Updates social media top six

A few years ago-three to be exact- the top four social media tools for business were

  1. Forums
  2. YouTube
  3. Blogs
  4. Facebook

Today that has changed according to many social media studies.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIN
  4. Blogs
  5. YouTube

The purposes for social media often are to increase awareness and exposure of the company and generate those leads. Social Media Examiner provides excellent up-to-date research and tips on improving content, traffic and more.

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Observations of Campaign Techniques-It’s Who you Know

A lovely older woman I know asked me to attend an event to see a nationally renowned Congresswoman. She didn’t say why, just asked me to come and who I could bring. I know the ropes, it’s actually a pep rally to get a group of people excited about the upcoming election. But none of that was discussed. Reminded me of an Amway pitch-I once was suckered into doing that for a while too.

I went because I know this woman, because she asked. I also had in the back of my mind that two interns should go for an opportunity to meet this federal representative. So I shared the appointed time and location with students and gave up a Sunday to attend.

Room was filled with 150-200 people. There wasn’t enough coffee. The food didn’t recognize today’s standards to eating issues–most women my age have given up donuts and fattening muffins for breakfast. Did I mention there wasn’t enough coffee?
The location had the worst accoustics. If you want to plan an event for 200 people you certainly need parking and space. But you also need to be able to have sound. Someone set up the microphone in front of the speakers–assuring hideous feedback every time the Congresswoman moved. Had the speakers been placed closer to the audience so she could walk…er…pace…behind them, she could have stuck with the microphone. In the end she abandoned the microphone to bellow. She was able to reach most of the room, but not those of us in the back. It’s okay, it was a pep rally, I know the drill. She wrapped up and people started to head out. The political aids were all poised at the back to capture departing guests to sign up to volunteer.

What they lacked in setting logistics they made up for in understanding their purpose–get the enthused audience to volunteer. It’s the only reason for the event. I’m sure they succeeded in getting several. Except me and my interns. We have our own campaign. But that’s another post.

Public Relations for small business made visual

Public Relations is all about building relationships with the company, whether you’re a sole proprietor or a Fortune 500 corporation. This graphic shows the basics for the small business owner. Public relations practices aren’t limited to these four. Not included are government relations, employee relations, donor/member relations, multicultural relations and any other “public” you can think of. Other work includes crisis communication and planning, speeches, events, etc. All require brand development, strategic planning and message development-no matter the company size.

What every dental (& other customer service) experiences should be

Let’s face it, when it comes to putting these bad boys in our mouth we really want to know who is doing it. My mom recently went to a new dentist. For the last THREE days she’s been talking about her experience and what great customer service they’ve provided.

First she dropped in on them in person. Hey, she’s retired, she’s got time. They indicated they did indeed take new patients and scheduled her for the NEXTday.

The first thing that blew her away was the phone call that evening. Joshua D.M.D himself called and asked if she had any questions about the next day’s appointment. Not a receptionist. Not even a hygienist. Her actual DENTIST called.

They had a tremendous sales package. If she purchased a plan, all her care would be discounted. Her first medical bill for her first exam and cleaning were the equivalent. So she signed up, and started saving.

At her appointment, they offered her a blanket because they know patients can get chilled.

The dentist noted a condition that she’s had for three years that could easily be addressed. She’d be asking her previous dentist, on deaf ears. The new guy discussed the overall health of all her teeth if this was done. She was so pleased she didn’t have to ask him!

At the end of her first visit they offered her a carnation. A free flower. First day.

For three days as some other thoughtful, caring act took place, she shared. What a great job of providing customer service.

When I looked up their website, they are committed to paying it forward.

Loved the customer service, how they took care of my mom and her needs. How does your dentist customer service measure up?

Social Media Five Reporter Tips same as Traditional

The folks over at PR News do a great job of mini Q&A sessions with keynotes as part of their promotion for seminars. It’s a great PR tactic in and of itself. In their latest post Comcast PR Veteran Walter Neary was interviewed. He mentioned how he hopes one day using social media to reach reporters and bloggers stops being “special”. I agree. If you want to reach the news you need to know where the news people are. More and more tweet, blog or host FB posts. Some base their tool on company requirements, some base their tool on personal preference. Either way, no different reaching out to media on their platforms than if you called, emailed, or met them at the grocery story or local event. All that has changed is the channel of communication. What hasn’t changed is some basic elements:

  1. Know the reporter/editor’s beat (topics covered)
  2. Understand their style-each will tell their story their way, not yours
  3. Provide facts and resources to back those facts up
  4. Respect their deadlines–just because social media as well as media is 24/7/365 doesn’t mean there aren’t deadlines
  5. Build a relationship-sending media releases blindly and never communicating not likely to get you covered. Especially in the social media realm.

We cannot afford to keep blinders on about the race to reach media. If you aren’t on social media, you’d better catch up. If you don’t know how to talk to any media, social or otherwise, you’d better catch up. Or you won’t know what hit you when the Google glasses arrive.

 

Five Planning Imperatives for great PR

In June I traveled as a Legislative Fellow to Kyrgyzstan through a cultural exchange program. It was an extraordinary trip.

