Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Five Best Practices for Social Media Success

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

Let’s face it, we’re all busy. But staying on top of your social media plan can truly help you in the long run. If you haven’t reviewed your social media plan in quite some time, or don’t have one in place, here are some best practices you’ll want to consider:

1.       Research and set your goals. Understand your company’s social media goals and research ways to achieve those goals. This is vital in PR because it helps guide the planning process that affects future success.
2.       Develop strategies and tactics. Be realistic in developing a list of activities that will produce results. Once your plan is in place, create a task and timeline that will help you get things started. It will also help everyone understand what is to be accomplished and who will be responsible for each activity.
3.       Set aside time for social media. The initial startup of a social media account doesn’t take a lot of time. But maintaining and monitoring content does takes time. Make sure you have the necessary resources to maintain your efforts and keep people engaged.
4.       Be an active participant. Create meaningful content on a regular basis by listening and answering questions. Share articles and interesting links that will benefit your target audiences.
5.       Measure successes and failures. On a regular basis, review your goals to see if you’ve achieved what you set out to do and make adjustments as necessary.

Remember there’s no magic in PR. It’s about being consistent and persistent in following a plan and knowing how to reach the target market to communicate information in a timely manner whether through social media or tradition channels. What best practices do you follow to keep your social media plan up to date and on the path to success?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The giving spirit of the holidays

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

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day…or is it Black Friday. The line between the two has become blurred, particularly this year with many stores now offering blockbuster deals on Thanksgiving Day. With all the talk about holiday shopping, I fear that many of us are forgetting what the holidays are really about.

For me, the holidays are about family and friends. It’s also about community and I’m thankful to live in the Green Bay area where people truly do care about their neighbors. There’s no better reminder of that than The Salvation Army Red Kettles that greet shoppers at so many locations throughout the area. It’s a reminder that the true giving spirit of the holidays is more than buying a lot of Christmas gifts for family and friends.

So once we get past the insanity of Black Friday shopping, let’s think about the things we can do for others:   
  • Volunteer – Take some time out from shopping to spend some time helping your favorite non-profit. Volunteers are the key to the success of most charitable organizations. The Christmas season is a great time to ring bells for The Salvation Army or prepare a meal at the local homeless shelter. Giving your time and energy is a great gift during the holidays and at other times of the year. 
  • Plan an office fundraiser – How about an office bake sale or a silent auction to raise money. Or even a special weekly or monthly lunch can be a good fundraising activity. If everyone gets involved, then the nickels and dimes can add up to a healthy donation to a needy organization. 
  • Collect food or toys – Many organizations are looking for non-perishable food donations or toys during the Christmas season. If everyone in the office donates a can of food or a toy, those items can collectively make a difference for a less fortunate family’s holiday season. But don’t limit yourself to the holidays, food pantries need your help throughout the year. 
Charitable efforts in the workplace can lead to improved teamwork. You’ll also reap the benefits of knowing that you’ve done something to help those in need. What types of things are you doing this holiday season or in 2013?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Have You Forgotten about Thanksgiving?

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

I heard a funny quote once: “We spend Thanksgiving being thankful for everything we have and then spend the next day buying everything we think we need.”

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It truly is the one holiday that is all about friends, family reminiscing and sharing. No gifts are exchanged, no costumes are worn. It’s simply about making a big meal and sharing it with others.

But I’m fearful that Thanksgiving is in jeopardy of quickly becoming a forgotten holiday.  For the past several years, retailers have been steadily moving their store openings for Black Friday sales earlier and earlier. Last year some stores opened at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. This year both Sears and Walmart have announced they will be opening at 8 p.m.

It really is a shame. Why do we need to end a wonderful holiday so early? Where is it written that Thanksgiving is over at 8 p.m.? The funny thing to me is that many people think nothing of the fact that they will sacrifice spending time with family and friends to stand in line out in the cold with hundreds of people pushing and yelling to get inside a store only to fight with strangers over a video game they need to buy for the very people they just left at home on Thanksgiving night.    

It seems that retailers have taken over when we should get in the holiday spirit. As soon as Halloween hits, aisles of holiday decorations start to go up and Christmas songs are piped into the store sound system. And it’s certainly not about putting us in a festive holiday mood so much as it’s about putting us in the spending mood.

Listen, it’s not rocket science here. I’d like to think that people understand that a retailer is trying to one up the competition by offering early store hours and steep discounts so that you spend your money at their store. All I’m saying is that we should not sacrifice a perfectly good holiday like Thanksgiving to do it. Shame on retailers everywhere.

I’d like to say that we should all take a stand and say “enough is enough” and boycott any store that opens before midnight, but that probably isn’t very realistic. It really is about making a personal choice. So I will be where I should be on Thanksgiving night; at home enjoying time with my family and making my favorite holiday last as long as I can. Where will you be?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A picture is worth a 1000 words; especially in social media

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

When you hear someone talking about social media, chances are the comments start with “you should see what is on Twitter / Facebook / You name it.” And, chances are, they’re talking about more than the quick sentence or two, or 140 characters of text they just read. Usually they’re talking about a photo, graphic or video that is part of that social media engagement. 

What items are re-Tweeted the most? What’s shared most often on Facebook? Items that are visual. As humans (and I suppose the same argument could be made for intelligent animals as well), we tend to love things that are visual. It has more impact. It is more memorable. It tends to create an instant reaction, feeling or thought. Think about it. How many “I Voted” or “Don’t Forget to Vote” graphics did you see this past Tuesday on social media?

That’s why when clients ask us how to make their social media more interesting; how to build more followers and how to engage their target audiences, one of the recommendations we always make is to be more visual. You don’t need a design team; just use your imagination or creativity. The beauty of social media is no one expects perfection with your photos; they just want them to be relevant and interesting.

How have you incorporated visuals into your social media efforts? Love to hear your creative ideas. Also, there are a couple of great articles I’d suggest reading as they offer some good advice on the topic:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Help where you can

By: Cole Buergi, Vice President Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Hurricane Sandy’s path of devastation has left millions without power, destroyed homes and businesses, and left tens of thousands of people struggling to pick up the pieces and rebuild. Watching the devastation take place in real time and then seeing the aftermath of the storm compels me to help those who have lost everything.

There are plenty of ways to show your support and provide help. Of course, there are also plenty of scams now cropping up that try to take advantage of the situation. Below are two reputable, well known organizations collecting donations and providing direct support for those in need.

There are plenty of other websites that are accepting donations and many of them do great work. However, if you are going to donate to them, be sure to do a background check to make sure they have a positive track record. It’s unfortunate to have to caution people when all they want to do is provide their support but, unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous individuals that will prey on people’s charitable generosity for their own gain.

If you are aware of any other reputable organizations seeking support, please feel free to post them on this blog. 

Thank you.