Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Social Media on a Budget

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Let’s face it, not every company has a budget for social media. But there are ways that even companies with tiny budgets can profit from the use of social media. Here are some tips to consider:
  • Ask your customers to engage. The more customers that “like” your company Facebook page or “follow” your company Twitter account, the more exposure for your brand.
  • Use photos and videos. Images and video can strengthen the message you’re trying to communicate.
  • Pat yourself on the back. Don’t be afraid to tell everyone what sets your company apart from the competition.
  • Go mobile. Cell phone advertising via text messaging is another way to grow your network.
  • Use email blasts. Emails are still a great way to communicate and make contact with customers and drive them to your social media sites and website.
  • Pay attention to your competition. Take time to do your own market research.
Remember even with a tiny budget you can still reap the benefits of having social media as part of your PR efforts. Be consistent and persistent in following the plan you develop to reach your target audiences in a timely manner. What tips do you follow to keep your social media plan in check and within budget?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's STILL not about the bike

By: Scott Stein, Vice President of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I like to ride my bikes. Admittedly, I haven’t been riding nearly as much the last few years for a variety of reasons, but I still consider myself to be a cyclist. I watch the Tour de France and other, lesser known, bike races on TV and I looked forward to the Superweek bike race when it used to come to Green Bay during the summer.

And yes, I was a fan of Lance Armstrong. In fact, I’m probably among the few who recall when he raced in Downtown Green Bay during the Superweek series in the late ‘90s (post-cancer, pre-Tour de France wins). He and his teammate used it as a training ride, disappearing from the race with several laps to go. My assumption is he just didn’t want the attention at that time.

Well, he certainly did get a lot of attention since then, winning the Tour de France seven times and creating the LIVESTRONG Foundation that has raised millions in the fight against cancer. Now, he’s just another disgraced athlete.

I recently tossed my Lance Armstrong book in the trash. Believe me, throwing a book away is not something I take lightly. But I felt betrayed. Even as it became more and more difficult to believe Armstrong’s denials of doping, like a lot of other people, I wanted to believe him. When he let it be known that he would not fight the USADA allegations, it was time for me to admit I had supported a cheater and liar for many, many years.

With Armstrong’s confession to Oprah this week, it would be easy to just write Armstrong off and delete him from my very short list of favorite athletes (Henry Aaron and Bart Starr among them), but there’s still the LIVESTRONG aspect.

One can’t deny that LIVESTRONG has done an amazing job in raising awareness of cancer programs. Armstrong did beat cancer and continues that fight. With his admissions this week, it’s been reported that Armstrong may want to compete again in triathlons. But maybe it’s time for him to ride into the sunset and hope that the LIVESTRONG Foundation can continue its fight despite the ways of it’s now disgraced founder.

Are you conflicted about Lance Armstrong? Can you continue to support the LIVESTRONG Foundation?   

Thursday, January 10, 2013

3 Tips to Creating Quality Content

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc. 

You have your social media site(s) set up and ready to go. Great! So now what?

Setting up an account is the easy part. Coming up with quality content that will attract followers or fans can be a bit trickier. But you don’t need to take a hit or miss approach to content. Learning a few tips can help make the job easier. Here are some ideas to get you started:  

  1. Know who your audience is. You spend so much initial investment time to set up your Facebook account, importing photos and writing your company bio that it’s easy to forget that the page really isn't for you. It’s for your audience. In order to write content that will get noticed, you need to put yourself in the seat of the person you want to attract. What do they want to read or see?
  2. Focus on the 20/80 rule. I love this idea because it’s simple to remember when it comes to the content you should be generating. Basically, it means that 20 percent of your social media posts should focus on the company and talking about yourself while the other 80 percent of your content should focus on industry related topics, breaking news that impacts the industry, etc. Posting solely about a company product or service over and over isn't going to gain you an audience (in fact it might cause you to lose some people). You need to share information that your audience finds interesting, worthwhile and useful. That will keep them coming back. 
  3. Simply put, engage. Being connected through social media means your audience will expect a quick and accurate response to questions and comments. Don't ignore your fans and manage issues right away. Responding to posts creates a dialogue and gives your fans a sense of community. Another thing you can do to help engage your fans is to take and post photos. People are more likely to click on links that include photos so use it to your advantage. Post relevant articles and ask your audience questions that require more than a yes or no answer. And most importantly, spend just as much, if not more time listening. Your audience will tell you what they are interested in.

Taking time to apply these simple tips can help you with writing content from the point of view of your audience and put you on the path of success. Does anyone have a success story where the content they posted resonated with their audience? Please share!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Career Resolutions You Can Live With

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

2013. It’s here. So is the time for New Year’s resolutions. But resolutions aren’t just for your personal life; it’s always good to have a few for your professional life as well. Coming up short on ideas? Let me suggest a few: 
  • Continue your education. Don’t get so complacent in your work that you aren’t interested in seminars, presentations or classes that offer an opportunity to expand your horizons and learn new skills.  
  • Learn/understand new technology and media platforms. I cringe when I hear someone in our business state:  “I don’t really know much about (insert social media platform here) and since it will probably be out of date in no time, why learn about it?” Yes, I’ve actually heard people utter similar statements. Even if you don’t use the particular new technology or new media platform in question you SHOULD, in the very least, know about them. 
  • Network. It pays to network. Networking can be a huge boost to your career and profile. In the PR biz, networking is essential for professional growth and it comes in handy for your clients as well. It’s fun to pair up two clients who need each other’s services or talents. 
  • Be personable: Smile and say thank you. We’re all rushed these days, but these two things are easy to do and take very little time. When you’re smiling, it puts people at ease. My husband, who’s an engineer/educator, started to deliberately smile when students looked up from their lab work. He says it has made a world of difference in students being willing to ask for help or ask questions. Makes sense. You’d rather interact with someone who’s friendly than someone who just stares at you or looks grumpy.  As for saying thank you; it’s something we don’t do enough. It’s kind of like smiling……it makes people feel good and makes them know they’re appreciated.
So what are your professional resolutions this year? What resolutions in the past turned out to be really helpful to your career. Love to hear what you think.