Tag Archives: Social media

The Role of Social Media In the Japan Tsunami

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Image by Official U.S. Navy Imagery via Flickr

Who would have thought that, with the increasing popularity of social media, that it would be a communication tool during the midst of international crises?

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media played a key role during recent the Japan tsunami crisis, according to an article on the Public Relations Society of America‘s website. “Within days of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, 64 percent of blog links, 32 percent of Twitter news links and the top-20 YouTube videos carried news and information about the crisis,” according to “Crisis in Japan showcases vital role of social media during crises.”

For the complete story, click here.


Why YOU Should be Using an Email Marketing Program

Image representing Constant Contact as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

Chicago’s Office of the City Treasurer (Stephanie Neely), along with Constant Contact, a leading email marketing service provider, sponsored the workshop: “Social Media and E-Mail Marketing Secrets for Small Business Workshop” today. The event, held at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Randolph, offered a primer on the benefits and best practices of social media and email marketing.

Small business owners, in hopes of keeping overhead low, often skim on costs. One way that many businesses do this is by sending email marketing messages via regular email servers (i.e. Outlook and other webmail). I’m convinced, after attending today’s seminar, that a program like Constant Contact can actually maximize exposure for a minimal cost.

The case studies presented at the seminar were impressive. For instance, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra increased their website traffic by 150% after implementing an email marketing campaign with Constant Contact.

Steve Robinson, regional director for Illinois and Wisconsin of Constant Contact, also made a great case for why companies should use these programs:

  •  Recipients are more likely to open up HTML messages, as opposed to basic text emails.
  •  Companies are able to brand their email newsletters through the use of logos and color schemes (see last point for another reason why this matters).
  • These programs give users the option to manage lists by notifying them of bouncebacks, adding new subscribers and automatically removing unsubscribers.
  •  Tracking success is an underutilized step in marketing because the budgets of small businesses often don’t have room to pay for additional tracking services. Constant Contact automatically tracks email marketing efforts, providing users with a host of useful data, including who opened the message, what they clicked on and whether they forwarded the message to anyone.

If you want to learn more about Constant Contact, check them out online. They offer a 60-day trial, which is perfect to gauge how easy the service is to manage. You can also see how their program works here.

Unfortunately, they don’t provide content for your email marketing newsletters, but don’t worry, we can always help you with that (insert smiley face here). Shoot us an email for more information to m.franklin@publicitystuntinc.com.

What are your thoughts? Have you used Constant Contact before? What about any other email marketing management programs out there?


Are celebrities TOO accessible with social media?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Visit a gossip blog any day of the week and you are bound to come across a story about a celebrity attacking a non-celebrity or fellow celebrity via America’s favorite microblogging site, Twitter. Back in the day, there was an air of mystique surrounding celebrities. But these days, with Twitter, Facebook and other access-granted social tools, the curtains have come down.

This new approach to communicating with celebrities begs the question: Are celebrities too accessible?

Of course, as a publicist, I am all for establishing a positive with the public by almost any means necessary. And with Twitter and other social media tools, this is easier now than ever. But it’s also easier to sever those relationships with just one wrong tweet.

Not only is it easy to damage these relationships with a tweet gone wrong, but again, with that air of mystique no longer there, are fans losing respect for celebrities? It’s human nature to place celebrities on pedestals because of their seemingly unattainable nature, but if we know every move a celebrity makes–from when he/she wakes up to what they eat for breakfast to how a spouse made them mad and more–are we bound to lose our fascination for them? These days anyone can be a so-called celebrity and if everyone is a celebrity, then no one is really a celebrity. Get it?

What do you think? Should celebrities lay off the tweets or should they keep ’em coming?


Social media engagement 101 for fashion designers

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Image via Wikipedia

Social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare, offer unprecedented opportunities for fashion designers to connect with potential customers. But before you jump right in, check out this list of  best practices to ensure that you are maximizing your social media efforts while maintaining your brand’s image.

