A Modern, Sophisticated Approach
to Improving Conversion

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Google+ Changes Reinforce Importance of Owned Media

Demise of Google PlusWater coolers all over the globe are buzzing today with news of a pending Google Plus demise.

Is anyone surprised? I’m not. The rumors started to fly as early as last April. (“Google Plus is Walking Dead,” TechCrunch, April 2014).

Time will tell what the difference is between fact and reality, since much of the editorial I’m reading today is pure speculation, but I know one thing for sure: it reinforces the importance of building OWNED MEDIA.

Google Plus iconIt doesn’t matter if G+ actually does go away or not. Last year’s incredible dwindle in Facebook reach, their purchase of Instagram, looming Twitter changes to wrap in more advertising – oh, and did we mention the Pinterest changes? – all signify one thing: while social media is still valuable, it’s more important than ever to focus on strategy first, tools second.

Even if the tsunami of social change weren’t overtaking us, it’s obvious that strategy must include a long-term vision and short-term strategies to build owned media.

Social media’s days as earned media are numbered – they are becoming paid media at a rapid pace. And more than ever before, social media is not a one-size-fits-all PR solution.

When it comes to building a community, the role of public relations professionals may be to initially create awareness using vehicles like press releases, social media platforms, editorial and other outreach methods, but at the end of the day – we need to also be advising clients on how to create those audiences on their own websites, not websites that belong to other people.

Just like the goal of editorial is typically to drive traffic back to a website, the goal of social media must be to also drive traffic back to a website – making the ability to convert that traffic more important than ever before. The goal isn’t to build an audience on the social media platform – the goal is to have that audience take action. Do you want email subscribers? Online sales? Event registration? Social media is a tool to get to your end goal, and we mustn’t lose sight of that.

Conversion often falls outside of the PR realm, belonging to the marketing department – but it’s a responsibility of PR professionals to have that conversation about PR  goals and how they fit into a conversion cycle.

Don’t talk to your clients about the platform; talk to them about what action you want that platform to acccomplish.

Read moreGoogle+ Changes Reinforce Importance of Owned Media

Is Confusion Holding You Back From Social Media?

Social Media Life BoatTwo years ago, LinkedIn hit their tenth anniversary, last year marked Facebook’s tenth and next year will be time for Twitter to celebrate the same thing.

TEN YEARS of social media growth, experimentation and learning. Wow, right? That’s longer than most of us realize.

Yet a significant number of businesses still aren’t investing energy in learning best practices and discovering how social can help them grow their business. They aren’t participating. Or if they are, it’s transparent promotion that only serves to demonstrate their complete lack of understanding of how social media actually works. It’s a token gesture of fake participation that everyone sees right through.

Why? It’s not like it’s new or unproven  – that boat sailed long ago.

I think it’s about fear.

  • Where do we start?
  • How do we find prospects?
  • How do we turn them into customers?
  • Is the risk of crisis worth it?
  • Will it hurt our  brand if we do it wrong?
  • Is the value worth the investment?

In this post, I’m going to start with the very first bullet: Where do we start?

Read moreIs Confusion Holding You Back From Social Media?

Well, Ello, Guvna – Is There a New Kid in Town?

Ello Social Media PlatformNew social media platform Ello is touted as an “anonymous Facebook with no ads.”  Popping up in the limelight where thousands of other wanna-be in the majors platforms have failed, is it something to rave about, or do they just have a great PR team?

According to The Guardian, the success of Ello was entirely unplanned. Whoops, but not a bad problem to have, right?

For a laugh, here’s what Jimmy Fallon has to say about it. (Hat tip to them for the “ello, guvna” line. It was just too fun to resist repeating!)

The very fact that it is anonymous might create some surprises, in terms of those suddenly free to spout of whatever political rhetoric they like, spoof any celebrity they want and otherwise wreak all sorts of havoc and mayhem. It will be fun to see the percent of business accounts, personal accounts and misbehavin’ accounts it ends up with.

Read moreWell, Ello, Guvna – Is There a New Kid in Town?

Five Critical Points of Blogging & Image Law Every PR Pro Must Know

Copyright InfringementSMACK. POW. Right where it counts!

