How to Work with Journalists by Adapting Your Media Strategies

Storytelling in the Age of Social News Consumption

Journalism and media relations is ever-changing in the age of social news consumption. Understanding and adapting to the changing social landscape helps brands and public relations pros work more efficiently with journalists, which can establish and strengthen relationships with them.

The Edelman Media Network teamed with NewsWhip and Muck Rack to study news consumption in the age of social media. The study uncovered how journalists are adapting and how 76 percent of them feel more pressure to think about their story’s potential to get shared on social platforms.

The study took a deep dive into what ingredients made news stories social in 2014 across five sectors to better understand how media strategies must adapt. 

4 Ways to Adapt Media Strategies

  1. Craft an Inherently Shareable Story: Journalists are increasingly leveraging these five ingredients to create stories that are more shareable: 

    – Imagery (visual images and video is a must in social)

    – Localization

    – Trending topics

    – Having a human voice

    – Brevity

    Takeaway: Social amplification can no longer be an after-thought; harness social, paid and owned channels.

     

  2. Deepen Relationships with Journalists: Many journalists use Twitter to build their own brand, so it’s a great way to establish and strengthen relationships with them long before you pitch a story to them. Also, 64 percent of journalists surveyed prefer that you follow up a story pitch by email and not by phone. If you have a relationship with a journalist, you’ll know his or her preference; and by following it accordingly, it will only help strengthen your relationship with him or her.

    Takeaway: Cultivating relationships and catering to journalists’ preferences has always been key, but the added layer is harnessing social (particularly Twitter) and mastering pitching in a digital and mobile world is crucial to today’s social landscape.

     

  3.  Help News Organizations to Create Original Content:  News organizations are shifting internally for visual content development. Most journalists prefer video created by their own news organization and not corporate or branded videos.

    Takeaway: Pre-plan and offer assets to help media outlets create their own content or partner with them and co-create.

     

  4. See What’s Over the Horizon: Journalists surveyed see five changes in 2015:

    – Mobile-friendly content

    – Quicker turnaround

    – More (original) video

    – Smaller and more focused staff

    – Rising social influence

    Takeaway: Mirror modern newsrooms and package assets to help media turn stories around quickly across digital and social platforms.

For more details, see infographic:

Storytelling in the Age of Social News Consumption [INFOGRAPHIC]SOURCE: Edelman

 

Is Your Business on the Right Social Networks?

social media: one size does not fit all

Whether your business is just starting on social media or you’ve been doing it for a while now but questioning its value, this infographic from Mainstreethost can help you determine which social networks are right for your business.

It’s better to pick one or two social networks that fit your business and then work on connecting and building relationships with colleagues, customers and potential customers on that social network. Learning the ins and outs of your chosen social networks and building a community on each takes time, so stick with one or two and do it well rather than jumping on all of them and barely being visible.

With the new year approaching, now is a good time to start your social media marketing planning for 2015. Do a social media audit of your current social media channels. If there is one that’s not giving you the return you would like, then it’s time to either revamp your strategy or maybe it’s time to ditch that social network and dedicate the time on the one(s) that are giving you a return.

The below infographic will help you determine which social networks are right for your business.

Which Social Networks Are Right for Your Business

Infographic Source: www.mainstreethost.com

9 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

9 Mistakes Business Make on Social Media

Anyone who does social media marketing has made mistakes. We all have. In the early days of social media it was all about trial and error (and still is to some degree). However, there are lessons learned along the way that have taught us what works and what doesn’t.

Every business is at different stages of the learning curve and adopting best practices for social media. Also, what works for one business may not work for another. But there are some social media basics that all businesses should learn and adopt.

To help you improve on some of those social media basics, see the nine mistakes that Jason Squires has pointed out in his infographic: 9 Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media.

Are you making any of these social media marketing mistakes?

  1. Focusing on the Quantity of Followers, Not the Quality
  2. Not Posting Engaging Content Regularly
  3. Not Converting Followers into Paid Customers
  4. Focusing on Too Many Social Media Channels
  5. Having No ‘Brand Personality’
  6. Spamming (too many ‘salesy’ updates)
  7. Doing Everything Manually
  8. Broadcasting the Same Message Across All Channels
  9. Not Having a Strategy At All

No worries if you are making some of these mistakes. What’s important is that now that you know, you can stop and adjust course. To drill down on each, see the infographic below:

9 Mistakes Businesses Make on Social Media infographic

 

The Best (and Worst) Times to Post on Social Media

The Best (and Worst) Times to Post on Social Media

With any good social media marketing strategy you need to know when to post and when not to post in order to maximize exposure and engagement.

