Name: Tressa Robbins
Bio: A country girl at heart, who loves the city, I’ve worked in marketing, consultative sales, and media relations for the better part of over 20 years. The skills acquired from these positions certainly come in handy in my present role as vice president, BurrellesLuce Media Contacts. This is an exciting time of change in the world of media and I want to initiate conversations on news to assist and support public relations professionals in the industry. In my personal time, love the outdoors, boating, fishing, riding 4-wheelers (ATVs) and being mom to my three dogs. Twitter: @TressaLynne; LinkedIn: TressaLynne; Facebook: BurrellesLuce
Posts by Tressa Robbins:
- Who is saying what?
- What platform(s) are most popular in these exchanges?
- What is being talked about?
- Where are they talking
- Who’s talking? Are these people in my target audience or are they influencers of you target audience?
- What are they saying?
- Where are most of the conversations happening?
- When are these dialogues taking place?
- What does your company want to achieve in social media?
- First and foremost, know your audience—inspire them
- Increase your engagement so that others see your brand
- Add a Like box to your website and blog
- Offer something in exchange for Likes (ie. a free drink, a discount)
- Tag your page from your personal profile
- Ask and thank. Wagner says the two most powerful words in social is “thank you.”
- Advertise on Facebook or use Sponsored Stories
- Share original content—especially photos (which have recently shown to produce the most engagement, closely followed by video)
- Listen. Follow other brands that are similar to you. This will help you see what resonates and what doesn’t.
- Then, when you’re ready, you might begin by putting a Pinterest button on your website. This is the easiest way for people to pin your images so they lead back to the source—you.
- You’ll also want to set-up a variety of boards in your business account so that the content is well organized. Keep in mind, according to a number of sources, you have only four seconds to capture your (potential) customer’s attention! Take care that your images are of good quality and the links are direct. Again, make it easy for them—don’t make them hunt.
Every day, my Google Reader is chock full of “how to” and “must do” articles especially when it comes to social media. We read about how important it is to “engage with our audiences.” We hear that we must be “in the conversation.” We’re told that our brand will die if we don’t have a Facebook page – just kidding, but you get the idea.
I’d like to take a step back—back to the basics. I believe many of us got onto social media sites because we thought that was the thing to do. While that may be somewhat true, some may need to re-think why they are there; and, surprisingly (to those of us in the biz), there are a whole lot of businesses and organizations that are just now getting into social media. So, let’s talk about what you should do before making that leap (or if you want to re-evaluate why you’re there).
One thing it seems a lot of folks miss is that before you start posting, purporting, and professing in social media, you should stop, look, and listen. Just like we were taught as kids before crossing the road. Here is a partial list of things to look and listen for:
Track your competitors.
Observe industry issues/trends.
Monitor your own company/organization/issues
Once you have the answers to these questions, then you can make an educated decision about whether you need to simply have a passive presence or need to be actively involved and on what platforms. In this way, you are able to create a plan of action and decide how to best allocate resources.
As Seth Godin says, “It’s a process, not an event.” Social media is not something you should just jump in and “wing it.” It takes time, commitment and resources to be done right.
What tips would you offer someone who feels intimidated or tentative about using social media channels?
Facebook “likes” has been the topic of some controversy for several years now—ever since brands began to get in on the action. The fact that Facebook continues to tweak the newsfeed algorithm and is introducing Graph Search keeps companies on their toes as they are forced to adjust not only their expectations but their approach.
Nearly all companies, causes, organizations, brands—anyone with a page rather than personal profile —on Facebook want to be “liked.” When someone likes a page, that page’s content then appears in that person’s newsfeed. And, that’s what you want, right? More eyeballs? No, actually, it’s not. A Facebook “like” has nearly no real-world value—until you nurture that connection. What you want is engagement. But you do have to have “likes” in order to nurture and engage.
I’ve seen all sorts of promotions and contests to get likes. One method, that is particularly troubling, was brought up by Gus Wagner in the #SocialIRL Non-Profits Conference series recently. And that is, companies partnering with a non-profit organization exchanging likes for monetary contributions. For example, a NPO posts on their page to go like this company and if the company gets x number of likes, they’ll donate x amount of money to the non-profit. The biggest problem with this is it is strictly forbidden by Facebook’s Terms!
According to Wagner, “Facebook audiences are not looking to connect with brands, or non-profits, unless given a call to action. Whether it is a coupon on a pair of Levi’s for a Like or a connection with a local non-profit for someone else to make a contribution, these are the motivations for average audiences to connect with a brand.”
As a matter of fact, there are lots of ways to get Likes. Here are some of them:
How is your brand or organization growing your Facebook fan base?
Marketers and public relations practitioners have long known that storytelling is critical to any campaign. Storytelling is about relating to people, about making a connection with your audience. PR has long been a text-based, word-driven method of communicating messages, but it’s no longer enough to simply broadcast these written messages. “PR historically has been about words—telling. Now it’s show and tell,” says Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman in a recent AdWeek article.
I’ve read copious articles in the past year on the “new trend” of visual storytelling. Articles that point out we are a society of “visual learners.” Visual storytelling classes have recently been added to university course catalogs, professional development and continuing education workshops and webinars are abundant. Infographics have become a popular way to socially share messages in the past couple years. Some say this shift is due to how we consume information and communicate in the digital mobile age. But I say this is a trend that actually began more than a hundred years ago!
