Tag Archives: social media

The Business Case for Social Media Keeps Growing

Last month, I updated a previous post about the importance of earned media to your SEO strategy. And at the rate  social media changes, looks like I have another reason to post an update on how the business case for social media keeps growing.

This morning I was reading Media Bistro’s All Twitter article abut how hugely important social media signals are to a strong SEO ranking. Not just important, but hugely important.  No surprises here, but I think the article does have some awesome nuggets to share.

  • Seven of the top ten important SEO rankings come for social media (debatable, but I think the author provides some good assertions)
  • Several technical factors play a role in SEO: length of url, position of key words, etc.
  • Quality Content is still important.

You can check out the image.

All of this is to say, that I love articles that say what you already know. Social media is not a nice to have, but a necessity. I think at the speed in which social media is growing is scary, perhaps fearful, but that’s why you need to embrace change now.

This is why folks are fighting for corporate change in their organizations to be more social. And let’s be clear, being a social business is not just about marketing, it is about the whole business. Be the disruptive change or diva in your organization to usher social media into the business. You will need to start small because change is hard, but the reward is huge. Rewards for businesses who get that social media is more than just clicks and likes, will be:

  • More profitable. (think Zappos)
  • Better connected with their clients and prospects
  • Mostly have better internal engagement with employees
  • Understanding of real time trends

Nobody wants to say no to more profits, but sometimes infusing this type of change takes a long, long time. It takes planning, strategy, bravery, and guts to get this done. Are you up for the challenge?

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Fun Fact Fridays: 23 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Social

Fun Fact Fridays: 23 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Social

Last week, I attended the Vocus Demand Success conference. Fantastic event. My favorite part of any conference is the opportunity to meet new people and share ideas on how to do things. Lots of things like digital journalism, e-mail marketing, content creation, and social media.

Lots of folks were talking about social media, starting a company blog, and other fun marketing best practices. But, I could tell there was some skepticism in the crowd when hearing the presenters speak. Not always, but there were a few folks who would share, “well you had resources” or “In my organization,…”

But I think all of this stems from one issue.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher 23 tips to mange the fear of social media

artwork by flip-wood.deviantart.com

Questions, concerns, and fear all stem from the same source: control or the lack of it.  The reason why most organizations resist using social media or embarking on a blog is

1) What will we do (Lack of a Plan)?

2) What will we share (Content)?

3) Who will manage the message? Who will run the editorial calendar? Who will edit my copy (Control)?

4) If we put our ideas down on paper will it stink (Lack of Ideas.  At least a clear direction of what you should write about)?

5) What if people don’t like my content (Understanding your Audience)?

So how do you overcome fear if people will resist the change your want to create? Here a few of my favorite tools to deal with the fear monster:

  1. Learn to paint the picture of what your ideal social looks like. Love this Tedex from Nancy Duarante on how to tell a great story.
  2. Outline your goals and objectives (P.O.S.T).
  3. Before you begin, assess where you been and where you want to go, a.k.a audit.
  4. Plan some more. Most projects don’t see the light of day because you didn’t do your homework. You already know you won’t get all your resources for this project so plan for it.
  5. Change is Hard, but it will get better.
  6. Welcome Haters. They motivate you to do better.
  7. Accept Failure. Failure can teach you a lot of what not to do the next time.
  8. Priorities. Help those around you and yourself. Pick three area/projects and as you progress you can add more.
  9. Focus on your wins. Small wins lead to big wins later.
  10. Do Internal PR campaign on your wins. Sharing where you have been and where you are going helps others get it.
  11. Keep Your Head up! Easier said than done, but social communications is hard work! Really you are in the business of change management.
  12. Ted Rubin shares how to get over the “what if”
  13. Find a support group of other like-minded folks. LinkedIn has tons!
  14. Network with people who are doing social communications successfully.
  15.  Mark Ivey wrote a great article highlighting the importance of communicating in social media
  16. Get an executive champion.
  17. Constantly evaluate where you are in relation to your goals.
  18.  Put your big girl pants on. This isn’t for the weak of heart.
  19.  In order for this to work, you need vision. Goes back to point one.
  20. Coffee or caffeine. You will be busy managing this change management project.
  21. Social Communications isn’t one and done. Social takes time.
  22. Create advocates
  23. Be disruptive
  24.  Bonus

The Undervalue of a Thank You

Very excited to write about the undervalue or under appreciation of a thank you. It something I have noodled on for a while. A recent experience reminded me of the importance of saying thank you and how it can benefit you personally and professionally.

