Thursday, April 23, 2015

Are you ready for Mobile-geddon?

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Relations, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Mobile-geddon is the term being used to describe the latest changes being launched by Google. The changes favor websites that are “mobile-friendly” thanks to Google’s new search algorithm use to locate websites based on your search terms. Those websites that are smartphone ready with large text that’s easy to read, well-spaced links and mobile-friendly plug-ins will be ranked higher on your smartphone and tablet.

That’s good news for those businesses that have upgraded their website and are mobile-friendly. But it could be very harmful for those that aren’t. Overall, it’s reported that only 38 percent of businesses have mobile-friendly websites, while the figure drops to about one in five for small businesses (according to the National Small Business Administration’s 2013 technology survey).  

As more and more of us surf the web on our smartphones – now estimated to be 60 percent of all web traffic – this is a significant change. Google says “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their handheld devices.”

For businesses that rely on the web to drive traffic and sales, Google is sending a strong message – be sure your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, it’s time for a redesign. Your Google rankings depend on it.
Does your business rely on the web to bring customers through your door? Does your website need an overhaul to be mobile-friendly?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Generational Bias

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
When you’re in the communications business, you need to reach people in ways that are most effective. That means you have to know your audience and use proven methods to reach them. However, we’ve seen a growing trend among all age groups we work with to only want to communicate in the ways they personally get their information. We’ve dubbed it generational media bias.

Now, I know this probably has you thinking, “Yah, those over 50 CEOs always want to go to the newspapers or local TV to distribute their news.” Sometimes that’s true. In the past, we used to hear that a lot; especially when social media wasn’t widely used. But what’s been surprising to us is that we are now seeing generational bias more frequently coming from younger professionals who believe the only way anyone is getting their news these days is via social media. If you’re not new and innovative, you’re old news. That way of thinking is as dangerous as hanging on to “old school” approaches that may no longer work for your audience.

The truth is, traditional, online and social media, plus other methods of communication, should all be considered when you’re trying to reach your target audience. The ultimate decision as to what you actually use should be tailored to how your target audience gets its information. It’s that simple.

If you don’t know, do your research. Ask your clients, customers and target audiences, conduct surveys or polls and review best practices in the industry. Remember, just because you get your information one way, or you think it’s the latest and best method of communication, it doesn’t mean your target audience thinks the same. As communicators, we all have to put generational biases aside if we want our messages to be heard.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Badgers season shows us all the power of sports and social media.

By: Steve Scaffidi, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Spring isn't just about daffodils and watching our lawns slowly turn green after a long winter of hibernation. It's also the time when college basketball takes over the weekends and this year in Wisconsin, the Badgers took us all along on a great journey. Although it ended with a loss to Duke in the championship game, the highlights of this season will last a lifetime.

It's been 74 years since the last time the Badgers had been to the big game, winning it all in 1941. This year's version featured a veteran team led by senior star Frank Kaminsky, the player of the year in college basketball, helping the Badgers to a 36-4 record and the runner-up spot. Watching the story unfold this spring on TV was just part of the story. As social media has exploded in the last few years, the relationship between the games and the viewer is enriched by a multi-layered media experience where fans, media, and even the players can instantly share their reactions to the games.

On Facebook and Twitter, users deliver their own unique version of play-by-play, often reacting to members of the media who are also "covering" the game on social media. It's a unique look into not only the significance of sporting events in our lives – after all what sports fan doesn't live or die with every play from their home team – but it also builds a kind of digital community.

Seeing and reading reactions to the plays can often validate our own opinion, or inspire us to respond to others' comments. This live give-and-take serves as an instant feedback mechanism. A national pizza chain rolls out a new commercial during the break, fans respond to it yeah or nay on Twitter. A referee makes a bad call, viewers pass instant judgment on it.

The use of new media and technologies isn't confined to sports, but sports certainly illustrate the potential of social media to work quickly and effectively to respond to the audience or a customer. We're all connected now, and understanding the role that social media plays in our lives can build outreach and connections for a business or a group beyond the traditional ones.

The Badgers story was a good one. It captured the classic tale of the underdog, and the determination of a group of young men to succeed at the highest level. Frank Kaminsky said it best in his own words on Twitter: "Never been more proud of a group in my entire life. What we achieved will never be taken away from us. Thank you for having me." Well said, Frank.

The PR Experts

Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
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