Conference secrets vs the Real time social media

Conferences-many professional groups and business industry leaders host them. And with the advent of real time media, it’s important to share the rules of engagement with participants. If you’re a professional group of sales women hosting a conference like the eWomenNetwork, then you share the hashtags #ewn2012 and encourge Facebook posts and YouTube entries, promoting participation in real time by hyping all the social media channels in advance. Then you are spreading the word about the phenomenal speakers or the great production or fantastic tips.

But some conferences are strictly meant for industry insiders working strategically in big groups, such as political strategists or engineering inventors. It’s tempting for the Twitter savvy to post as they participate. Disastrous for strategic planning. If you’re hosting a business conference where you’re not ready to share to the world the content because the material is sensitive, then set the boundaries in advance. Send through traditional emails, post in the social media realms that no social media posts are authorized during the learning sessions. If you explain why, most attendees will understand. But you may need to monitor. We’re not talking about controlling free speech-we’re talking about not sharing intellectual property or strategy.


Tell the Media You’re an Expert

Media relations is crucial to attaining publicity. Reporters don’t know everyone or everything, but they kind of need to. My relationships with reporters have led to some odd or unexpected articles. I’m an expert in women’s rights, women’s health care services, and public relations strategies. I know a little something about Nevada politics. I can whip up an election strategy, a grassroots campaign and churn out voters. I can talk about sex, religion or politics-often in the same speech. I happen to be Wiccan. These random skills or facts have lead to articles–I had a reporter ask me to call a colleague because he needed to know if Wiccans sacrifice black cats for a Halloween story. (We don’t-we actually don’t sacrifice anything. Tenet is “harm none”.) And no, I don’t wear a conical hat.

Media, from print to broadcast to bloggers, keep track of “experts”. You never know when a reporter needs a gardener, an accountant, a biologist, a machinist. Business reporters need to know resources in the varied industries within their community–they don’t know your business exists unless you reach out to them.

One step is to send them just a fact sheet about your services and expertise. Include employee skills if  they have unique skills or expertise. A women’s health center may provide a list of experts including fundraising, Medicaid negotiations, public policy impacts to women’s health, how to negotiate a relationship, how and when to talk to your teen about sex. Oh yeah, and provide medical experts on women’s health. Look for those skills. Then make a list and share with a reporter. Understand which reporter needs this kind of information–target your media audience whether it’s the health reporter, business editor, photojournalist. Provide contact information. Add links to websites or blogs if you have them. Just balance providing information–you don’t need to dump everything you know, or they’ll just dump the information into the trash.

Then follow up. Set up a few minutes to call and talk about news story ideas. It’s how you can get published.


How to get $25,000 in free advertising or at least win a contest

Enter a contest to win $25,000. That’s what the local Reno Veterans’ Guest House did. And they asked the community to help. The Home Depot Foundation apparently runs a contest once a month and gives back to the winning charity $25k in gift cards. The votes come through Facebook and Twitter (links to the FB page). In order to vote you have to “Like” the Home Depot Foundation. A great way for HDF to capture followers.

But here’s why it worked for REno Veterans Guest House. They clearly had a plan. They utilized skills from some local public relations pros. Staff and publicists for Veterans Guest House posted on Facebook seeking vote.s They provided simple instructions in a post. They shared samples stories like starting because a vet’s wife and kids slept in their car while the vet was in hospital cause they couldn’t afford hotel fees. And they properly tagged links to the Home Dept Foundation page; links and comments on their friends pages, groups.Lesson-take advantage of your relationships and post in appropriate group discussions.

They also sent instructions via LinkedIn. They emailed a letter to every person on their personal lists and asked people to forward. I did. My audiences are not the same on FB and LinkedIn-some overlap. But different people use different tools. So their plan covered their bases.

They also pitched local media. So a news station covered the contest, as did a radio station.More than once. The newspaper printed the contest. And that’s just the media I was paying attention to.

And the contest started to get close. Several PR pros took up the challenge-many of us have reasons to love vets. I posted daily on my personal Facebook page, on my business page and on many groups I’m associated with. I tweeted the contest–Congressman Amodei even retweeted my post. We hardly see eye to eye on any political spectrum, but we do for vets. I gave extra credit in my public relations class assignment-and some students took me up on it. Can’t tell you how many friends appreciated my daily reminders on Facebook! The voting went back and forth. If I heard correctly, it’s the first time the contest has ever seen that kind of action. The other program was based in Atlanta-Home Depot’s hometown with close to 12 times the population of Reno Nevada. But it just took a few groups to dedicate themselves to the project-and a lot of social media.

If the Veterans Guest House had tried to buy the coverage of their services across all those platforms it would have easily cost $25000. I don’t recommend measuring with Advertising Value Equivalent, but clearly this program demonstrated to non-profits and small businesses unique ways to LEVERAGE a contest to build awareness, supporters and increase capacity.They carried the news story further with the win; getting back on the radio and television and further telling the story. Posting the news on their website.

The Veterans Guest House is now trying to capture who did what for them. My only criticism in their plan was the direct link to Home Depot rather than driving traffic to “Like” the Veterans Guest House page and find the link there. But hey, they are working towards connecting with their supporters. And maybe they thought of that and were concerned about barriers for participation. Won’t try to second guess them.

And now they’re in a contest for $250,000. Look for the social media posts on how to vote for them throughout March!

Twelve Actions to Build your Biz in the New Year

  1. First write a business plan–or update it if you have one on a shelf. You can buy my friend Erica Olsen’s book. Can’t bother with a book, try her online program to help you keep track. Whatever it takes, make a plan and review it regularly.
  2. Target your audience. Really dig deep in their demographics-age, gender, marital status, everything you can figure out. Then figure out what their lifestyle is. Then figure out what motivates them to buy what you offer. If you have clients it’s easy to engage them. If you are starting up a business you need to research the possibilities and check competition.
  3. Next flesh out the marketing plan. Know just how much networking, customer relations, social media, publicity, events, media relations, etc you need to reach the clients on your plan.
  4. Invest in list management.You need a place to put your leads and a way to communicate. Ideally you move beyond the capability of the 50-100 limited emails you can send with your personal email. You need at least 5 times as many people to talk to so you can get the “yes” sales you need. That’s a lot to track. We use iContact. Also recommend Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. There are others–find what is most user friendly to you.
  5. Work your customers. Best sales force is word-of-mouth. Best way to get positive WOM is to talk to your customers. Stay connected. Offer them value. Engage them into your company-you know, like a relationship. Not a hook up.
  6. Focus your business growth on what you do best-not on the 10% that you suck at. We spend so much time trying to fix that last percent of what’s broken–and will never get fixed–rather than build the best thing into the superlative thing.Focus on what you love or are best at.You’ll grow even more.
  7. Make things easy for your clients. Whether its sending them reminders about their appointments or offering to drop materials off at their work site–whatever it is you can do to make their lives easier do.
  8. Make time for sales and marketing. You spend 40 hours a week making the product or doing the service. It’s best if you sell it.
  9. Delegate what you can’t get done. Building on the fact that you should be the primary sales force, what can you delegate to others? Bookkeeping? Marketing and public relations? Being in the store? Remember focus on your favorite element for your own pleasure and then delegate–enlist family or hire staff or outsource some services.
  10. Play it forward. You’ll really reap more if you give to prospects and share with others than if you are stingy with your time.
  11. Make sure your marketing outreach materials are current. When is the last time you updated your website? Your handouts? If you pulled everything together and put samples on a board can you tell it’s the same company or does it look like you picked up an assortment–if visually it doesn’t look the same, you need to do some branding.
  12. Stuck? Hire a coach. Coaches can help you puzzle through what blocks you; train you on beginning steps; help you break down a giant project into manageable pieces. They also can provide the accountability you might need to meet deadlines. Not to mention the encouragement. Solo-preneurs definitely need that sounding board. And we can help you with that.


Six tips in the ART of Giving from Business

The holidays are upon us. Every non-profit worth their salt is reaching out to businesses because they know tax write-off season is the end of the calendar year and they are making the asks. Corporate philanthropy should be a value for the company first, before being a public relations tactic. If you get involved in the community, give because it’s the right thing to do. Corporate sponsorship can be philanthropic, but if you expect a lot of kudos for the gift, it’s not altruistic.

Know why you want to give and to whom and what, if anything you want to get out of it

  • Set a criteria now–because some smart non-profit is going to ask you to be a donor—programs that involve kids, animals, education? Women’s issues, political philosophy. Up to you, but think about it now.
  • Decide a budget for how many raffle prizes you donate or table tickets you want to purchase. Then stick to it.
  • Know your cash flow so you know WHEN you can buy tickets or provide a financial contribution.
  • Decide if you’re going to do a philanthropic effort for your community–putting food collection barrels in your office or taking your entire team to  volunteer for a needy group. Spend some time with seniors–help them decorate their homes and then clean up after the holidays. Volunteer to help a non-profit spruce up ITs space–either decorations or maybe just “winter cleaning”.
  • Certainly get the word out, because the media loves human interest stories. But be sure it’s newsworthy. Try reaching out to groups often neglected. Nothing against kids, but lots of folks do toy drives. How about a drive for foster kids aging out of the system with no where to go. They turn 18 and get turned out. Help them get set up with apartment necessities.
  • Share your stories of giving back–take pictures and post them on all your online platforms.
  • Consider employees when making a philanthropic gesture. Even a paid day off can go a long way for company morale. Can’t swing that, maybe half a day. Or a staff gift basket of goodies.

