Friday, January 30, 2015

Don't be a cliché - make change work for you and your business!

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

As we all know the beginning of a new year is typically the time for resolutions and personal improvement plans. Most of the focus is usually directed toward fitness and weight loss, but changing direction in areas of your professional life may actually be more rewarding than the fleeting excitement over a temporarily – in most cases – shrinking of your waistline.

There are lots of clichés about change. Change is hard. A leopard doesn't change its spots. And on the other side of that argument, the old standard, familiarity breeds contempt. We can all argue about the worthiness of breaking up a pattern of work habits that have been successful in the past, and have worked well for your business. But there are some real benefits to re-thinking strategies and processes when it comes to rejuvenating a business relationship.

One of the most recent examples happened with Uber, the transportation company that uses modern technology to basically help people get rides easier and faster in cities across America. The problem they faced was in the hiring process for new employees. They found that using typical and standard interviewing procedures was not delivering the right kind of employee for their service. They were using traditional interview techniques, with very common questions in the application process, and were getting great people, but not necessarily individuals who were the best match for Uber.

Uber's new method emphasized local knowledge and experience, and rated higher those candidates who did well in high-stress and dynamic work environments. This shift helped them build their business quickly and with a reduction in staff turnover. 

Think of a making a fresh start in your professional life as an opportunity to make your personal life easier. Understanding the balanced relationship between the two can certainly help you figure things out, and offer you some new ways to get better in both. 

How have you changed a habit or philosophy at work, and how has it turned out for you?

Friday, January 23, 2015

High tech not always the best approach

By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development

I’m dating myself, but when I first entered my career, high tech meant using email, which was relatively new and not everyone had an email account. As for the likes of Google, Twitter and Facebook, those words weren’t even invented yet.

Fast forward to 2015 and now we communicate using all of the latest and greatest technologies including texting, social media and a variety of other techno gadgets. Yes, it’s definitely made life a lot easier in many respects. Admittedly, I use one or more of these tech tools daily.

However, one area that I think is sorely lacking is the ability to pick up the phone and actually use it for its original purpose, to talk with someone. The lack of people willing to call one another to discuss business is almost mind boggling to me. Email, texting or Facebook have their appropriate places within overall communications, but don’t overlook the easiest and best way to communicate, verbally.

It’s especially effective when talking with a reporter. It allows you to convey your message succinctly and with emotion which often times is the catalyst that gets a reporter interested in doing a story. Plus, most people are pitching reporters via email or social media. This leaves their phone line open for me to call and share an idea.

Share your thoughts. What’s your preferred method of contacting other businesses or reporters

Reporters: What’s your preferred method of being contacted?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Can Your Audience Hear You?

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

I read an article the other day written by a 19-year-old college student who provided some perspective on what social media platforms are used most by his generation. Although the column provided some good insight (for the younger generation, Facebook is out and Instagram is in) it also got me wondering if I was reaching the right audience with the social media accounts I manage.

I’ve long said that signing up for a particular social media outlet just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it will produce the results you’re looking for. You need to understand who the platform is reaching and if your audience is in line with that. But as with all things social media, the audience you thought you were reaching can change fast.

The article’s author says that although many people his age have Facebook accounts, they don’t really engage anymore, outside of maybe checking in with a group. This speaks to another important point to remember. Just because you have 1,000 likes on your page doesn’t necessarily mean it’s successful. The question you should be asking is what are those 1,000 people saying? If they are engaged, asking questions and sharing information, great. You have a pretty healthy community. If not, you might want to be sure the platform you’re on and the audience you want to reach match. 

Just as I encourage clients using a social media management tool like Hootsuite to go and look at their actual social media accounts every now and again (just to make sure the layout hasn’t changed or to refresh photos, etc.), I’ll also be suggesting conducting quick online research once or twice a year to make sure that the platforms they are on are still reaching their audience. It’s a good practice to get into!

What do you do to make sure you are connecting with your audience on social media? Have you ever changed or added new accounts because your audience changed?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Are we better informed with the Internet?

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

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 87 percent of online adults believe the Internet and cell phones have improved their ability to learn new things. As someone who spends a fair amount of time online, I don’t think that’s a real surprise. But some of the survey findings stand out.

The survey broke areas of information into several categories. Internet users say digital technology has made them better informed than five years ago, in areas including products/services to buy (81 percent), national and international news (75 percent and 74 percent, respectively) and pop culture (72 percent).

It’s interesting that two-thirds of the respondents say they were better informed about their friends and 60 percent say they’re better informed about family. Given the number of photos of holiday celebrations and other events involving family and friends in recent weeks, I probably should not be surprised by those results.

Like many people, I do occasionally feel the need to dial back on online activities. The Pew survey found that 26 percent of us feel overloaded by having so much information available and pushed to us. Then again, I went right to the Internet during the holidays to check on the times of an event in the community and to make a reservation. And when it comes time to travel, I’m happy to have the latest weather and traffic information right at my fingertips.

One other aspect of the survey caught my attention. Internet users under the age of 30 are less likely to believe the Internet is making average Americans or students better informed and are more likely to say the Internet has had no real impact. Maybe it’s just that they don’t realize that information wasn’t always available right in our pockets.   

What do you think? Are you better informed with the Internet?