The 3 Rules of Social Media

Stravinsky, doing what he loved before the Twitter bird rolled over his head in this promo shot for The Modern Ear.

Stravinsky, doing what he loved before the Twitter bird rolled over his head in this promo shot for The Modern Ear.

The great composer Igor Stravinsky, known for his controversial Rite of Spring ballet music, once said:

“the more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.”

Social media marketing is not as easy as it sounds. How can something with so many users be funneled into a powerful tool for brands, websites, products, and causes? What’s the purpose of it all? Why are there all these character limits? Why can’t I upload GIFs to Facebook but I can to Twitter? Lo, the shackles!

It does not happen overnight, or with a small budget, or just one mystical intern.

You might be going at it the wrong way, or you’re trying to be too over-the-top. Here are a few rules to help you organize your “everyday” and that “annual report.” These are the ingredients to a more successful strategy:

  1. Worry less about creating awesome content, worry more about listening to people. Social media is a gold mine of data. And that data? That data is a bunch of real people. If you are a new eco-friendly clothing brand, search on “eco-friendly” or “environmentally conscious” or “green energy” – build your branding and reputation by engaging in conversations that matter. You will probably generate some leads and uncover new partnerships.
  2. Stop writing long tweets and Facebook posts, post more pictures and video and be thematic. Sometimes the answer to that visual content is laying on your desk or in a store room. Grab some of those promo items, turn them into little figurines that playfully move around your desk in a fun Vine, or make a crossword puzzle that can be tweeted out as an image. Everyone wants to interact and see something atypical, few want to just read your promotional copy. (Unless it’s funny?) Make a schedule, think ahead. You’ll start drawing parallels and connections you never would have thought about. Oh – loop in public relations and marketing calendars too… social media is a tool for them. Be a useful tool.
  3. Set goals and analyze success. What’s attainable and realistic, and how will you measure it?

What are some stories you have that illustrate the “rules” above?

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PR in 2015: How to Pack a Punch

Over the past few years, many trends have emerged in our beloved communications industry. Email marketing is still strong, paid and earned social media continue to have their intrigues, and some are still doing customer service well…. but we’ve been through QR codes, Viddy, Google Plus, sponsored flash mobs; enough trends to make a landfill jealous.

However, do not let these fads mislead you. It is often not the platform or device that sells, but the people responsible for steering the ship. So, how are you going to be one of those people this year who packs the punch in 2015?

Photo on 1-10-15 at 10.16 PM #2

You’re going to get better at being editorial (because-you-already-were-kind-of doing it, right?)

This means, and don’t take it lightly:

1) You will look ahead this year (and into January or February of next, because we all know that stuff hits the fan when you come back from winter holidays). Plot out what the highlights will be for your company (product release, quarterly report dates, etc…), and the nation/world (elections, holidays, and more). I find a big whiteboard helps, but hey – pencil and paper does just fine.calendar-36971_1280

2) You will look at all those opportunities, and fill in time for necessary preparations (brainstorming, meetings, analysis, and more). Don’t underestimate anything. That ship might be steered by great people, but they depend on you to sail with the winds and do it quickly. Stay the course!

3) You will block it all into a schedule. Best be on iCal, Asana, and/or whatever your favorite taskmaster tool is. You will not remember it all – commit to this law of PR. Hint: morning time is the best creative time for your mind (based on a little science), but I like to think that this because the morning is generally before everyone rains on your day with their inquiries, maladies, and whatever else.

4) You will sugar it with all your fun new platforms, devices, events, and other trendy communications phenomena. But, worry more about getting the job done, not how cool it is to use Snapchat if Snapchat won’t be the most useful. No matter what those thought leaders say :D, you and your team (+ a good consultant?) are the best judge at the end of the day. Right? If you answered no, I am worried for you.

5) You’re willing to see some things fail and succeed surprisingly, and you will be okay with it.

If you do it all right, think of all the fun PR buzz terms you can use to describe yourself, like “content marketer” or “social media evangelist!” *DISCLAIMER: Please don’t use these terms. They are but one part of what you probably do and are generally limiting.

So get to it, Monday’s here. 

Succumb to a Virus: Being Trendy

The trendiest thing to do these days is to trend (Mashable’s list is excellent). Being viral is all the rage, especially on Twitter where you can see under “tailored trends” what is trending your own city.

Trends guarantee that people are talking about your product, service, or organization, but are those conversations lasting? The same question goes for the disgruntled CEO who wants to see 5,000 more likes by 2 PM – are those likes going to increase your profits?

Before you decide that you want to aim for trending, ask yourself whether or not trending is going to enhance your brand. Chances are, your focus may be better suited for a promoted tweet, sending out a viral video to your coworkers to share, or launching a moderately aggressive Facebook ads campaign.

So let’s say your idea is worth trending. What should you do?

1. Leverage Connections

Any good PR person knows that blind, cold calls just make you look desperate. Do you know the media connection you’re contacting? Do you already know 10 industry peers who though might not be the chief editor for Vogue, but if banded together, could spread your content like wildfire?

You have to think, who do I know that will support me the most? What about LinkedIn? That dumb girl on Twitter?

2. Email

Have a big database? Or a bunch of awesome peers ready to jump in for you? Over-advertise that hashtag. Write a creative copy for the subject line.

Focus on that one thing you want to promote and provide a clear, centered idea of what you want the recipient to do (but in a sneaky way).

3. Paid Media

There is nothing wrong with promoted tweets/accounts and Facebook ads. Drive those clicks! Link to what you want them to read!!! Just make sure those share buttons are there.

Have you gone back to add new copy into your YouTube videos lately and enabled your account for ads?

4. Earned Media

Let people tweet a pre-written tweet or share a pre-written post when they push “like”. Give them the words, make their job easier. (… share buttons …)

5. Talk About it Yourself

That’s pretty straightforward. Use your personal accounts!

6. Throw an Event

Make it personal. Wait, scratch that. Give them a memory. Don’t have just an online presence, be the guy next to you at the bar. Show off that QR code tattoo. Have that hashtag on a billboard. Encourage social media participation at the event (tweet that you are at the event for a free drink, etc…)

I hope that some of these tips help. If you have any other ideas or questions, please let me know in the comments!

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