Creative Concepts Looks at The State of Social Media for PR Pros

social mediaSocial media has quickly become an integral part of public relations and marketing (among other areas) over the last few years.

There are lots of observations about social’s role in public relations and marketing, but not many regarding these folks’ insights about social media.

Cision and PR News recently polled marketing and PR professionals about social media and created an infographic titled The State of Social Media for PR Pros. The goal was to “give a look into how PR and marketing pros view the social media landscape.”

The findings show the following:

  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top three platforms used that businesses most actively engage with their audiences.
  • 36% polled use paid promotions in Facebook while other platforms have much paid promotions.
  • 45% have successfully pitched media contacts through social media channels.
  • The most trusted sources are online traditional and print publications.
  • The top three metrics to measure success are increased website traffic, increased engagement and increased followers.

While Facebook has the top engagement, many businesses have not been using paid promotions. Recent changes in Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm may persuade businesses to sponsor more posts for increased visibility.

PR professionals are still pitching through traditional tactics more than social media. The most trusted sources are also traditional news outlets and publications whether in print or online. While social media is an integral part of PR, the traditional methods are still important.

The top metrics are increased traffic, engagement and follower numbers. There is room for businesses to improve their metrics by looking at conversions and not just numbers. This is a more complicated process but one that will bring deeper insights to their PR and marketing strategies.

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Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Discusses Ways to Get Great PR on a Budget

pr tips for media publicityMany startups and smaller businesses don’t have blockbuster budgets for marketing and public relations.

Here are some PR strategies and tactics that are helpful to get coverage on a shoestring budget.

Forbes recently wrote “Three Ways to Get Great PR Without a Budget.” The article covers three topics that businesses can focus on to garner publicity as a newer kid on the block.

1) Focus on your story. Your business might not the be the largest or most connected in the industry, but you have a story to tell. Focus on your story, be authentic and communicate your company’s vision. Are you doing something different?  Have you partnered in the industry to offer something new?

2) Get technical. Take the time to really research journalists and bloggers covering your industry. Find new contacts and set up news alerts for not only your business but anything related to your industry to give you ideas to pitch when relevant. Also be sure to research local news outlets and let them know how you are connecting with the community.

3) Add value. Another way to build awareness is through partnering with other businesses with complementary products and services. Partnerships add value and can expand your offering to your customers as well as the media.

4) Another way to break through the clutter is to showcase your customers. If you have a customer using your product in an entirely new way, that makes an interesting innovation story. Talk with your most valuable customers and partners and help tell their stories – this builds potential for expanded reach and strengthens relationships with your best customers and partners.

How are some ways your business has received coverage?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Reviews Instagram’s Most Popular Hashtags

ID-100254848What’s a Hashtag? If you are not familiar with the hashtag, it is a keyword formatted with a # sign that is a tag so people can search for conversations on that topic on various social media sites.

For example, #marketing, #socialmedia and #pr are industry hashtags that help people find information about these topics.

It is important to note that a status should only include one or two hashtags, according to social media etiquette. Some people use too many hashtags and their updates get cluttered with hashtags.

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s hashtag skit made the term so popular that my fifth grade daughter came home the next day asking me what it meant.

Hashtags are commonly used on many sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and even Facebook. You can also see what hashtags are trending in real time at any given moment.

Today we will look at Instagram’s most popular hashtags.

Business Insider recently wrote an article “Instagram’s Most Popular Hashtags” and reviews a few of the weekly hashtags that are popular today.

Man Crush Monday (#MCM) – People post pictures of their male crushes from celebrities to spouses.

Transformation Tuesday (#TT) – A fitness hashtag showing people’s transformations in health.

Women Crush Wednesday (#WCW) – Another crush posting hashtag for females.

Throwback Thursday (#TBT or #throwbackthursday) – A fun throwback picture of you when you were younger.

Flashback Friday (#FF or #flashbackfriday) – Not as popular as #TT but still used.

Caturday (#caturday) – For cat lovers on Saturday. Heh.

Selfie Sunday (#selfiesunday) – Self explanatory!

Here is a real-time list of the top hashtags currently on Instagram.

Obviously these are curtailed to personal use and there is a business side of Instagram. And using your brand as a hashtag isn’t the only way to utilize hashtags on Instagram.

Check out the top 3 Instagram Trends for Marketers and see how businesses are utilizing what was once a consumer focused site.

How are you using Instagram for your business?