Pondering this trip as a public relations program, thought I’d share some insights.

A group I volunteer with nominated me in January to be part of the program. Come February I had not officially heard. I won’t bore you with the back and forth emails. Let’s just say it took several emails, nothing ever “official”.

Rule one: if you are hosting a program formalize a communication program to assure you have a welcome.

As days passed for the June event, I’d get random emails. Often with cryptic instructions, if any. And with very little turn around. I’m a very flexible person. I rarely enjoy details and can wait till the last minute, but I gotta tell ya, this was pushing it for me. I received an email on the 9th requesting me to send my visa to get to its destination by the 11th. Without really explaining what would happen to my visa once it arrived and when I’d get it back. I trusted in the process, but most people wouldn’t.

Rule two: save yourself the headache. You MUST communicate reasons WHY you want something. Rule three: Consider that not everyone is standing by email to read your missive–provide time for planning. And did I mention you need to explain to people why you want what you want and what you’re going to do with it? Yeah, do that.

I’m not exactly a world traveler. I’ve lived in England on a US military base; gone to Paris for a week; crossed the Mexico/USA border for six hours and ventured to Canada to two provinces. I knew nothing about going to Kyrgyzstan. The program director provided a conference call but gave limited info about what to expect. Callers asked about culturally appropriate dress, getting local currency, medical issues and received answers. We also were assured other information was coming in the packet prior to departure.

The “packet” turned out to be a very limited PowerPoint with only weather information and nothing really substantive. I felt frustrated with the very limited info. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. When I returned home and couldn’t exchange the currency because of its rarity, I realized I should have asked how and when to return the currency.

Rule four: anticipate every step of the journey for your group-getting there and returning. Make sure your materials start from a zero information educational basis. Don’t assume every person as done something similar. Yes, search engines can provide tons of information, but it doesn’t help answer the likely questions that address your program.

The trip was amazing and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The coordinator assigned to the project did a great job herding 7 adults. At the end she asked for a quick response evaluation about the project, with a promise that a thorough evaluation would be sent.

Rule five: deliver an evaluation. It’s been 3 weeks since I returned. I’ve had more time to process, if only they asked for my suggestions. Of course I could send them unasked. But it’s the clients who don’t forward insights on their own that you have to worry about.

Returned from Kyrgyzstan, Cultural exchange

Been a while. I had the extraordinary opportunity to serve as a Legislative Fellow to travel to Kyrgyzstan in an cultural exchange program. When asked “how was it”, my answer has been “interesting and intense, hardly fun.” The hospitality of the Kyrgyz people ranks phenomenal. We were hosted and wined and dined every night. Learned quickly that expectations are you eat what you are given, but with a small balance left so they don’t reload your plate or your glass. My six fellow Americans and I meet with a vast array of people from 8 or 9 am to 5pm daily. The intensity of understanding their country has only been independent for 30 years and that only two years ago they had a 2nd revolution provides perspective. They are struggling to build this fragile democracy while 80% of their people are unemployed; they have to change a culture of corruption from political forces to cops, from news media to education. Bribery is rampant because for the 20% employed it’s not at a livable wage. Without fixing corruption International governments or businesses won’t invest much needed currency to allow the growth to employ their countrymen. Where do you start?

Women are getting a voice (every third candidate on the ballot must be a woman), but they still aren’t allowed at the table for company-unless that company insists. Young girls and women can be kidnapped as brides, married-often with their family’s support, yet they have an 80% divorce rate.

Their infrastructure doesn’t exist–sidewalks are created as new owners upgrade a building-they’ll put in intricate concrete shaped as tiles. The rest deal with tar or maybe used marble blocks. As Americans we take so much for granted. And the whining about what we have or what is asked of us now magnified for its ridiculousness. As a country we are no different than the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Flew on a Friday at 7am to San Francisco, from there to London. A layover long enough to eat a full traditional English breakfast including rasher bacon and tomato with tea. Flew to Azerbaijan for refueling, then in to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan-at 4am on Sunday–long trip. Took a nap till noon. Then toured the area for the Sunday evening–and that’s the last easy-going part of the trip.

My six fellow Americans and I worked from 8am or 9am – 5pm meeting with Parliamentarians, city councils, NGOs (non-government organizations) working on everything from Election Structure to Internet and Privacy to Media law. We talked talked to journalists trying to get truth and accuracy in the media that’s predominately owned by politicians or influential business owners. We met members of two of the five leading political parties. We watched Parliament in action. We connected with students-60% of the population are 18-25 year olds. The hardest place to get into was the US Embassy-my first visit to an embassy in my limited travels.

At night we dined with hosts, many who have been Legislative Fellows from Kyrgyzstan who have traveled to the USA. The Kyrgyz people are extraordinary hosts. Learned quickly that food spreading the table upon arrival is merely course one-or what we’d call appetizers. Except it’s a full on meal. Must pace oneself! And manage not to put too much food on your plate-rude not to eat what you take. Then comes course two. No desserts-they provide lots of sugar for tea, sweetened breads or candies, dried fruit, fresh fruit for every meal.

Just the appetizers!

I’ve lots of thoughts about this experience, and intend to share throughout the summer. At least I have blog content.