I participated in the Solution Stars Video Conference
yesterday. The online event was a series of nine videos on social media marketing topics ranging from Building Web Presence
to Visibility Through Search
and Time Demands
. Each video was a montage of discussions with some of the great minds of marketing and social media (Guy Kawasaki
, Chris Brogan
and Liz Strauss
, to name a few). Some of my takeaways were interesting sound bites and analogies - my favorite: "twitter takes less time than responding to voice mail." Check out my tweets
for other discussion that resonated with me.
The videos are now available on-demand
. Regardless of your social media savvy, I encourage you to check it out - there's something for everyone and they're short (5 minutes or less) so you can listen at your leisure.
Thanks to Shashi Bellamkonda
and Geoff Livingston
for pulling this together. The attendance and chat during the conference tells me that there's steady demand for on-going education on social media marketing strategy and tools - so I look forward the next installment.
- Lisa Throckmorton
The 2008 Presidential election aside, the news media emphasis and water cooler buzz of recent times has been about nothing but the financial crisis and its impact on the economy. For my clients, this has translated into an invigorated emphasis
on and need for strategic planning
. In developing and implementing communications plans, keeping strategy at the forefront is always a priority
. a principle that has never rung more true for many of my clients than it has today.
During times of economic crisis, when shareholders and investors alike are nervous, attentive and uber-inquisitive, communications executives must be able to clearly articulate why they expend resources on certain initiatives and how the outcomes will positivity affect the bottom line. My brainpower this month has been spent primarily on strategic planning, and I wonder if any other readers of this blog can relate? My SBX colleagues and I would love to hear your strategic planning success stories... tales of how smart strategic communications plans are helping you navigate this economic downturn and communicate with your Board and/or stockholders. Any good anecdotes?
(Photo by Rick's Images
One of my passions is this notion of a "Middle School" when it comes to marketing strategy. For me, Middle School is realistically how most marketing programs are functioning today - blending more traditional marketing activities with new school tools and initiatives to strengthen and expand brand, community and reach. There are some amazing new school tools
, and a plethora of them and it's more than a full-time job for people running marketing teams to keep up with them, never mind thoroughly understanding them, determining who will own them and how to measure their effectiveness. Forget educating a more seasoned management team or board on the evolution - "Why do we need a Facebook
fan page? Isn't that mostly college students?" I believe that most marketers are overwhelmed. Katie's post
today on the results of our buzz seminar is case in point. Sixty-two percent of the people surveyed said that they either didn't have a social media strategy or weren't sure, which tells me that despite the buzz and fanfare, when it comes to marketing programs, we are still closer to the old school than the new.
I meet with a group monthly, you'll be surprised to hear that we call it Middle School
. It supports the bridge between the two schools and our jobs as vendor partners to help in the education process and design of strategies that map to your goals and use tactics and tools that communicate to your target audience.
In future blog posts, I will share highlights from our discussions. October's gathering focused on commitment to social media
initiatives. Welcome to Middle School.
- Lisa Throckmorton
(Photo by smellyknee
At this months SpeakerBox seminar on Measuring Buzz
, we conducted a survey of attendees on their social media strategy. The results are shared below:
When asked, Does your company have a social media strategy, 38% said yes, 45% said no, and 17% werent sure. Given the ubiquity of social media, its eye-opening that only one-third of attendees from companies of all sizes have figured out how to incorporate a social media plan into their marketing strategy. Based on some of the comments on the evaluations, many are still trying to figure out how to turn the hype of social media into critical business strategy.
When asked what tactics generate the most buzz, attendees pointed to traditional marketing tactics such as events (52%) and PR (also 52%). Next on the list were blogging, direct mail and white papers, which were mentioned by approximately 30% of attendees.
Sadly, 8% of attendees claimed to have no buzz at all.
In terms of key metrics, the vast majority of attendees are focused on back-to-basic business growth indicators such as revenue and lead conversion. Secondarily, attendees measure online traffic to their Website and landing pages, product downloads and lead quantity.