It’s important to keep an eye on when your fans and followers are online. This varies for each brand and social channel. Also, it can change over time, so it’s good to check periodically and adjust your posting schedule accordingly.

In addition to knowing your own audience, it’s also good to know in general the best and worst times to post for each social network.

Why? Because consumer behavior is always changing. It’s good to know when the majority of people are online across each network so you can reach new people and continue to grow your audience and increase engagement, and ultimately, your sales.

Check out this infographic from SurePayroll on the best and worst times to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

Courtesy of: SurePayroll

 

5 Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Ads

5 Tips for Getting Started with Facebook Ads from Sandi Krakowski

If you’re a small business owner or “solopreneur” who hasn’t taken Facebook ads for a test drive yet, you should seriously consider it. Facebook ads aren’t just for big brands with big ad budgets. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs are seeing great success with Facebook ads.

The great thing about Facebook advertising is that for as little as $10 a day, you can see dramatic results.

To get you started, check out these great tips from Sandi Krakowski of A Real Change that she recently shared on Facebook’s business blog:

1. Understand Your Goals

“The ads that I run — along with my images, copy and calls to action — are intended to get people to sign up for one of my courses and services. Depending on your business goal, you may want to try different approaches for your ads.”

“Whether it’s getting sales on your website, getting people into your store or just getting the word out about your business, Facebook offers a number of ad-types that match your goal. There’s everything from promoting your website or your Page, boosting posts directly from your Page with advanced targeting, all the way to remarketing to your website visitors and using lookalike audiences to find more people like your best customers. Whichever approach you use, it should align with the goal of getting you more business.”

2. Start with a Simple Boost of a Page Post

“Boosting the content you share on your Page is a great way to get started with advertising on Facebook. You can target different audiences every few days, at different days and times every week, and then go into Ads Manager to see what’s working. You can also use Page Insights to see more data on the demographics of your audience, and see how people are discovering and responding to your posts. In a short amount of time you’ll be learning a lot about your audience. All of the sudden, your audience is telling you what they want and you’ll really begin to engage with your customers.”

3. Start with a Modest Budget

“Small business owners can get started advertising on Facebook with any amount that they choose. Even small budgets can begin to show real results, especially when you test different strategies against your objectives, such as different images or copy. Using Ads Manager, you’ll be able to see what’s getting a reaction and which ads are performing best. You can then learn from the data for future ads. And if you have a physical location, you can create offers so your customers will come into your store telling you they saw the offer on Facebook.”

4. Focus on Using Good Imagery

“Eye-catching images that are unique and relevant to your products and services are a big driver in creating compelling ads. Pay attention to image quality, colors that stand out in News Feed, as well as keeping text to less than 20% of your image. Again, like every other aspect of your ad strategy, you’re going to want to test different approaches and then measure the results in Ads Manager and Page Insights to learn what works for you. And if you don’t have high quality images, try using some of the professional stock images that Facebook provides. They’re free, and can help make your ads look a lot better.”

5. Experiment with Different Targeting Options

“When you run ads on Facebook, you can reach all kinds of different audiences. The most important thing is to find the audiences that are the most relevant to your business and deliver messages to them that are meaningful to them and to your business. Again, it goes back to understanding your goals. Once you have a clear idea of your goals, it’s just a matter of making sure the objectives you choose for your ads align with those goals. Any small business owner is going to know their customers, so it just becomes a matter of matching those customers with audiences on Facebook. Once you become comfortable with that process, and want to move to the next level, you can even use your existing customer lists to reach those customers on Facebook using Custom Audiences.”

I only recently learned of Sandi, but have quickly become a fan of hers. She’s spot-on with her advice and tips, but what I love even more about her is her passion and her purpose to help people not only succeed in business but to find their calling and their life’s purpose.

To learn more about Sandi, visit her website at A Real Change.