Over the holidays, my husband and I watched the History Channel mini-series “Mankind The Story of All of Us” that we had DVR’d. In the final episode, they talk about the Congo rubber trade in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s under King Leopold II’s dictatorship and the brutishness of forced labor. A common occurrence was to physically maim children as a warning to villagers. Enter Alice Harris, a British missionary, and her camera. (I know you were wondering where I was going with this J).
Brian Williams, of NBC Nightly News (and one of the commentators in the series) says, “The invention of photography and the means to get them in front of people held more power than its inventors ever imagined. Photos don’t blink and they don’t go away. Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind.” Harris took hundreds of photos of the atrocities—photos which were then published in newspapers across the world, shocking millions of readers. These photographs were so horrific and communicated so broadly that it transformed public opinion and changed society, forcing King Leopold to quit the Congo rubber trade. I would argue that this was the beginning of visual storytelling—at least in the modern mass media age. (Visual storytelling actually dates back to more than 30,000 years ago with cave paintings.)
In addition, “Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind,” Williams went on to say, “The expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ –that’s a low ball estimate. A picture, a good picture, is worth so much more than that.”
This is especially true in today’s digital age. As PR and communications professionals we are increasingly tasked with disseminating messages in a crowded online space. The content we produce must not only gain the attention of audiences – but keep it as well.
Like our ancestors, we must create stories that paint pictures – either via our words or via images – to sway public opinion and, perhaps more importantly, persuades people to respond to our calls to action.
Check out this BurrellesLuce Storytelling newsletter for more helpful tips.
In January of this year, I wrote about the “new” thing in social, Pinterest. If you weren’t ready to jump on the bandwagon then, by now, we all know Pinterest is hot and isn’t showing any sign of cooling off! According to one source, total unique visitors to Pinterest increased by 2,702 percent since May 2011.
Most of us realize the uses and advantages for individuals, but what about businesses? Nearly 30 percent of Pinterest users have an annual household income of $100,000 and, according to Search Engine Journal, Pinterest referrals spend 70 percent more money than visitors referred from non-social channels. If that doesn’t convince you, then how about this: 69 percent of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to buy, compared with 40 percent of Facebook users, according to All Facebook. And, Pinterest itself has recently launched business pages, demonstrating that they plan to become more business-friendly.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the legalities of pinning—possible copyright issues—and those of us in media-related roles are especially cautious here. The Social Media Law Blog, advised “Users, businesses included, who use Pinterest carefully should be able to navigate the waters successfully and open their products, services, creations, and inspirations up to the rapidly growing base of Pinners. Like any new online service there is some uncertainty and some risk, but by exercising care, much can be mitigated.” For more legal-related information, Ad Age posted a video with a mini-law lesson from Brian Heidelberger (partner and chair, Advertising, Marketing and Entertainment Law Practice of Winston & Strawn).
So, now you’re convinced, but where do you start?
As with any content, you’ll want to cross-promote via your other social channels, but be wary of “content overload.” You don’t want to train your followers to NOT pay attention to your tweets, posts, etc. And, like your other channels, be a participant—not a pusher—comment and follow-back. Basically, be a good social citizen.
Are you using Pinterest for your business or your client’s business? Do you have tips (or cautionary tales) that would help our readers? Please share!
According to Wikipedia, influencer marketing is “a form of marketing that has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.”
Key decision-makers operate within communities of influencers. Influencers may or may not be actual buyers, they are not always obvious, and typically are a neutral party – which is why they are such an invaluable asset as their potential to affect sales is immense.
We’ve all heard (and probably participated in) conversations about blogger relations, disclosure and transparency. Bloggers are just one class of influencers, though, so the first step in Influencer Marketing is seeking out and identifying those and other influencers.
At a recent PRSA St. Louis half-day event, Erin (Eschen) Maloney from Perficient explained that 92 percent of people trust recommendations of friends, family, word-of-mouth, above all forms of advertising, which is why influencers matter. She went on to say that 13.4 percent of U.S. adults create 80 percent of the content that influences people, and that is why we must find them.
An influencer must be credible. That doesn’t necessarily equate to a lot of followers, a high job role, frequent posts, or even being famous in real life. Influence cannot be reflected by a single metric, and influence does not equal popularity.
So how do you find the influencers that matter to your organization? Maloney advised that there is no one tool or score that can do this for you. You must roll-up your sleeves and dig-in. You can use Klout and Kred (she likes Kred better) as a beginning point, but you may also use Google, Twitter, WeFollow, Twellow, Alltop, LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Listorious, RSS feeds and more. (We here at BurrellesLuce prefer our Social Media Monitoring Solution, Engage121). This step is the core foundation of your program. It is time consuming and there is no substitute for hard work here.
Once you’ve identified key influencers who are active, relevant and timely, then what? You listen. Yes, you stop and listen for a while. It takes listening, Amanda Maksymiw says, to gain “a solid understanding on who they are and what they are interested in. Connect with them on the relevant social networks, subscribe to their newsletters or blogs, and absorb everything you can: the main point is to be quiet here and learn.” Only after this step, can you begin to engage with them.
Author and speaker Alexandra Levit was recently quoted as saying, “Uncovering the top influencers in one’s field requires old-fashioned research. Read the trades, go to industry events and, of course, check out Twitter, Facebook, etc. Then, gradually develop a relationship with the influencers by asking questions and citing their content.”
Those of us, who have a background in PR and media relations, know that building relationships takes time and effort. Do you have any tips to add?