Last week, I attended Vocus Demand Success conference at the National Harbor. If you missed the conference, check out these Storify links of day one and day two that covered a lot of great information on marketing, social media, public relations, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, to name a few.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet Arianna Huffington, as she was the keynote for the conference this year. If you don’t know who Arianna is, she is chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. Essentially, she’s one badass lady and a powerful businesswoman.

Rachel Metscher Undervalue of Saying Thank you

Arianna Huffington and Me

To say I was excited to meet her is an understatement. When I met her, I blurted out a lot, but from what I remember, I mentioned how much I enjoyed her talk and then explained how my company contributes to Huffington’s new blogs, Girls in Stem. I couldn’t help myself and let’s be honest; I wouldn’t be a PR person if I didn’t, right?  The next phrase out her mouth was completely unexpected, “thank you for contributing [to our blog].  You are doing great things.”

Wow, I thought, how awesome is that! But there are a few things to note: First, I am confident that she didn’t know me or the company I represent. Two, her compliment and appreciation was not fake, but genuine. Those few words meant a lot and I shared those with my coworkers and my team. But, it also reminded me how we, as managers, employees, and leaders forget about the value of just saying, “thanks.” It didn’t take a whole lot, but boy did it leave an impression

Is this act of kindness an anomaly? What type of impact does showing gratitude have on a business? Mark Goulston wrote an article for Harvard Business Review back in February covering gratitude. My favorite part of the article was research by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino that showed saying thank you not only results in reciprocal generosity — where the thanked person is more likely to help the thanker — but also stimulates pro-social behavior in general. In other words, saying “thanks” increases the likelihood your employee will not only help you, but also help someone else.

If it takes so little effort to say thanks then why is saying, “thank you” not valued? Here are a few observations, at least from my perspective:

  • You have to mean it.
  • You have to care.
  • Too many folks are focused on their interests or getting what they need done first without consideration of the other person.
  • People don’t think outside of themselves. Goes back to caring and nurturing.
  • It takes extra time. Those valuable seconds seem like eternity for some.
  • There’s no priority to show gratitude. Foolish really if you think about it. Everything you do involves people. Saying thanks doesn’t always have to involve monetary terms.

Gratitude cost nothing and more people should stop and thank the people they interact or work with. If you just took a moment to say thanks, imagine what type of reaction you would get in that moment. Imagine how much easier future interactions  would be? I bet those would be a lot more pleasant.

Why is Earned Media Important to Your SEO Strategy?

Update 6.19.13

After reading about Google’s Penguin 2.0 updates, I wanted to update my past article about earned media.  If you are keeping up on the new updates from Google’s Penguin 2.0, you have learned that off-page signals such as earned media will play a bigger role in your search engine optimization (SEO) practices. Earn media helps build authority.  I don’t think that is a surprise to most PR folks.  However, I think that this latest updates shows not only that relevant, worthy content is vital to your SEO strategy, but also supports and builds a case for your public relations work.

Content Marketing Institute wrote a great article about the recent changes, but you want to pay close attention to point four. An excerpt from the article is what makes me smile: Takeaway #4: Earned media and digital PR can help you recover from Panda. Driving a variety of quality digital signals is a future-proof SEO strategy. Having a broad diversification of off-page signals communicates authority and trust to Google. Content marketing and digital PR folks who primarily rely on their compelling content to drive search engine traffic should be smiling now because the future looks bright for them. It looks bright because with each algorithm update, Google gets even better at rewarding good content from authoritative people and brands.

So what does this mean to you?

  • Social mentions of your earn media is important. Make sure you are sharing those placements on your social channels.
  • If you have placed your earn media bets on trades, you have bet well. Keep it up! National coverage is always a plus, but building your authority in your market is equally important. No surprises there.
  • CMI mentions the importance of my favorite underused site, Slideshare. If you have presentations that have worthy, interesting points about your market or best practices, start up loading today. this will help with authority and off-page signals.
  • Authority is important to Google. Build those expertises through your content, but also getting your experts in the market through interviews, articles, podcasts, etc.

Previously published article from May 13, 2013.

Last week, I attended an amazing webinar from the folks at Vocus on earned media and how you should be using it more in your PR toolkit. I also created a Storify thread with all the great nuggets shared from the presentation.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, earned media is what others say about you whether it is in print or online media (think Twitter, Facebook, etc.). I believe earned media is the new media for the modern PR practitioner: PR folks are now working on placement not only with reporter from national or regional publications, but also bloggers, Twitter influencers, and other new media targets.