3 Content Creation Strategies To Help Your Business Prosper

Content Creation Strategies That Will Help Your Business

Content marketing is all the rage these days. But with everyone creating content and sharing curated content, the digital landscape is pretty noisy. To stand out from the crowd and gain more social shares you need to create content that’s engaging, informative, entertaining and amusing.

To help your business prosper, you’ll want to incorporate these three content creation strategies and tips for each:

Written Content

  1. Use bullet points for easy to read content
  2. Keep content short, sweet and to the point
  3. Add images and videos
  4. Evoke emotions: awe, laughter and amusement

Social Media Content

  1. Make sure URLs are short (use services such as Bit.ly or Ow.ly)
  2. Post where you know that your audience is hanging out and engaging
  3. Post often, but don’t make every social media post a link to a new blog or piece of content
  4. Engage with others

Video Content

  1. Invest in HD quality videos and use high quality graphics in their production
  2. Keep your video content under two minutes
  3. Add a call to action at the end of your video
  4. Add your logo to the intro and end of your video

To see other popular content types and more info and data behind each of the above strategies (that are from Neil Patel of Quick Sprout), check out Neil’s informative infographic:

3 Content Creation Strategies That Will Help You Prosper
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?

Whether your business is new to social media marketing or you have already jumped in with both feet, it’s important to know which social media platforms are right for your business when you’re first starting out. If you already started then it’s good to reassess each platform and your social media marketing strategy for each from time to time.

You don’t need to be on all of them, and just because one social media platform is more popular than another that doesn’t mean your business should be on it if that’s not where your audience is.

Knowing who you want to reach and where they hang out on social media is critical. Check out this infographic from Merchant Money  to help you determine which social media platforms are best for your business.

Social Media and Business – Which Platform is Right for Your Business?

Facebook Gets Personal with Small Business Owners

Facebook Fit at Facebook Headquarters

This summer Facebook went on the road with its Facebook Fit tour to meet face-to-face with small business owners in New York, Miami, Chicago, Austin, Texas and Menlo Park, Calif.. The purpose of Facebook Fit was to make Facebook more personal to small business owners by meeting them in person, talking face-to-face and teaching them how to better use Facebook to grow their businesses and achieve success.

Yesterday at Facebook headquarters about 350 small business owners, including myself, attended the last stop on the Facebook Fit tour. The morning started out at Hacker Square where digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong welcomed attendees. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg talked about the importance of supporting small businesses. Dan Levy, director of small business at Facebook gave the keynote and that was followed by a small business panel Q&A moderated by Rhonda Abrams, small business expert, author and USA Today columnist.

On the panel was four small businesses: Andrew Chau of Boba Guys, Julie Shenkman of Sam’s Chowder House, Nadia Aly of Scuba Diver Life, and Amy Norman of Little Passports. All of them shared their experiences of how they leveraged Facebook to grow their businesses.

Of course the topic of organic reach dramatically decreasing in recent months came up and the common theme was that they were perfectly fine with it and understood the reasoning behind it, which is it helps give Facebook users a better experience and higher quality content in their news feed and it encourages businesses to produce and share better content.

“I have seen a decrease in the organic reach and I’m completely OK with it. The reason for that is Facebook is changing its algorithms to make sure that people see the material that they want to see. If people aren’t clicking on my organic posts or sharing them, it’s because it’s not a great piece of content for them,” Amy Norman of Little Passports said.

She also talked about paying to advertise, which all four businesses on the panel do as part of their Facebook strategy. Norman said that she doesn’t mind paying for advertising because, “it’s ROI-positive.” She also added that she has spent $1 million on Facebook ads.

That’s a lot of ad dollars for a small business, but if she’s getting positive ROI then it’s ad dollars well spent.

The second part of the day moved inside where there were breakout training sessions. The first set of trainings were:

  • Online Sales:How to use Facebook to increase sales on your website

  • In-Store Sales: How to optimize Facebook to bring more people into your store

  • Getting Started:How to start using Facebook for your business

The second set included partner trainings:

  • Intuit QuickBooks: Six Things I Wish I Knew to Succeed as a Small Business Owner

  • LegalZoom: Navigating the SMB Legal Landscape

  • Square: Selling Made Simple

I attended the Online Sales session, which was focused on how Facebook was an end-to-end solution and the best ways to increase sales using Facebook. Most of the session was spent on how to best target with Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, and the importance of conversion tracking combined with optimized CPM.

