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No time for love, Dr. Jones

Remember that headline on my old blog about “tripping on geography”? Yeah? Well, looks like my blog fell into a black hole. Of course you know I’ve still been around on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, google+, tumblr and most recently Pinterest. … Continue reading

A score for the Bundesliga in a goalless game

My anticipation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup has been steadily growing since the 2006 Weltmeisterschaft. I caught this note in today’s UEFA Pick of the Week:

Free lunch
Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s home game against Werder Bremen on Sunday ended in a goalless draw, but fans could have few complaints after they were treated to free food and drink due to a computer fault at the BayArena which froze the club’s closed payment system. With fans unable to charge up their special club credit cards, the Bundesliga side generously treated them all. Home goalkeeper René Adler appreciated the gesture – to a point. “The atmosphere in the stadium was great; the club should do this every week,” he said. “It’s just a shame there was no free beer for the players.”

And that just struck me as a job well done by the Bundesliga staff at BayArena in Leverkusen. We see multiple situations every day that stem from small technical glitches or miscommunication – situations that have the potential to turn into major issues for the brand, if not handled well. Sometimes, the best choice for your brand isn’t the best choice for your bank account – at least not immediately. But in the long run, the positive buzz generated from this kind of generosity is worth a lot more than a day’s sales. Now how about some beer for the players?

Grow Your Business With Social Networking

Over the past month, I’ve been working with On Motion Media in Pittsburgh to develop a social media strategy. This entry is a result of our collaboration and is cross-posted on the company blog, On Going. Be sure to check them out for innovative insight on video-based communications, marketing and sales solutions. Follow OMM on Twitter @OnMotionMedia.

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“Social networking” is getting a lot of buzz these days, especially with marketing and PR folks. And for good reason – with more than 200 million members on Facebook, 14 million Twitter visitors and 40 million LinkedIn users, these sites have amazing reach. With that reach comes the potential for significant business growth. You can use social media to increase brand awareness, connect with targeted audiences and ultimately generate business.

Now before you create accounts on every social networking site out there – and there are plenty – and start blasting out business pitches, consider a few things. First, you need a strategy that accounts for what you want to accomplish. You need to put some time and serious thought into the planning process. And second, nobody wants to get those blast messages; they’re annoying and already coming at us from every medium – these social sites still offer a small degree of sanctuary from spam.

In creating your strategy, you may want to seek outside consultation if you are not familiar with social media (or even if, as a small business operator, you just don’t have enough time to spend on it).

The social networking sites that are most appropriate for you will often depend on your business and industry, but I would generally recommend participation in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. As you set up profiles for your business, encourage your employees to get involved as well.

“Every individual now is essentially their small business, and a little bit of an entrepreneur themselves,” LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman told the Miami Herald. For that reason, he thinks all working professionals should establish themselves in social networks – not just LinkedIn, but Facebook and Twitter as well.

These three sites attract a really diverse demographic and offer the most opportunity for you to reach new people and potential customers. Watch for upcoming blog posts about what each of these sites can specifically offer and please share your thoughts. What do you think are the most valuable social networking tools for growing business? How do you make the most of them? What kind of goals are outlined in your social media strategy?

*Photo taken at Phipps Conservatory by jennandjon.

Come On, Let’s Make Up A Dance

Setlist

Ok, so, after months of consideration that resulted in neglect, I’ve reached a decision. A turning point, really. I’m branching out on blog content. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start posting political rants or full, detailed accounts of my daily diet – that’s just not me. But you might find a music review, a pop culture commentary and the occasional esoteric rambling.

Here’s the thing: public relations and social media are major interests, but I’m still learning. (Aren’t we all? That’s part of the intrigue of it, right?) I love reading other people’s ideas (obviously, check out my blog roll and Twitter feed) and commenting on them, but I don’t want to restate them and just send you to the original post; you can find that on your own (or by checking out my Twitter feed, duh).

Writing was my first love. When I’m working on a project and get stuck, writing about something else can usually help get me back on track. I love the opportunity for feedback and interaction that blogs allow (see, there’s that social media love shining through again). And if I have a question that needs more than 140 characters to ask, well, I’ll bring it here and hope for some awesome responses. I’ve definitely gotten some good ones in the past.

