Audiences. The blog was a way to document my social media journey, share topics covered in the book and gauge community member reactions and thoughts that I would include in my manuscript. Since the launch of PR 2.0, I’ve rebranded my blog as PR Expanded, which represents the many opportunities for PR professionals today. PR Expanded continues to showcase new roles and practices in PR as a result of the changing media landscape, advancing technologies and shifting consumer behaviors.

    What is a recent winning move your social media team has made for a client?

    We work with a digital marketing agency that is taking a stand on Artificial Intelligence and marketing ethics. A recent study of 6,000 consumers in the US, UK and Germany reveals consumer attitudes and concerns about AI. Our team was able to immerse ourselves in the survey data to come up with creative pitch angles. Our pitches have led to more media exposure in the form of byline articles, Q&A guest posts, radio interviews and expert commentary in business, technology and industry trade publications.

    What top deliverables do you look for in your social media team?

    Your social media team must deliver outcomes for your business. Yes, there are communication goals as a result of your campaigns, but you’re also tying what you do to higher-level business goals. A social media team that has a purpose and goals and sets up a measurement program that shows how social media directly relates to sales and lead generation, marketing optimization, customer satisfaction or brand health, is a team that gets the attention of the company leaders.

    What big goals or programs do you want your social media team to accomplish this year?

    Companies need to share stories and share meaningful information with the public, but they also need to create a sharing culture on the inside of the organization. Our social media teams are focused on igniting employee champions within the organization to create more strategic participation and greater momentum and engagement through employee networks. As a rule, good communication (including social media communication) starts on the inside of the company.

    What do you look for in a social media professional when you are hiring?

    A social media professional needs a balance of IQ and Emotional Quotient (EQ). It’s great when a candidate knows the areas of social media management, data and analytics and good writing and communication skills. However, the EQ is important when you’re dealing with a community and any issues or concerns that may arise. Showing EQ means stepping back to evaluate a situation in a social media community and having more empathy for your customer. When you blend the strategic with the empathy, you can solve problems and prevent the escalation of issues for your brand.

    When your clients just don’t get social media, how do you explain it?

    When clients don’t understand social media you have to show them why it matters in their world. Showing them could mean sharing the results of a competitor audit and how the competition uses social media. You might also reveal that the top companies in their industry are using social media to attract the best talent. You can also share how their customers, employees, media, and other important stakeholders are on social media giving them a reason to monitor or to engage directly. For these clients, it could be a crawl, walk run approach to get them comfortable with social media and understanding the meaning and value for their business.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • Move Over, Millennials: Brands are Targeting Gen Z on Social

    In Social Media on

    By Caroline Lee, guest blog contributor

     

    PRSA Boston’s Faculty Forum, a group of passionate educators creating the next generation of leaders in PR, is offering a series of guest posts written by talented students majoring in the communications field. For this guest post, we welcome insights from Caroline Lee. An aspiring journalist, Caroline is a senior at Boston College with a double major in Communication, and Applied Psychology & Human Development.

     

    For the past years, Millennials and their unrelenting obsession over their cellphones and social media have been hot topics in the media, and an opportunity for brands to drive sales. Numerous prominent brands invest in social media to connect with this growing population. Yet, in the fast-paced world of social media and branding, Generation Z members – born between 1995 and 2012 – are quickly surpassing Millennials as a key target audience for brands.

     

    Generation Zers are just like Millennials in many ways, just more wired to their devices. Members of Gen Z, the cohort immediately following Millennials, are the first to be born completely immersed in the digital age. They hold an estimated buying power of more than $44 billion, making Gen Zers an appealing and lucrative target audience for businesses.

     

    If businesses want to connect emotionally with Gen Z, and drive brand loyalty and gain market share among these young digital natives, investing in social media is the best bet. According to a study, 80 percent of the shopping decisions made by Gen Zers are influenced by social media.

     

    Which Channels Should You Choose to Use?

    PR experts can connect with Gen Zers through their channels of choice, namely Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Today, Instagram may be the most important social media platform for public relations and integrated marketing campaigns. According to recent data, 44 percent of purchases made by Gen Zers were impacted by Instagram, making this social media channel the most influential when it comes to making purchasing decisions. YouTube was second, followed by Snapchat, according to the study.

     

    Snapchat—with its Story feature that allows users to post pictures and short video clips that can be viewed an unlimited number of times for 24 hours before they disappear—used to dominate the Gen Z market. However, Instagram Stories are quickly becoming more popular than Snapchat Stories. Instagram reported that, as of April 2017, more than 200 million users engaged with Instagram Stories, which is 40 million more than those who use Snapchat Stories. This user-base, which only took months for Instagram to accumulate while it took Snapchat years, continues to grow rapidly.

