Category Archives: social media

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.


“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.


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.




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

Commandeering the Conversation













Last week David Mullen asked people who read his blog to “share gems.” As I read the comments following the post, I noticed how many of them were less “business tips to be a better professional” and more “wise words to be a better person.” While some people added tidbits from professional mentors, others shared quotations that had become their mantras.


It’s funny how the comments on a blog post can change the conversation.


The same thing happened a couple months ago when Chris Brogan posted “50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business.” (In fact, I tweeted about my interest.) In the comments section, someone mentioned that an intern was working on the company’s Twitter account. Chris responded and asked, “Is Twitter an intern-level platform?” and “Did you put your brand in the hands of an intern?” These questions spurred even more comments about the roles of interns, who they are and what they can handle. (As an intern, I of course threw in my two cents!)


I think it’s great to see the conversation branch out in different directions. Not only do we get to see what people had to say about the original blog post, but also some other thoughts that occurred to them while they read it or even ideas they’d been playing with for a while.


What do you think? Do you welcome the change? Or do you think it’s like that annoying kid at the lunch table who didn’t listen to what everyone had to say and just carried on a tirade about whatever subject he wanted? (Yeah, I had one of those…all through high school.)


Should we stick to the program and only comment on-topic? Save the other stuff for another time?


Update: Another lesson learned: don’t wait two days to post what you write. Chris Brogan made his opinion on this subject known over at his blog by asking readers to “Make It [Their] Blog” on Oct. 15 and following up with “Posts from the Comments” featuring Rebekkah Hilgraves yesterday and Mike Sachleben today. I’m going to chalk this one up to “great minds…”


*Image by joguldi.

Back on the Blogwagon

I thought unemployment would allow me plenty of free time to immerse myself in the culture of the blogosphere.


I was wrong.


For one thing, unemployment left me without the daily demand for creativity and novelty. Lacking a steady, challenging workload, I lost my focus. For a little while, I kept up with Twitter and reading blogs, but nothing inspired me enough to write my own.


And then my computer crashed. I lost all my browser bookmarks as well as all my job search documents and blog article ideas. I started using my roommate’s persnickety PC to check my e-mail and search for employment, but my other online habits took a nosedive.


After Apple replaced my hard drive, I tried to recover as much as possible. (Thank goodness so many applications were sent as e-mail attachments!) But I just didn’t have the same zeal as I had in early August.


And now, one day back at work in a public relations agency, I am ready to start blogging…again.


So what have I learned? Challenges demand results. The more creativity I need on a project, the more ideas spike my curiosity. My job is currently my source for challenge and creativity. Thus, by the transitive property, employment inspires me. (Don’t believe me? Whatever, I don’t care, I don’t major in math.)


What inspires you? What do you like to blog about? When do questions and ideas come to you?

Who should write a blog?

It seems like everyone is blogging these days. It’s not just for tech geeks and emo kids anymore. Blogs are not only a great medium for expressing opinions and keeping friends updated, but also for sharing practical information and connecting with like-minded people.

One of the first tips I got when I embarked on my job search was to start a blog and start reading and commenting on other profession-focused blogs. I eased into the practice by using Twitter to connect with PR professionals who directed me to interesting articles about industry practices and news.

All of this was going well. I felt informed and was making connections. And then something happened that made me step up. I went to an IABC social event in Charlotte to network with area professionals and met a guy who was trying to get a broadcast job. He said he’d been looking for a job, applying and interviewing for about a year and had only secured a weekend weather reporting spot. After talking to this man for a while, I found myself recommending that he start a blog – or, better yet I said, a vlog! After all, he has all this television broadcast experience and he wants to keep doing it. He could become a YouTube superstar!

I think he thought I was crazy. “What do I have to blog about?” he asked.

Well, he presented himself as an experienced television reporter. Why not talk about broadcasting? Or, he seemed to me to be a professional job-seeker, so how about creating some sort of resource or guide for other people looking for jobs?

And as I made these recommendations and he just shook his head, I realized I should probably start following my own advice. And what better way to start a blog than to ask who should be blogging?

So, what do you think? Who should be blogging?