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Suggests Strategies for Handling Negative Feedback

social strategies for negative commentsAs marketers build their online brand presence, one critical area that needs to be addressed is how to handle negative feedback.

Social Media Examiner’s recent research shows that marketers are not prepared for negative feedback.

A recent eMarketer report found that more than half of marketers do not have a plan to handle negative social media posts.

Create a Social Media Policy

If you don’t already have one, now is the time to create a social media policy.

When creating a social media policy or guideline, be sure to include a comment policy and post it publicly on your website as well as social media profiles.

Also specify what language or comments are off limits that might get people blocked from the community.

How to Respond

The worst thing you can do when facing negative comments is not to respond at all. Make sure you respond within the first 24 hours. If the issue needs more attention, then suggest a call or an email address and solve the problem offline.

Poyntner suggests putting together a response plan similar to the Air Force’s flow chart plan. It is a simple, visual guide for your employees to follow when negative comments occur.

Take the Lead

Once the plan is in place, a proactive approach that your company can take is to monitor for all types of online feedback.

Setting up Google Alerts with your company keywords further ensures you are keeping an eye on your brand.

What has worked for your brand?

Creative Concepts Looks at Social Strategies for Public Relations

ID-100256490The intersection of social media and public relations can be a complicated union.

Brands and businesses need to incorporate a process that places social media within the public relations strategy.

Forbes recently wrote “Winning Social Media Strategies for Public Relations” The article highlights social media tips for public relations professionals pulled from a pool of experts.

Here is the list of tips for better social media strategies in public relations.

1. Be brief and don’t be boring. Twitter has forced us to write in shorter snappy snippets. Images combined with messaging are powerful on Instagram and Pinterest. Brevity is key for a sound social strategy.

2. Be newsworthy. Don’t be afraid to tie into a news story. Offer your opinion on it as an expert.

3. Be helpful. Find and follow media folks and offer help. Become a valued resource and keep the sales pitches out of social.

4. Avoid Facebook. Depending on your business, Facebook works with a few strategies such as community outreach, building groups and other brand promotions. But for many other public relations initiatives, you are better served utilizing other social media networks.

5. Be live. Be responsive and real to the public on your social networks. Customer service and crisis communications are key areas in which social networks can extend your reach to customers.

What are some ways your business uses social media for public relations?

Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Examines Facebook Page Changes

ID-10075433New updates seem to come out weekly on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Some updates are simply cosmetic and some updates completely change your marketing strategy for that network.

Social Media Today recently wrote “Your Facebook Page’s Organic Reach is About to Plummet.” Organic page reach has been falling since Facebook has focused on building advertising opportunities on the platform. Historically, Facebook organic page reach fell from an average of 12.05% in October, 2013 to 6.15% in February, 2014. With the newest algorithm changes, organic reach is expected to be at only 1 – 2%.

This Facebook strategy means that businesses with pages will need to pay to play. Their free “trial” is over. Facebook will need to be a budgeted promotional line item. It can still be a very effective advertising tool, but at a cost.

For consumers, Facebook will remain free to use. The downfall for people using Facebook is that their newsfeed will be peppered with more advertising.

What can a business do when social networks make these types of changes?

The most important part of a digital marketing strategy for your business is your website. This is property that you own online and can control. Your website should be the central hub of your online presence. Creating a blog and sharing your expertise is also an effective way to utilize your website and introduce prospects to your company.

Facebook is still an extremely effective promotional tool. If your business page has fans, you already have a group of interested prospects and customers. And with Facebook’s detailed demographics, it is still one of the best ways to reach a targeted group of people at a lower cost than tv, radio and the like.

Social media networks can be channels used to broadcast your messaging, but the central hub of your business online needs to be your website.

 

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks at PR Tools to Boost Productivity

pr toolsPublic relations professionals face many challenges in their day to day roles. In addition to multitasking daily projects, PR pros need to stay on top of the latest news about their industries and clients as well as advances in technology.

We recently wrote about social media tools that brands should be using for effective social media monitoring, listening and interaction. Here are a few PR productivity tools from PR Daily to add to your PR toolkit that are designed to make you work smarter, not harder.