Why is it important? Earned media, in theory, is unbiased and unsolicited. When folks go to Google and search for your company, they can find all kinds of reactions and social shares that are unfiltered and not corporate speak. By far, earned media is the most trusted place as a source of information about a company (see below chart).

Earned Media: Most Trusted

Convergence of PR and Social Media

Why is earned media getting so much attention these days? I think the biggest reason fueling the concept is the convergence of public relations and social media. PR folks traditionally have been working on messaging and with the growth of social media, it makes sense we are blending our efforts to cover both social and traditional media. What I believe is different about earned media it is no longer just about what companies put in print, but rather what other influencers such as clients or advocates are saying. It is more of a blended world where everyone has a say. Not many corporate executives understand  they do not control the message megaphone when it comes to its company’s brand online and with social media. Organizations need to understand while they cannot control, they can influence.

Use Earned Media as an Opportunity to Share More

So many things you can do with a blog post or article such as sponsor a story, post it to your Google + account, Promote it on Twitter, or Syndicate the content.

So many things you can do with a blog post or article such as sponsor a story, post it to your Google + account, Promote it on Twitter, or Syndicate the content.

What struck me about this presentation was that this concept is new for most folks. If you are not repurposing your media coverage for other opportunities, you are missing out big time. The biggest opportunity is to take the coverage that is already written by someone else and use it for promotional or other marketing efforts. Hello! It is already trusted and valued since it is coming from someone else. Extend the life of your media coverage by using earned media as your hub for content.   Boom! There goes your reach by four times.

Sold? Learn More about Earned 

Earned media maybe new for you, but this concept of earned media is coming up more and more in the last few years. If you’re interested in learning more, Jeremiah Owyang from the Altimeter Group, wrote about the concept of earned media last year in the report, The Converged Media Imperative: How Brands Must Combine Paid, Owned & Earned Media from Altimeter Group Network on SlideShare.

What Does Social Media and Online Dating Have in Common?

Recently, I was chatting with a friend about her recent online dating shenanigans.  As she began painting the picture of Mr. Right Now, I was intrigued by what led her to pick her date’s profile. How do you pick one profile out of many? Our conversation went a little like this..

Me: “So, why did you pick this guy?”

Friend: “He put ninjas on his can’t live without list.”

Me: “Ninjas?”

Friend: “Yup, ninjas. It was apart of his favorite things list. Like, I like wine, running, and ninjas. How could I not go out with him at least once.”

Whether ninjas are your thing or not, it proves that sometimes you need to add a little dash of unexpected to your social media activities. What struck me is what her reaction was. First, it was laughter. Second, intrigue of who is this guy?

While I don’t anticipate anyone of us putting ninjas in our profile for kicks, I think it proves a few points that we all could incorporate in our social media activities.

  • Be interesting. Sometimes unexpected is what gets someone attention. I think about this in terms of profiles on Twitter. Here is a great list of some of the best twitter bios.
  • Paint a vivid picture. As I written previously about storytelling, it important to paint a picture. Love the ideas someone thought it would be funny to put ninjas on his profile.
  • Funny can be good. While your social media presence represents your brand, I think funny is always good if you’re comfortable with sharing.

Six More Tips For Building a Social Media Roadmap

Last Friday, I published an article in MarketingProfs that outlined a roadmap to create social media strategy rather than tactic. So far, it is generating a lot of conversation on why you must first outline goals and strategies before jumping metaphorically into the social pool.

It has been several months since I wrote this article. Given a fresh set of eyes and points readers have made,  I wanted to add to my to my list of five. Here are some more thoughts to building a successful social media roadmap.

Measurement

One of the readers commented that measurement needed to move up on the priority list. Fair statement, but I think first before any measurement can be assessed, your organization needs to have the framework in place first. Logically putting measurement first doesn’t make sense unless the framework is in place.

Expertise

If social is going to work in your organization, you need to be an expert at leading implementation of strategy and tactic. It is really important to understand this ever-changing business beyond deliver and promotion. I talk a lot about that social media is merely a vehicle to a human need we all have:  we want to belong and connect with others. Whether it was the writing, talking on the phone, sending an e-card of funny cats, we all want to communicate with others and share. If you forget social media is about learning, sharing, and experiencing you will treat this channel like an other communication channel such as e-mail or direct mail. Don’t forget the human that is behind those tweets or LinkedIn posts.

Tough Conversations Ahead

One of the commenters discussed the importance of presence on major social channels. I wouldn’t say you need to have a presence on every channel, but  think really hard what value you bring to your future clients, curent customers, and marketplace. If you are in a small department or the only resource dedicated to social media it’s hard to be everywhere. Pick and choose where you bring real value. Solve for the Customer first. Your ego is last.