Finally, for those of you who have been asking, we have posted the speakers PowerPoints on Slideshare
- Katie Hanusik
On Thursday, SpeakerBox threw yet another well-attended and well-received event
. The Tower Club is always a nice choice for locale and the view of DC and the greater northern Virginia landscape reminded me of the larger industrial world we PR folks are playing in. The buzz we create for our clients needs to resonate at a deeper level than to CSOs through SC Magazine for example, but through word of mouth, referrals and experience sharing. As technology propels us to a new level, in some ways we are challenged to keep the old with the new. The panelists participating in this event all drew on their marketing experiences to enlighten us with new ways to bridge the divide create the buzz for (our) clients and (your) companies using the fundamentals of traditional PR tactics with the innovation of new applications and a different way of thinking of message distribution.
Larger questions answered in this panel discussion were how to build buzz, how to measure it
, how to apply critical analytics such as: has the buzz turned into increased sales, and how to move buzz from mind share to business results. The 80 attendees from across sectors government, university professors, technology, to name a few were provided with a deeper understanding of tools and applications such as widgets
, Google Trends
and Shared Voice, and how and why to apply them to marketing initiatives to make sure we are meeting our audiences - - - where they are.
I learned a few new things such as in June of this year, 581 million Internet users worldwide were on social networks. One panelist used this point to urge us all to leverage social networks to our full advantage when making efforts to get our messages out there. He mentioned social networking sites like Facebook representing the need to connect and share on a more personal level, and he even went so far to say, as we move to Web 2.0, sharing is the motor oil for the Internet. If you arent leveraging these social network sites for your business today, start making some plans to do so!
These progressive elements of marketing were then tied back to basic fundamentals of PR: focus on the problem, not the product
; bring the right dialogue to the right people; decision makers often rely on unexpected sources for information and referrals so ask customers and prospects who is influential to them; and possibly most important: meet your audience where they are, recognize their struggles and understand their point of view. And in the words of panelist Myra Norton
, Examine how marketing and PR tactics are tied to lead generation and customer loyalty (as a means for measuring success). She adds, However you are measuring business value, measure marketing value in the same way.
One panelist confidently declared he believes in the spirit of shameless self promotion. His point was one I agree with wholeheartedly that the art of creating the buzz you want is to support it with a skillfully mastered plan for delivering your messages, not only to the right audiences, but in a way that will be well received. In other words, the success of shameless self promotion entitles you to be tenacious and confident, but demands you be intuitive and tactful. We can apply this generational PR tactic with the progression of technology tools to enhance our successes.
Social media and analytic tools are clearly the drivers for PR and marketing campaigns. However, the heart of all PR programs remains steadfast and constant. Know your audience, their challenges, their needs, their influencers. Deliver your message creatively, in a way that will resonate with your audience. Be personable, open, real and respectful. Know and understand your clients business or your business drivers and believe in the message you represent.
Thanks panelists for a great discussion!
The thought of participating
in news and content creation can be very attractive for companies trying to connect for marketing or customer relations purposes, but before you dive into the new media and social networking pools, make sure you have what Adam Sarner
, an analyst with market research firm Gartner
, calls a mutual purpose,
to keep you afloat.
By a mutual purpose, he means a way to serve both the company putting out the campaign and the audience interacting with it. Im sure we all know how to be self-serving, but how do you serve the audience interacting with your campaign?
One way to is to follow the advice of Jonah Paransky
, vice president of marketing for Stacksafe
, and recent speaker at SpeakerBoxs Measuring Buzz
event, and create problem-focused content
provide answers to common client questions or information that your prospects want and can use to solve a problem or met a need. By doing so, you not only position yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field, but also provide prospects with ideas or introduce opportunities of which they may not have been aware.
In order to be successful your new media and social networking campaigns needs to be less about your business and bottom-line, and more about your customer. After all, its not new media if you simply broadcast information. New media is about networked information, contribution, and communication.