So there you have it, Libby’s blog in a nutshell (“What kind of shell has a nut like this?”). I hope you keep coming back and drop a line now and then. Isn’t the idea that we’re all modern narcissists who need validation from peers? Well, I don’t know if it’s really a need for validation; I just want to know what you think. Share your insight. Dispute my argument. Whatever. (But hey, I do ask that you keep it classy. I try not to offend, but if I put my foot in my mouth, let me know – politely. It’s how I’d treat you. Thanks.)

I’m looking forward to some new conversations. Oh, and a gold star in my secret ledger for anyone who can place the lyric this post’s title came from.

*Photo from www.VoteJoeC.com on Flickr

What The Dickens Do We Tell The Clients?

Expectations

January is certainly a busy month for PR folks. With the new year comes the task of presenting the new public relations plan and strategy to our clients and colleagues. Often, these plans are developed with a good deal of communication and coordination with the people to whom they are presented. Of course there will still be some nuances and details they haven’t seen or haven’t completely embraced yet. But, generally, if it’s a solid plan in which you’ve incorporated relevant insight and considered the client’s history, things should go well.

But I feel compelled to drag up that phrase that seems to pop up everywhere now: “In the current economy…”

Why does the recession affect our year-long outlook and strategy? A lot of companies are getting thrifty and the PR budget is commonly one of the first to get cut down or axed completely. So the PR plan needs to really stand out as necessary and beneficial.

So what if the account is secure and you’ve created a great strategy for the year, and then the budget gets cut? How do you manage your client’s expectations?

I’ve got faith in you, so I’m going to assume you did a great job in 2008. How do you keep that up or exceed that success with a smaller budget? Do you find ways to be thrifty on behalf of your client? Or do you sit down and tell the client that they need to be realistic about what they can expect you to achieve with that budget? What do you think is best practice for handling this kind of situation?

*Image by strawbleu

Hey, Thanks!

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I know Thankgiving is still a few weeks away – and trust me, I am as unprepared for the holiday as the next guy! But I’m sure that if you’ve read my blog, you’ve noticed that I like to take my cues from other bloggers. So I’d like to offer a little shout-out to the awesome folks who have commented on my blog!

David Mullen, Lara Kretler, Heather Mosley, Scott Roche, Susan Iskiwitch, Jack Wojcicki, Ryan Rasmussen

Thanks for contributing to the conversation. I’d feel pretty silly up here with a monologue. And thanks to anyone who re-tweeted my questions or tweeted about my blog posts. It’s very much appreciated.

*Image from someecards.com

Like Talking to A Brick Wall

With Twitter “going mainstream” and all, we’re seeing a lot of brands and companies create Twitter accounts. Some of them aren’t really contributing to the conversation – from very few updates to blasting advertisements and links to their Web sites – but others are embracing the Twitter community and reaching out to people who have expressed interest in the brand (thanks, Summize!).

 

I think this is great. Using Twitter to reach out on behalf of your brand demonstrates that you’re interested in what people are saying, that you’re listening. I love it; I really believe that many people are missing out on this great opportunity to connect with an audience and commend those brands that are using Twitter well.

 

But…

 

Twitter is all about conversation. You can search for your brand name and direct responses to people who tweeted about it, but if you’re just going to ignore their responses, then you’ve failed to uphold your end of the conversation. That initial comment just seems like an empty gesture, and people’s responses were a waste of time, effort and thought.

 

We know how important it is to build relationships with the audience. Neglecting responses is not going to score any points. Even a packaged “@username Let me know if I can help with [whatever product]” is better than nothing at all, in my opinion. What do you think? Would you rather get something dumb on your “@Replies” page or nothing?

 

And if you’re interested in my train of thought here: Last week I joined a Twitter conversation about how a certain product (one with which all PR folks are very familiar) was causing trouble. Someone from the company responded to those of us who had mentioned the product by name with some facts and a few “tips” for use. I responded that I actually do like the product, was just joking around, but thanks for reaching out, how is social media working out for your company?, etc., etc., etc. and got nothing back. And you know, that bugs me.

 

*Photo by dlemieux