No Matter How Hard You Plan, Folks Will Still Focus on the Shiny Object

Image brought to you by http://livingsu.syr.edu/. Go Orangemen!

Image brought to you by http://livingsu.syr.edu/. Go Orangemen!

Make no illusions that focusing on strategy rather than tactic is hard. Really hard. You will inevitably have higher ups or your manager just plainly say, ” We need to be on X.” Change this conversation around by performing a content audit of what your currently have to share. Without thinking about the content you will share or the value you provide, then it is about you rather than the customer. Get ready to have a lot of discussion about this. You may win some and you could lost some. Pick your battles wisely.

Don’t Forget the impact to Brand

Every been on Twitter and looked up a brand that has 10 different handles? Think long and hard why different business units or products need their own space. Ultimately, in my opinion, your are splitting your audience and your efforts. When possible keep your audience together.

Social Media is Not a Short Term Game

One of the readers talked about what ways can you get folks on board to be a more social business. I wish there were a silver bullet for adoption, but there isn’t. What you can do is be clear on what you want to achieve and how each person’s contribution supports your strategy. Here is the excerpt to my response:

First, and most important, everyone needs to be trained and understand his or her contributing role to social media. I think some folks are not interested because of time or not sure how this relates to their day job. So you have to be explicit what you are asking from them. Liz Bullock, formerly of Dell, did a great job outlining how she implemented company-wide adoption, http://www.slideshare.net/LizBullock1/achieve-buy-in-at-all-levels-creating…. Second, I think getting folks on board with social media is like any other change management project; you need to set expectations, training, evaluate what works (or doesn’t) and repeat. Another read worth considering, is Altimeter report on the career path of a social strategist, http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/career-social-strategist . It helped me put in context that some of the challenges were not unique to just me, but anyone who’s working on getting social media accepted in their organization.

Overall, it is a fun ride to to implement and gain company-wide adoption of social media. If you are up to the challenge, buckle up!

Fun Fact Fridays: 8 Tips to Humanize Your Brand through Social Media

I had the chance to catch up with a former client about the success of his business. While he has double his business over the last few years, he is always looking for marketing advice. And I am always happy to give my two cents on how to use social media to drive awareness and traffic to your website. Over lunch, the conversation went from marketing to the benefits of social media and how it could humanize his brand.

We started chatting about how to get people to his site.  The usual tactics were employed: we have a blog; we work with our affinity partners, etc.

Then I started peppering him with questions like:

“Great, you have blog. How often are you updating it, are you consistently publishing relevant and informative content, have you optimized the blog for keywords, do your employees share the information with others, are your employees contributing to the blog?”

Then I ask my favorite question, “ Are you using social coupled with your blog to personalized the people in your company?”

His answer: Well…We should do more.

Our conversation got me thinking about how to humanize brands. While I am not a proponent of tactics driving strategy for social media, I think you first need to consider why your company should be social.  You need to have

People. Objective. Strategy. Technology

People. Objective. Strategy. Technology

purpose in your company’s social media efforts, it is all about P.O.S.T.

If you need a reason, here is one: social media is creating a two-way dialogue with people. Social media also produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC according to a recent study by Hubspot this year.

And let’s be clear, people are searching for your product or company way before they pick up the phone or send an email of interest. While the sales process is not necessarily longer, however, prospects have more resources to research your product online. Why not give them information to support each stage of the buying cycle.

So here are some tactics to consider;

1)   If you don’t have folks outside marketing contributing to your blog. Start today. You need employees to share industry news and trends. 

2)   Anyone working for your company should be positively promoting your organization through sharing industry news or company articles not always about you, but topics your current and potential customers care about.

3)   Worried that folks don’t get social media? Give them a playbook to help them understand how to use it professionally.

4)   People need guidelines, consider creating a social media policy.

5)   Don’t expect people to jump in and understand what you want them to do socially, train them.

6)   Have employees contribute to your blog on their interest.

7)   Encourage your folks to follow your social media channels and reshare to their followers.

8)   Be the influence and guide by your example.

Bonus. You need content to share right? Start using your employees to generate content for your blog

1)   The number on rule for your blog should be S.F.T.C (Solve for the Customer).

2)   Interview both employees and clients for the blog using a Q and A format.

3)   Have clients share best practices.

4)   Blogs are not exclusively for executives. Everyone should contribute.

5)   If you don’t make the blog a priority, no one else will.