     

    Stories allow a business to post a series of photos or short video clips— instead of just choosing one or two—in a more casual way because they know their stories are only temporary. This creates a more authentic feel, which Generation Z members enjoy, according to research. Plus, users get fresh content daily and companies can market their products and services on a daily basis. Ephemeral media content is only growing in popularity, as Instagram continues to attract a vast user-base that has a taste for instantaneous media content that is constantly being updated.

     

    Instagram also reported that 80 percent of Instagram accounts follow a business profile. And even when users aren’t following business accounts, more than 200 million users visit at least one business profile daily. Instagram users are not shy about following brands they like, giving companies plenty of chances to post content that will resonate with potential Gen Z customers.

     

    PR practitioners, marketers and advertisers should seriously consider hopping on the social media train. Whether they like it or not, social media is increasingly becoming an integral part of peoples’ lives. And it may be the most effective way to reach the millions of Generation Zers – many of whom have never gone a day without using social media.

     

    To learn more about social media and how it can boost business to consumer engagement, save the date PRSA Boston’s 6th annual Social Media Summit, May 11 at Bentley University. The Summit will feature trends and insights from a wealth of social media experts. Last year’s Summit drew more than 300 PR and marketing professionals from the New England region.

    Get your ticket HERE!

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  • Fast 5: Making Social Media a Judgement Free Zone

    Jenna Reynolds, Planet Fitness

    @JennaAReynolds  @PlanetFitness


     

    Jenna Reynolds is a proud tiny-house owner and dog mom who spends her days as a Digital Communities Manager professional at Planet Fitness World Headquarters, the home of the Judgement Free Zone. She spearheaded the creation of Planet of Triumphs, the company’s very own social community, where elevating positivity and inspiring members is the goal.

    We caught up with Jenna to talk about how social media can help people achieve their fitness goals, what she is looking forward to at the Social Media Summit, and what life is like in a tiny house.

    Q. Just when the news feed couldn’t seem to be any more crowded, the flow of information seems to have picked up to a dizzying pace. How can brands break through that noise?

    A. Every brand’s focus should be on what works for them and their brand personality. Planet Fitness members’ feeds are filled with the latest fitness and diet trends. We aim to break through that noise by empowering our members with positive messaging about our Judgement Free Zone and by celebrating their fitness triumphs, big and small.

    Q. What was the drive behind creating Planet of Triumphs? Why was it important to create a social community for Planet Fitness?

    A. We have seen first-hand the amazing things that are possible when our members encourage and support one another in our gyms. We wanted to forge a special community where they could do so digitally as well. The platform has truly taken on a life of its own and our members have used it to detail their fitness journeys, cheer each other on and ask for support when they need it.

    We surveyed a focus group of our members, and more than 70% said that they don’t post their fitness experiences on traditional social channels as they are afraid of being judged; Planet of Triumphs provides them a place where they can feel comfortable doing so.

    The platform has become an important part of our brand, and our CEO visits the site every day to learn about our members’ stories and offer words of encouragement. As a company, we are diligent about keeping the site from becoming overly promotional and instead have let our members build their own community and celebrate their everyday wins.

    Q. What advice would you give brands that are nervous about engaging on social media?

    A. It is all about trust. Using social media helps immediately open up direct feedback and establish trust between your brand and consumers. It isn’t just about pushing out content. It should also be about how your fans respond and the learnings that you can distill from that, not just in terms of social media, but in all areas of your business.

    Additionally, my biggest piece of advice would be to closely monitor your response volume and ensure that your social media strategy is equipped to handle it.

    Overall, don’t overthink it. You’ve got this!

    Q. What are you most looking forward to about the Social Media Summit?

    Lanyards. Besides that, connecting with other social media advocates. No matter the industry, it is always a positive learning experience to hear about other brands’ successes and challenges, along with the trends that they are witnessing, when it comes to social media.

    Q. You say you are a tiny-house owner. Doesn’t it get a little cramped?

    The winter months can test my two dogs’ patience but otherwise, we utilize our yard which has a mini outdoor theater, fire pit, dining area, etc.  I am social by profession and personality, so not being able to entertain a lot of people has been the biggest challenge; however, I am also addicted to re-decorating, so living in a smaller space has helped me to successfully limit my HomeGoods visits.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics (https://prsaboston.org/hot-topics/) blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is on the fly! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, authors’ books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com (mailto:josh@joshuamilnepr.com) and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization.