Setting up a Social Media Strategy

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I have learned over the years that once you put your mind to something; the skill and innovation to execute it will flow seamlessly. With the emergence of Public Relations tools such as new media where social media is classified to reach out to our audiences; you need no second thought about exploring new media techniques.

Once you’ve decided that you want your business to have a social media presence, you have to figure out how to best use it to your advantage.  That is where a social media strategy comes in.  Some businesses choose to hire a social media manager to handle it, but many businesses want to do it themselves.  If you are the type who would rather do it for yourself (and there is nothing wrong with that), here are some things to consider when you set up a social media strategy for your business.

 Figure out who your audience is.

Think about who your ideal client is.  Who is your most popular type of customers – moms, businessmen, college students?  Figuring out who your audience is, is the first step.

  Where do they hang out?

Take a hard look at that target audience.  Are they stay-at-home moms who spend a lot of time on Facebook?  Are they business professionals who are on LinkedIn a lot?  Once you decide where your audience is, that is the platform you should start with. If you find they are on more than one platform, start with the strongest and then add in the second one.  There is no sense is being active on every single social media platform if your target market/audience is only on one or two.  You do not want to spread yourself thin.  I suggest concentrating on doing one or two platforms and doing them well.

 If you are targeting teens, you may want to give Instagram and SnapChat a good look – this is where they are going.

 Define your goal in using that platform to connect with your audience.

Ask yourself what do you want to get out of your social media – sales?  Brand advocates?  Increased engagement & relationship building?  How you use your social media will really come from this.  If you want to increase sales, for example, you would want to take advantage of Facebook offers or holding a contest.  If you want to increase engagement, you would want to post questions and images that will generate a response.  Your goal is like your compass.  Everything you do should point you to that goal.

Come up with a plan to get there.

Now that you have your audience identified, your platforms picked and your goal set, now you have decide what you are going to do to get to that goal.  This step goes hand-in-hand with step

  Often these are done at the same time.  You definitely want to be active and post at least 2-3 times per day.  Contests, tips, question & answer sessions and sharing information are all types of content that will help you achieve your goal. You need to ask yourself – how many times am I going to post?  How much time do I/can I invest in this?

Write your plan of action.

This is where all of the previous steps work into a formidable plan.  Take all the ideas you have had and write them down.  Decide on a content (posting) schedule.  Do you want to post 2 times per day or 3 or more?   When do you want to post?  Are you going to run a contest?  If so, when?  For how long?  Are you going to run ads to help with your Facebook page visibility?

I see this step as laying out the road map for your social media marketing efforts.  Having a written (or typed) out plan will help you achieve your goal(s).  Pin it up somewhere you will see it and act on it.  There’s nothing worse than putting time and energy into a plan and not acting on it.

5 Things To Help You Achieve The Lion’s Share Of Press Coverage; The @Steveology Blog

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A journalist once said “A lot of companies do not understand that reporters have no time to waste. Then, they keep bothering you if you don’t answer”. Below can help us understand how to maneuver;

Understand that readers and the press are in information overload. Reporters want information that helps contextualize news stories. Keep that in mind as your guiding principle.
Know upfront that reporters are not looking to get pitched on an individual story. Your company’s your product or upgrade? It is not a good use of your valuable time or theirs. Those days are dead; a long shot at best.
Focus on internal experts that are interesting. Reporters want access to very smart people who will talk candidly about things that are really happening. They want experts talking about what they know. Not about what they sell, or who spew marketing/corporate speak.
Pitch story ideas at the industry level. A new market, a new technology, a new wrinkle that will become disruptive to more than one company.
Go for the kill. This is your chance to put a check mark in the win column: Reporters want to know: Who can I talk to? What do they know? How candid of an exchange can he have with the expert? In short informative sentences let them know why your expert is a must-interview by answering those questions.

Much more but the above from The @Steveology Blog was worth sharing.

Make Space for Social Media

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Few professionals were sitting at their desks in 2004, eyeing the empty slots in their calendars and wishing that somebody would just invent a new way of communicating to fill those long and lonely minutes. People’s calendars were already full.
Social media demanded attention. It had to be put into the rotation, but that doesn’t mean we took something else off our calendars to accommodate it. Instead we just added it to the marketing teams’ tasks, challenging them to figure it out until they could make a business case for hiring full-time social media staffers.
Flash forward a decade, and any organization with serious social media ambitions has those full-time staffers. They’ve expanded teams and reassigned resources by eliminating now-deprecated communications channels. (Paper newsletter, anyone?)
For individuals however, it’s harder to expand and reassign resources. What are the rest of us taking off our plates to make room for the time we spend on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? Not much.
If social media is worth doing, than it’s worth making time for. Anyone who’s spending more than an hour a week on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook has presumably made at least a subconscious calculation of the benefits of participating (or better still, an explicit set of goals for what they expect to accomplish with the time invested in social media usage).
But all too many of us decide that social media is worth doing without deciding what is worth giving up for it. And unless you’re one of the miraculous few who does have plenty of empty space on your dance card, you must give something up in order to make time for social networking.
How do you decide what to eliminate? You can prioritize what to keep and what to retire by answering these questions:
What am I learning from social media? If you use social media as a news gathering, training or learning resource, ask which of your prior news tracking or learning activities can be retired. If you’re now reading 10 blog posts a week on professional best practices, maybe you don’t need to attend that annual training workshop anymore.
Who am I meeting through social media? One of the great rewards of Twitter, LinkedIn and other professionally rich networks is the discovery of new colleagues or the deepening of professional conversations and ties. If you’re consistently expanding your professional network through the time you spend online, consider scaling back the number of face-to-face networking events you attend in order to build out your rolodex (and why don’t you retire the rolodex while you’re at it).
Who am I reaching through social media? Blogs, Slideshare, YouTube videos: social media provides an extensive array of opportunities for sharing your ideas and building your reputation. That may allow you to reduce the other kinds of reputation-builders that formerly filled your schedule. You may still get value from presenting to an audience of a thousand, but are you better off speaking pro bono to a room of 25 people, or writing a blog post that will be read by 250?
How am I replenished by social media? If you’ve made time for social media, it’s probably because you actually enjoy it. So tune into the emotional impact of the time you spend on Facebook or Twitter, as compared to the other kinds of activities or interactions that formerly filled up your leisure hours. What’s more relaxing: watching TV or catching up on Facebook news? What’s more fun: going to a bar, or kibitzing on Twitter? What’s more restorative: reading a blog post or reading a novel? Depending on your personal preferences, you may decide to shelve some of your less-satisfying hobbies in favor of some of your new social media activities.
One virtue of this kind of evaluation is that it not only allows you to evaluate which pre-Facebook activities are less valuable than social media, but also to notice where social media has crowded out professional or personal activities that offer more rewards than you get from spending that same hour on Twitter or LinkedIn. The key is to make these trade-offs conscious and explicit, rather than letting social media take over more rewarding activities, or letting it crowd out the remaining space in your life.
Because you are giving something up to make time for social media, even if what you’re giving up is sleep or (rarer still) empty space. Indeed, that empty space may be what’s most precious, because it’s the margin that ensures that when the next must-do activity appears on the horizon, you don’t go ten years without noticing you need to take something else off your plate.

The 10 worst nightmares for a PR professional

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Am amazed at the reality in these by Jennifer Nichols is co-founder and CEO of newly launched FlackList, where media can easily search, source, connect and maintain relationships with PR reps and experts within a social network setting as posted on RAGAN’s PR DAILY.
PR pros are not easily scared, but these horrifying acts are sure to raise the hair on the neck of even the toughest PR cookie. (Cue scary music from the shower scene in “Psycho.”) We wouldn’t wish these PR nightmares on our worst enemy.

1. You mail merge a pitch to the wrong media list.

2. Your big placement is canned due to a huge breaking news.

3. A press release is issued with the CEO’s name misspelled and all the URLs are dead.

4. You wake to find a cover story featuring all your competitors.

5. Crisis, crisis, crisis and no prepared plan of attack.

6. No media show up for your press conference or media event.

7. You accidentally share a personal tweet on the corporate account.

8. You lose cell/Internet service; what is a PR pro without access?

9. An expensive PR stunt results in zero coverage.

10. You have the wrong addresses listed on a media tour and your spokesperson is late to every interview.

What is your worst PR nightmare?

And indeed my worst nightmare is when my Boss cannot even recognize a balanced story as a GOOD PR article! its nerve wrecking.

USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

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USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
How do you use social media to enhance your company’s public relations? If you think social media is an exotic, foreign thing then you need to wake up and smell the coffee. And if you know a bit about social media but think only about Facebook and Twitter, then you are missing out on a world of opportunity.
It is not the future. It is the present.
The connection of “new media” and public relations (PR) lies in the way one leverages the social web, including professional connections on Linkedin as well as publishing sites such as WordPress and Scribed.
The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore social media in your daily effort to engender awareness, business relationships and reputation.
PR and marketing Professors Andrew Kaplan and Michael Haenlein describe social media as a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of the web and allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content mainly for social interaction, as a superset beyond social communication.
It is not enough to simply ask clients to follow your company Facebook page or Twitter handle, which then go for several days or weeks without being updated. There is a lot more you can – and should – be doing.
There are different types of social media: collaborative projects like Wikipedia; blogs and micro-blogs like Twitter; content communities like YouTube; social networking sites like Facebook and virtual social worlds like Second Life. These use technologies that allow blogging, picture-sharing, wall-postings, email, instant messaging and music-sharing, among others.
Whilst today we speak about specific PR tools, the future is likely to see a merging of traditional and digital tools when the digital divide is bridged. In the meantime, the idea of digital PR continues to proliferate while we see traditional ways giving way increasingly to social media.
A recent Top Rank digital report states that 18% of marketing and PR decision makers have no interest whatsoever in traditional marketing. This shows good percentages are already embracing digital fully and is a potential forerunner of the future. Other data in that survey adds that a majority agrees that knowledge of social networks (80%) and blogging (87%), and micro-blogging (72%) is either important or very important when it comes to PR and marketing.
A PR pitch today that does not address the question of dealing with social media is dead in the water. Ugandan PR firms would know a bit about the power of social media; when last year’s Public Relations of Uganda nite (PRAU nite) was marketed through social media, 50 extra people turned up (the organisers were expecting only 200).
However, you need to engage social media with some clear guidelines, a plan of action, a sense of what people are seeking and how, and why they communicate, a definition of what they represent and how they will personify the brand online, and the goals, objectives, and metrics associated with participation.
Authentically PR managers who in Uganda are the custodians of managing the social sphere should brace themselves to transition from the broadcasting age to the intricacies of a new form of net casting architecture where both users and corporations interact by acquiring basic knowledge and practical notions that they can leverage to design a consistent strategy that will work wonders.
Applied strategically for public relations, social media can make a brand referential, allowing you to apply a “pull strategy” which will naturally attract attention from all other types of media.
Social Media PR is a dynamic; and not all practitioners and companies will be agile enough to embrace it. The few brands and professionals that get it right are memorable because there are so many who get it wrong. But those who do will see returns far greater than traditional PR can offer.

This article was first published in the Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU) Excellence Awards Magazine on 5th June 2011

Which of the two is genuine?

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Am glad the dispatch clerk from British Council came on time yesterday afternoon.

Perusing through my order, I realise the Elements of Style book by Strunk and White that I orded for is different from what my colleagues bought at Hadija’s photocopy. One from Hadija is scripted in an essay form with details yet what I have with me is brief with tabulations of sentences and examples on each use of grammar as stipulated in the earlier sentences.

Oh gracious! What may have seemed a sigh of relief yesterday has turned out to be troubling and the only way to verify this is to log on to the web and ascertain the fact of the matter.

After a short while on the internet, I can now clearly understand that my classmates are reading is a fourth edition of Elements of Style by Strunk and White yet what British Council availed is still Elements of Style, fourth edition(New edition) by Strunk and White Junior. After reviewing the pages with sample reading of either edition, the one obtained from Hadija’s photocopier seems easier to maneuver.

In that case I will settle to read both editions since deriving knowledge isn’t harmful.

 

A sigh of relief!

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It is a beautiful day. Not necessarily weather wise, but in the way I have chosen to feel.  I remembered to say my personal prayer this morning, and I think that has helped me. What a sigh of relief!

There is just an indescribable comfort and peace in doing so; a kind of peace that transcends understanding. Thank you Lord for this.

I have ordered some books and movies from Akili on-line library at the British Council.  I hope the dispatch clerk delivers them here before close of business today.  Am hoping to read Elements of Style tonight since we have been tasked to master it cover to cover, it is one of the books I have ordered for. I happen to have read it a few years ago but this time round hoping it will be a companion for daily review.

I love reading journals from the “real world hands-on practitioners” like the Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Fareed Zacharias’ pages in the News week, its my way of releasing stress of work and ascending in the business practice and when it comes to reading ‘O’ magazine by Oprah Winefrey, it is about learning to love myself much as I do not access it more often like the HBR and News week that are subscribed for monthly..

Looking forward to reading Strunk and White’s Elements of style.