Nope, not on your kisser but, even worse, in your wallet. Agencies, PR and marketing professionals, bloggers and anyone doing social media (who doesn’t?) are unwittingly putting themselves at risk. The lesson can be expensive, with lawsuit costs and fines stacking up in a horrifying way.

What am I talking about? Copyright infringement.*

It doesn’t feel like you’re breaking the law when you save a funny cartoon or quote you like, so you can post it to Facebook later. Or when you scan then post your honor roll student’s school photo on Instagram. (You bought the big reprints package, so it isn’t stealing!) And… at work, when you use a photograph of Angelina Jolie in a blog post on breast cancer. (It wouldn’t be on Google if it weren’t okay to use!) 

Or, even more common, when you use client-provided photography in a brochure you are creating for them, with the client then promptly posting a PDF of that brochure on their website. (You paid the photographer AND agency, after all, so it belongs to you!) 

Then there’s this one – so rampant in the agency world – you post screenshots of a client’s customized Facebook page and Twitter background in your online portfolio. (After all, it’s your design work, right?) And since you’re dabbling in website edits, you might as well upload those BurrellesLuce clips of editorial placements. (Don’t they send a PDF for that reason?)

These might seem innocuous enough, but they’re legal violations that can be prosecuted. Even if it doesn’t  go to court, fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.  

Read moreFive Critical Points of Blogging & Image Law Every PR Pro Must Know

A Delicious Facebook Brand Page Case Study: Smash Cakery

Delicious Facebook Brand Page Case StudyI love cake. Who doesn’t? And it’s the perfect business to grow organically via Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – the three social media platforms best suited to drool-inspiring photography.

With almost 14,000 likes, this small business in Texas is clearly doing something right with their Facebook page.

And the best part? It’s for a home-based business operating under the Texas Cottage Food Law. I love that!

Since the owner is completely booked out for almost two months in advance, according to a post early this summer, I think it’s safe to say that her Facebook strategy is working.

Don’t get caught up in the number of likes – since everyone likes cake and admiring the creative ones, there is a natural advantage built in to help boost page popularity. It also helps engagement, since women love to enjoy cake without calories and comment on the design.

It’s simply too fun NOT to leave a comment behind, right?

Let’s take a look.  

Read moreA Delicious Facebook Brand Page Case Study: Smash Cakery

How to Monitor Journalists & Find PR Opportunities Using Twitter Lists

Monitor Journalists with Twitter ListsOne of the most valuable yet underused tools for landing PR placements using social media are Twitter lists. I love, love, LOVE them.

Here’s why:

  1. Lists can be public or completely private – nobody sees it, nobody knows you put them in a list.
  2. You can monitor people in a list without actually following them.  Complete stealth mode!
  3. Lists are an easy way to filter information out of your overall stream. You can cluster by topic, location, type of media – however you want.

The February #PRprochat was one of the most lively yet, reaching almost six million timelines (whoot!). It was a blur of fantastic tweets and very fun. Here is a quick recap of what we talked about. PR isn’t the only way to use Twitter lists, of course, but it happened to be the focus of this particular chat.

Read moreHow to Monitor Journalists & Find PR Opportunities Using Twitter Lists

Secrets of a Highly Successful Local PR Facebook Group (Part 2)

Facebook Group Secrets, Part Two(Part One covers tips.)

Defining specific member guidelines are essential for a Facebook Group to work. Especially when you are creating something where promotion is not allowed and you are mingling two different audiences – such as public relations professionals and journalists.

Other than moderation to enforce the rules, crafting member guidelines was easily one of the most important factors behind the success of the Phoenix-based group that I co-moderate, @PhoenixPRPros. And it will be just as essential for you, if you are starting your own local group.

Just a reminder that if you head to Facebook to check out this group, you won’t be able to view it. We recently changed it from a closed group to a secret group to control growth and spam.

So what was in it? Here is the full, unabridged version (shared with permission of the @PhoenixPRPros founder and admin team), plus a few simple tweaks of my own. Feel free to use and adapt them. 

Read moreSecrets of a Highly Successful Local PR Facebook Group (Part 2)