I also attended the Intuit QuickBooks 6 Things I Wish I Knew to Succeed as a Small Business Owner given by Leslie Barber, Small Business Champion at Intuit QuickBooks. I won’t go in depth on each but the six points she presented are:

  1. Follow Your Passion: And Don’t Let Go

  2. Cash is King

  3. Hire Smart (“hire slow, fire fast.” Bad hires cost you.

  4. Launching with Partners? Communicate!

  5. Protect Yourself From The Unexpected

  6. The buck stops with you, but… (ask for help…and go with your gut, not everything is data driven)

In addition to the sessions there were stations set up in the hallways where attendees could speak with the Facebook creative team, Facebook ads team, Intuit QuickBooks reps and Square reps. Also, both Rhonda Abrams and Mario Armstrong were on hand for one-on-one time with attendees who were in need of advice from the experts. They were popular because both of them had long lines.

I must admit that the best part of the day for me was getting one-on-one time with the Facebook ads team. One of the factors that have made it challenging for small businesses is that they have pretty much gone it alone because Facebook only provides ad reps to bigger brands and businesses who have big ad budgets.

Facebook is now realizing the value of small businesses and is becoming more accessible, which is why they embarked on the Facebook Fit tour. If you’re a small business who wants to connect with Facebook and get your questions answered or get help with a particular ad or issue, you can get answers from Facebook’s Help Center, Community and also the Ads team by visiting its Resources page and its Business page.

And as a side note, we all left with some swag. We had a choice between a gym bag or canvas book bag (I picked the gym bag pictured below). In it was a Square reader, headphones from QuickBooks, Facebook Fit t-shirt and water bottle, stickers and a $50 ad credit coupon code. Thanks Facebook!

Facebook Fit swag

QuickBooks also invited all Facebook Fit attendees to come to the Intuit QuickBooks Connect conference in October for free (they gave us a free registration code). Thanks Intuit QuickBooks!

Overall, it was a good event and I look forward to future events that Facebook does for small businesses.

Ritz-Carlton’s “Six Word Wows” Campaign Is Succinct Storytelling, Perfect For Social Media

The Ritz-Carlton’s “Six Word Wows” campaign encourages guests to share their Ritz-Carlton memories in a creative and pithy way using only six words and tagging them with #RCMemories. Of course, the hashtag doesn’t count toward the six words. An example, “Honeymoon Misfortune. Aloha Recreated. Love Prevails.” Or this one:

The Six Word Wows campaign is a perfect fit for social media because it’s succinct storytelling. With social media, people have very short attention spans so this is something they can quickly enjoy and move on. For those sharing their own Six Word Wows, it doesn’t require much time — after all it’s only six words — so you’re not asking for a big time commitment like some campaigns where you might have the person shoot and edit a video.

The latest campaign fits nicely into the brand’s ongoing positioning as a creator of happy memories. The Six Word Wows campaign is actually an extension of an internal program that started 30 years ago to celebrate memories made at Ritz-Carlton resorts.

In addition, the Ritz-Carlton also encourages guests to share their photos from their visits by using the #RCMemories hashtag, and select photos are showcased on Ritz-Carlton’s Instagram page.

To learn more about the Six Word Wows campaign, read Clickz’s Ritz-Carlton Gets Social With “Six Word Wows”

Are You Haphazard About Content Marketing In Your Small Business?

You’re not alone!

According to a survey by BoostSuite, a company that helps small businesses optimize their websites. BoostSuite surveyed thousands of small businesses and uncovered some revealing facts in its The State of Small Business Content Marketing in 2014 infographic.

Most small businesses spend two hours per content marketing piece with much of it focused on blog posts:

image

Most content marketing by small businesses lack data and are missing out on one of the most important channels, email marketing:

image

Many small businesses are not cross promoting their content marketing (hence, making more work for themselves) and their doing it alone instead of leveraging partners:

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To view the full infographic and read BoostSuite’s post, visit: The State of Small Business Content Marketing in 2014 [Infographic]

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