More Bang for Your Trade Show Dollars

24 03 2014

(Guest post by Kayla Brown, Intern)

When it comes time for your company to take part in a trade show or an event just showing up isn’t enough and it won’t guarantee the media coverage you are looking for. So this time around shake it up and try something new.KB Headshot

Trade shows offer prime opportunities to showcase your newest products, as well as opportunities to extend and amplify your messages to a broader audience.

Your company has already spent thousands of dollars on a booth, developing messaging and creating a unique experience for your customers and prospects. Why not enhance that by inviting and interacting with the media?

Engaging reporters with interviews and demonstrations will help reinforce your message by earning media coverage, which can add to your credibility and also reach thousands of customers and prospects who could not attend the show.

Best of all, this can be easily achieved. Here are some simple tips:

1. Reach out to media several weeks before the show. Let them know what you’ll be offering such as new products, demonstrations and who will be available for interviews;

2. Set up interviews or demonstration appointments a week or two before the show;

3. Prepare press materials and brief your spokespeople;

4. Have a PR expert handy during the show to engage and pitch reporters on the spot; and

5. Conduct follow-up with the media after the show to answer any questions and make sure they have all the materials they need (press kit / images / etc.).

Of course, social media is another great way to generate extra buzz before, during and after a trade show. Here’s how:

Twitter

Create and promote a #hashtag for your show presence so users can find all related tweets. Also, tweet links that lead media and prospects to where they can find information, especially if they were unable to attend.

Facebook

Post coverage and links on your company’s Facebook page and encourage attendees to “like” your page, so they can post replies, share feedback and learn more.

YouTube

If you have any videos from the show or press conference, edit the footage into short, exciting segments then promote and link videos to your website and other social media sites.

Integrating traditional PR and social media with your trade show activities can maximize your reach, credibility and impact for enhanced marketing ROI.





New Tools, Old Rules: Social Media Policy

5 03 2013

(Post by Jessica Killenberg Muzik, APR, Vice President – Account Services)

When asked about social media policy, I once heard a PR executive sum it up in this way: “It’s just new tools, old rules.

Social media has indeed given professionals a new set of tools in our collective toolbox and with that comes the need for proper use guidelines. The key is developing a social media policy that will help regulate, but won’t smother, the personal and open nature of new media within your company.JK FB color

Here are five key points to keep in mind when establishing a social media policy:

  1. A policy with a purpose. Your social media policy should have a positive purpose behind it, focusing on the things that employees can do, rather than what they can’t do when it comes to posting.
  2. Identify roles for consistency. In any organization, certain individuals are responsible for certain tasks. Pick an administrator (or more than one depending on the size of your company) for your social media sites. The administrator will be responsible for making significant, consistent announcements on behalf of the organization, responding to questions or complaints, and resolving issues.
  3. Encourage good judgment. Social media sites provide a place to be professional and helpful, not an open forum to complain or insult. Employees should be encouraged to post, but to use common sense when doing so. And, if questionable, they can always run a potential post by the social media administrator for approval before posting.
  4. Respect copyrights. Giving proper credit where credit due is a must. Employees should be made aware that they must have permission to use others’ material (with attribution, if necessary) before it is posted.
  5. Prepare for problems. Just as with any policy, there should be basic steps to follow in order to recognize and fix problems to your social media sites in a timely fashion. Again, this is where having an administrator comes in handy.

Bonus tip: Make your policy a living document. Changes and additions should be made as more is learned and experienced. When updating or revising your guidelines, keep communication open between your administrator and employees to leverage feedback. See feedback as an opportunity for continuous improvement.

For some examples of social media guidelines from various companies, see the Social Media Governance website, which has an online database of more than 200 social media policies.





It’s as Easy as ROPE: Social Media Plan Development

19 02 2013

(Post by Jessica Killenberg Muzik, APR, Vice President – Account Services)

In addition to my role at Bianchi PR, I also have the good fortune of teaching a social media course at Wayne State University in Detroit. The reason I say good fortune is, after many years in the PR business, it’s always refreshing to see PR through the eyes of students, eager to make their professional mark on the world.JK FB color

The key to the course is developing and implementing a social media plan. So one of my first questions for the students is this: “Do they still teach ROPE – research, objectives, program / plan and evaluation – as part of the core PR courses?