- Lisa Wells
Photo source: Flickr.com
Just like a college exam that you stay up late reading materials and going over notes for, media interviews require the same amount of preparation. Considering the media plays a huge hand in shaping a companys reputation, its imperative that interviewees are well trained on how to conduct and manage interviews.
There are a ton of good articles out there (The Top 10 Basics of Media Interview Preparation
and Preparing for a Media Interview
, just to name a couple) that offer advice on how to do this, however I have taken the liberty to jot down a few of my own suggestions below. Sure, some of them may appear to be common sense, but youd be surprised how easy it is to lose your cool come interview time. Take a read through the tips and keep them in the forefront of your mind the next time youre on the record.1. Do your homework:
Would you go into a sales meeting without knowing who you are going to talk to? The same rule
applies to media interviews. Read as many materials possible to help prepare yourself for the interview. That means, read a few of the reporters recent articles, understand his/her professional background and get a sense for his/her writing style. Preparing ahead of time in this way will not only give you more confidence during the interview, it will also likely give you some pointers on how to approach the briefing. Think through your messages as well. You'll know the interview subject ahead of time, so think through anecdotes and examples you can discuss to bring life to the topic you are discussing.
2. Be on time:
Better yet, show up early to the interview. There are few things worse than making the reporter feel like his/her time isnt important. Its crucial to start the interview on the right foot, and by making the journalist wait for you will only create the platform for a sour conversation.3. Take a breath:
Although you may have a variety of ideas to share with the reporter, dont let your mouth run away from you. Take a moment to pause between thoughts
, allowing the reporter jot down notes. If youre unsure whether its safe to move forward, dont hesitate to speak up and ask the reporter. Pausing will also make sure you are taking time to listen to the reporter as well. 4. Dont assume:
There may be an endless amount of industry acronyms and slang that youre comfortable throwing around the water cooler, but dont use it around the reporter. Keep in mind that he/she probably wears many hats in the newsroom and isnt able to stay on top of all the jargon. When it doubt, follow the K.I.S.S. rule of thumb. (Keep It Simple Stupid.)5. Offer follow-up materials:
When the interview begins to wrap up, offer the reporter interview-relevant supporting materials. This may help him/her to write a more complete, detailed piece about the given topic, and provide more clarity on the ideas you presented.
- Mary Evans
(Photo by wallyg
SpeakerBox is proud to be active in a number of organizations from PR and marketing associations, to technology groups, as well as organizations focused on the local business community. One group that we have had a long relationship with is Women in Technology (WIT). WITs President for the 2008-2009 term, Sue Liblong (whose day job is Vice President Marketing and Business Development for SiloSmashers) took a few moments to provide her thoughts on the organization and the role of women in the DC tech community.
- Piper Conrad
Q: What is the mission of WIT?
WITs mission is to provide women in the DC technology community a networking and professional growth environment to develop relationships and create new opportunities.Q: Now with the formal mission defined, what is the real reason people join the organization?
Our members tell us they join for the networking opportunities, to meet other professional women in technology, and for assistance in professional growth. WIT has nearly 1,000 members. Despite our size, WIT is a very manageable and welcoming organization. There are several committees and SIGs so members can choose to participate in a variety of programs based on their interests.Q: How did you get involved in WIT?
I was introduced to WIT just over ten years ago by a colleague at AOL.Q: With Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin, there has been a lot of discussion about breaking the glass ceiling in politics, what do you feel is the status of the glass ceiling in technology?
Just as women are making extraordinary advances in politics, women can dramatically change the face of technology. Although the tech industry continues to change and evolve, it stays the same in some respects. Despite pressures of global competition for a broader, more diverse talent pool, the industry is still dominated by men. To succeed, all tech firms must innovate and grow through access to the best and brightest minds. Unfortunately, women still represent a very low percentage of the workforce thats not the best and brightest approach.