  • Muck Rack Pro – the paid version of Muck Rack connects journalists and sources online. You can receive alerts, organize media lists, send PR pitches, search for journalists and more.
  • Scripted - this online services matches freelance writers to businesses needing copywriting for various content projects like web site copy, white papers, blog posts and more.
  • Boomerang offers free online event management and registration software. Too busy to do it yourself? They also have staff onhand if you need to outsource digital marketing efforts such as email and social media marketing.
  • Dropbox for iPhone - centrally manage your important files and view, upload and share documents, images and media easily and quickly.
  • Rapportive adds a fuller profile of your contacts right inside your inbox. See their picture, contact information and social network handles within your email. And even better, it’s free. I use Rapportive and it’s a really handy tool – like having CRM inside my Gmail.

Some other tried and true public relations resources and tools include:

  • Help A Reporter Out, a free email newsletter that lists journalist queries by topic looking for sources.
  • Fiverr marketplace connects you with a services professional for low cost (starting at $5.00) graphics & design, online marketing, writing & translation, video & animation, music & audio, programming & tech, research and many more online services including fun & bizarre topics.
  • Cision’s EdCals Tool – A free search tool for editorial calendar topics so you won’t miss out on topics related to your business.
  • MailChimp – A free online email marketing service. Design snappy email newsletters for your company and your clients – no IT knowledge required. Service is free up to 2,000 contacts then there is a paid structure by volume.
  • Feedly – Stay on top of industry trends and client & competitor news with this RSS feed reader. Scan the daily headlines while you sip your morning cup of coffee.
  • PicMonkey is an excellent, free online photo editing site. Add text, use filters and create graphics with impact without the headache of Photoshop.
  • Piktochart - Design easy infographics online and share with the world, no design experience required.
  • Powtoon – Create animated videos and presentations with this free business presentation software.
  • Red Stamp – Modern correspondence in a digital world. Send thank you notes and postcards from your iPhone on the fly. They will even mail them for you.
  • Shoeboxed - Scan your travel receipts and submit digital data painlessly with this online service. Free and paid subscriptions.
  • Tweak Your Biz Title Generator – When you need to come up with a snazzy blog post or article headline, this is your bookmark.

What are your favorite PR tools that you can’t live without?

Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks at The State of Google Plus in 2014

ID-10075379Google Plus is a relatively new social network that brands and companies have not yet fully embraced. With more than 1.15 billion users and 201 million active mobile users, Google Plus is certainly a network worth noting.

In November, Nielsen reported the Google Plus site had 29 million visitors who spent an average seven minutes on it, while the app had 41 million visitors who spent 11 minutes.

While it doesn’t have the numbers of Facebook (128 million users on its website and 108 million on phones), Google Plus provides a platform for personal and business use including Hangouts for video communication and the ability to share photos. Various smaller interest groups find that Google Plus Communities allow for communicating privately based on interests such as photography, technology and other topics.

Some folks argue that Google will benefit the most from Google Plus due to the centralized login for all of its properties such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Plus and more. Although Facebook collects lots of consumer personal information and interests for advertisers, Google can connect the dots on someone’s digital life through a variety of their products such as their email contacts, video preferences, map usage, G+ interests as well as web sites visited on the Google ad network.

Some companies are simply on Google Plus to boost their search engine visibility.

That said, the following infographic from wearesocial shows that 70% of the top interbrands are using Google Plus. Whether the network will be successful remains to be seen, although many brands and businesses are starting to embrace it.

Is your company on Google Plus? Why or why not?

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Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Celebrates Chic Stock Photos

stock photosUntil now, a search on a stock photo website typically brought up photos of men and women with strained smiles in severe business suits posing next to antiquated technology like old computers and discontinued cell phones.

Marketing folks on a budget had little to no choices when looking for useful stock photo images for their messaging.

Thankfully Getty Images and Sheryl Sandberg recently partnered to create The Lean In Collection, a collection of over 2,500 images designed to make stock photos of women more empowering.

One look at the Lean In Collection and you can see fresh, interesting images of real people (men and women) in the varied roles people have today in business and in life.

The project is a result of a study commissioned by Pam Grossman, Director of Visual Trends at Getty Images. The study tracked the changes in the representation of girls and women in the media. It evolved into a presentation that she later delivered to Sandberg and the Lean In team at Facebook.

From the website: “We are proud to present the Lean In Collection, a library of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them. Jointly curated by Getty Images and LeanIn.Org – the women’s empowerment nonprofit founded by Sheryl Sandberg – the collection features over 2,500 images of female leadership in contemporary work and life.

A portion of proceeds from the Lean In Collection will go toward the creation of Getty Images grants for images showcasing female empowerment and to supporting the mission of LeanIn.Org.”