And, it’s always music to my ears, when I hear a resounding “yes” from the students. Why? Because, as with traditional PR plans, ROPE can also be applied to social media plan development.

If you find yourself being tasked with developing a social media plan for your organization, here are the steps I suggest:

  • Research. Provide a summary of what your company (or client) is currently doing in the social media space. More importantly, research what the competition is doing. Using a case-study, critical-eye approach as to who’s getting it right and who’s getting it wrong, will provide a road map for where you might want to take your efforts.
  • Objectives. Define the goals of your new media plan. Be specific in defining what success will be, so you know what you’re working to achieve at the onset. Tie some realistic measurements / metrics to your efforts – increase in “likes” or followers, amount of engagement, tone of feedback, issues being discussed, etc.
  • Program / Plan. Define who your target audiences are and where they are spending their time online. Define three or four consistent key messages that will be communicated throughout your social media efforts. Define your strategy and tactics, as well as your timeline. What social media application(s) will you be adopting for your organization (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, a blog, etc.)? What will your content be (product / service updates, news releases / announcements, media coverage, technical data / research, event involvement, community involvement, etc.)? What about consistency? How often will your post, blog, etc.?
  • Evaluation. Based on your objectives, how will you measure the success of your new media efforts? You can monitor and measure visitor statistics via your website, Facebook Insights, Word Press, bit.ly, etc. And how often will you measure? You need to be sure to analyze and measure data at set time intervals, so that implementation can be tweaked as necessary.

Have you developed a social media plan? If so, what are some the lessons you have learned? 





Part 5: Creating Social Media Content and Process for the Business Professional

5 06 2012

(Post by Jessica Killenberg Muzik, APR, Vice President – Account Services)

So you’ve created your professional social media accounts … now what?

Continuously creating content is one of the biggest challenges in successfully implementing social media tactics for the business world. In the final two parts of this six-part series, we’ll share some thoughts on content, what to promote, the process, consistency targets and social media measurement.

In order to create content, here is a list of questions you can look to as a guide to help you:

  • What kinds of topics or content would motivate customers / potential customers to engage in a conversation or get in touch with you?
  • What kinds of problems or issues are they tackling? Can you or your company offer tips or advice?
  • What articles, blogs or videos have you seen that might be newsworthy or helpful to share?
  • Are there any issues or topics that you would like other’s people input or insight about?

Mix those general topics and helpful information with content about your company, but be careful not to make it all about you. When promoting yourself and your company via social media, here are some suggestions on what you might want to consider posting, intermittently:

  • News releases / event announcements;
  • Videos / photos (as we often say to our clients “everyone ‘reads’ pictures”);
  • Community involvement stories or photos;
  • Positive media coverage about your company or your industry;
  • Start a discussion on industry trends and issues; and
  • Ask questions / solicit feedback / conduct a poll or survey. (One of our most popular posts is based on an annual survey of identifying the most-hated business buzzwords for communicators and marketers.)

To be consistent with your social media efforts, we recommend establishing a process that you’ll follow time and time again. First, when linking to another source (website, article news release, etc.) shorten the link’s URL by using one of the many URL shortening sites. We like www.bitly.com, as it offers real-time link tracking to measure your social media efforts. Then develop your actual post to accompany the link, writing something that’ll grab attention. And we recommend drafting the post in Word first, so you can do a spell check.

Now you’re ready to post the content to your social media pages. And, yes, post it to all of them. Although it may seem a bit redundant, your various contacts, followers, friends and fans have different preferences for the social media they use — some turn to Twitter, some follow Facebook, and others  like LinkedIn. By hitting all your outlets, even though you may customize the posta bit  to fit the unique qualities of each platform, you can ensure that your content isn’t missed.

  • For LinkedIn, we recommend posting to your personal account first, then to your company’s business page and finally to all appropriate groups you belong to.
  • For Twitter, remember to make sure your Tweet comes at 130 or fewer characters, so it can be easily re-tweeted by others and still meet the 140-character limit. Use a shortened URL to save space, and consider using a hashtag for increased searchability.
  • For Facebook, again use a catchy headline and shortened URL, as well as pictures and video.

Now, the big question is: as a professional, how much time should you dedicate to social media?

We’ll cover that in our final part of this series, as well as measurement and some closing thoughts on social media for business.








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