Philanthropy is about generosity that shows concern for human advancement. Underwriting an endeavor – being the sponsor – can be philanthropy with benefits. May you celebrate the coming holidays. And give as generously to your charities of choice as you can.

Tragedy Strikes! Sharing best practices.

Newsletters are hard to do. You need to be brief, provide value and be engaging. This is the best newsletter I’ve seen. Printed with permission.


a new way to buy wine…
based on flavor and body

Damonte Ranch Town Center
1131 Steamboat Parkway
Reno, NV 89521
775-851-VINO (8466)

Click here to visit us online!
Tragedy Strikes Vino 100
Last week on Tuesday Phil and the crew moved the cash register down 35 inches in anticipation of the arrival of our bar which was built off-site and was to be moved in like furniture.Thursday the trailer got hooked up and our bar was on it’s way to Vino 100!! Maury (who built the bar) noticed the trailer unhooked, the safety chains both broke and the trailer kissed the retaining wall on the freeway, 396 North near College Parkway. The granite top came crashing down and broke into 4 pieces. The 1/2 wine barrel (which was the corner of the bar) hit the trailer, got banged up and went sliding along the freeway!! Lots of dam age.

Our bar attempted suicide.

We are in mourning.

The bar was rushed to the ER where the physicians got out the paddles, yelled “CLEAR” and began resusitating our new baby!! The bar is still in urgent care but is expected to pull through with a little TLC!!

The new tasting bar is expected to be at Vino 100 by around Nov 10 or so. Come see if they did a good job on the repairs!!

November 3-Thursday- Art opening for local artist Susan Moore 5:30PM. Come check our her artwork and sip on FREE wine (while supplies last)!! Also, it’s Martini Night 2 for $13!!

Nov 4-Friday Appetizers, an entree’, and dessert by Chef Antonio from 5:30-10PM…come join us and check out our new beers!!

Thursday Nov. 3….First day for November Wine Club Pick-up!!

Saturday Nove 4- Free Tinytini tasting 12-9pm!!! Try 3 different flavors and rate them:)

Monday Nov. 7-Martini Madness Monday. Try the new “Pumkin Pie Liquified, Lemon Meringue, Honey-Mint, Cucumber-Basil, Strawberry Shortcake, Classic, and MORE 2 for just 13 smackaroos!!!

Wed. Nov 9- Wining Women 5:30-9!! A special night of girl bonding at Vino 100!!!

Vino 100 Wine Club Wine ($35 + Tax) – Club Members get 20%* discount any purchases made during their Wine Club coupon (starts on the 1st Thursday of every month). Plus Wine Club Members get 15% off on all 4 Wine Club Feature Wine all month! And LOTS more….just ask us!!

Is your online presence Boutique or Costco?

When you’re shopping for toilet paper or tires and you need large quantities for cheap you go to Costco. When you want that special occasion dress, you go to your favorite boutique because of the unique items, good fit and worth the splurge.

So when you write your website, blog, or Facebook content are you writing for Costco or the Boutique?  Google doesn’t think much of the Costco approach in their algorithms for sites. They are looking for the high-quality sites with unique items, a good fit and worth the effort.

They have 23 suggestions on things to ask yourself if your site is valuable to prospective users. Interestingly the questions break down to trustworthiness, accuracy, expertise and depth. Wouldn’t you want to be seen as the expert in your industry? Editing errors happen, but consistently being error prone makes it hard to take you seriously. If you can’t write, outsource to the experts who can.

Provide meaningful content. No one wants to be “sold”. Ease up on the ads. Newsprint used to the most “views” on the pages with 2/3 ads and 1/3 articles (not the full page ads). Today’s online must be closer to 90% content, 10% ads–if that. You have information and insights in your field  whether you make candy or use healing arts. Talk about the passions and provide insight that no one else has. That gets the notice of  the search engines. Make sure there’s a uniqueness in your posts on blogs, websites, social media. Be careful not to be so efficient that all the pages look the same-there’s a balance between using similar ideas for other blog sites and over posting the same article. Over duplication can actually put you at the bottom of the search engine list.

Treat your content like the boutique experience. Save the Costco approach for buying toilet paper.