WIT starts with teaching and encouraging women to enter the field and advance themselves through an active network. We raise awareness to open up more opportunities and create more involvement. For example, our Girls in Technology Committee works with students and teachers in local schools encouraging girls to continue in math and sciences. Our Workforce Development Committee hosts Meet the Company programs where WIT members are invited to meet senior staff from large local tech companies.
And we influence our environment to make high-level impact with corporations and sponsors. For example, this year at our Leadership Awards banquet in May, WIT will bestow our first Company Leadership Champion award recognizing companies that actively plan and execute initiatives to support and develop women leaders. Both HP and SAP are competing for this honor.Q: Does the DC market differ from other areas of the country in terms of opportunities for women in the technology field?
This area is unique in its involvement with the federal government. There are opportunities here to truly transform government making it more efficient. There are many women-owned firms on the leading edge of these initiatives.Q: What WIT programs are you most looking forward to this year?
WITs Committees and SIGs have some terrific programs planned for this year. This is WITs 15th anniversary and we will hit some major milestones. For example, our annual Heroines in Technology Gala in November a fundraiser for the March of Dimes may put us over the $1 million mark in funds raised for the charity. As I mentioned earlier, well bestow our first Company Leadership Champion award during our 10th Annual Leadership Awards banquet in May. And, as a result of feedback from our members, we are placing a renewed emphasis on more technology-focused programs this year. So keep an eye out on our events calendar which is updated daily at www.womenintechnology.org to see whats ahead.
, Twitter Search
—is tweetbook on the horizon or is it already here? Well maybe, but its not affiliated with Twitter.
As a newbie, delving into the Twitter world
is more than just taking part in the latest phenomenon of microblogging
, but a journey that promises to deliver social media at its best and is definitely worth encouraging.
Who doesn’t want to debate, heckle, or send a few lines of communication love via direct messages (which can be routed directly to cell phones mind you)? Why not boost your ego a bit by gathering a flock of followers? Or follow others that have plenty to offer in way of news, business know-how, political gander, a healthy dose of comedy, and the list goes on. A tip to see your flock flourish: microblog often and be real in your few sentences for the world to see.
The basics of posting my 140 words or less was pretty self-explanatory, the only problem I had was trying to figure out how to respond to my followers or those that I was following. I have to say that I’m pretty savvy when it comes to figuring out and maneuvering new sites and until someone pointed out the reply sign on the updates popping up on my message board, I had no clue on how to sound off when I had an opinion about a post.
If that’s the only critique—then I’d say the site is in pretty good shape.
On top of what it regularly offers, Twitter has a lineup of addendum sites that provide specific services, enhancing your Twitter experience. Take TweetBeep
as an example. All you have to do is input any one of your topics du jour (i.e. Sarah Palin, the bailout, Spore, Apple, Tina Fey, Wii, all the way down to Ask a Ninja) and then type in your e-mail address. Tada! Now you’ll get alerts via e-mail when a tweet matches your search.
Some of you might already have a blog—well guess what? You can feed that to Twitter too! Sync it up by using twitterfeed
. The site’s server will check your blog's feed at the specified interval and post any new items to your Twitter account.
I have to say that Election 2008
on Twitter is the best addition yet. See what all Twitter users are saying about the candidates, Congress, and all things political. Just like Twitter search, Election 2008 is real time. Read the lifeblood of citizens nationwide and across the globe—and see what they’re really thinking outside of what the media is splashing in the news.
Oh and FYI, Twitterbook
is the site affiliated with Twitter, offering users the ability to update your home page vis a vis Facebook. However the site that offers a series of tweets strung together in a never-ending story is one thought of by many, but put together on tweetbook.com. What needs to happen? Giving Twitter users the ability to create their own Tweet Book, invite their followers to come play along in the fictionalizing process and see how the story unfolds. Sure, we give Micah Baldwin
props for having his own Tweet Book
site—but what about all the other Twitter users that want to have control of the storyboard? Come on Twitter—make it happen already!
- Jackie Gilbert