  • Map out an editorial calendar. This is a great planning tool for your social media communications. Focus on delivering timely, relevant topics. For instance, your December calendar items may include posting tips on what to wear for the holidays, fabulous New Year’s party clothes, etc. Regardless of what you choose to include in your editorial calendar, its contents should support your brand’s offline activities.
  • Communicate with your customers and potential customers when they are most likely listening. According to a study released by social media management company Vitrues, social networks are more active during the week with spikes around 11 a.m., 3 p.m. ET. Facebook activity reaches its peak on Wednesdays around 3 p.m.  With this in mind, avoid waiting until Saturday night to post messages.
  • Give your “fans” and “friends” a reason to spread the word about your clothing line. Social networking is built on the premise of sharing; therefore, give them something to re-post and re-tweet. Post free shipping offers, discounts on select pieces in your line–provide things that are likely to go viral. The average Facebook user has 130 friends; imagine the scores of potential customers you will be able to reach if just 10% of your brand advocates were to repost.
  • Moderate your page. Keep in mind that moderation does not mean babysitting. Allow the conversation to happen organically, only interjecting when absolutely necessary. For instance, if a spammer uses your social networking profile to post solicitous advertisements, delete their comments and block them, if possible.
  • Engage your audience. The biggest mistake that many clothing lines make is to talk “at” their audiences. Don’t just bombard them with messages about your designs; listen to what they have to say by using surveys, polls and quizzes. Ask them to submit photos wearing your designs. There are countless ways to engage your audience.

Again, social media is a great opportunity to communicate directly with consumers and position your clothing line in a favorable light. But don’t mess it up. Keep these best practices in mind for the best results for your fashion brand.


30 days to a stronger Twitter presence

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Just two short weeks ago, I embarked on a journey to learn more about Twitter, the microblogging phenomenon. As a public relations and marketing professional, there’s no way I could justify not knowing how to take full advantage of this free tool for my clients. And so my experiment began—although I am only halfway through this month-long experiment, I thought I’d report on what I’ve learned thus far:

Interact

Early on in my experiment, I learned that Tweeters love interacting with other followers. The very essence of social media is sharing, or being social. So instead of passively listening as I had done in the past—which is very important, by the way—I jumped into the conversation and began interacting with my followers and those that I am following as well.

Become a Resource

Not only did I interact, but I provided useful resources. How did I know these resources were helpful? During the listening phase of my experiment, I was able to learn a little bit more about my fellow Tweeters. They loved this and responded favorably.

So far, I have had 69 interactions and a 30% increase in Twitter followers. This is major for me, considering that I had absolutely no interactions in the 30 days prior to beginning this experiment. At the onset, I had 99 followers and now have 128. The increase may seem small compared to those with thousands of followers, but followers who aren’t in your target audience don’t mean a thing. Fortunately, all 29 of my new followers are networking contacts or potential new business that have directly reached out to me since becoming “followers.”

As you can see, the experiment is going great. My only regret is not taking advantage of Twitter sooner.

Now what are you waiting for? Follow me @PublicityStunt. See you there.


How to get started guest blogging today

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As noted in a recent post, developing a company blog can be time-consuming, but a guest blog post is a great alternative. Now that you’ve decided that a guest blog post is worth your time, what do you need to do to get started?

Identifying relevant blogs is a key step. According to BlogPulse, there are more than 148 million blogs and counting, give or take a few million. In the past 24 hours alone, more than 90,000 new blogs have been created. With so many blogs, the task may seem daunting, but it’s critical that your guest post be featured on a blog that is relevant to your brand. If it’s not, it can waste your time and tarnish your reputation. Because of the anonymity that cyberspace offers, users tend to take a no holds barred approach to criticisms. If readers feel that you are peddling irrelevant messages to them, they will be sure to call you out on it.

Become a part of the community. The best way to do this is by posting comments on posts for a few weeks before submitting your pitch. Who knows—the editor may approach you first about a guest post, saving you the trouble of conjuring up a catchy pitch message. This also helps other members of the community to become familiar with who you are and, therefore more receptive, before making your guest post debut.

Include links to your site. Assuming that you do not have a blog already (because you are reading this post), include a link to your brand’s general website. Most blogs include a standard form, where commenters are prompted to provide their name, e-mail and link. The link box is where you want to include your company’s URL. This provides the site moderator and/or editor and community members with a frame of reference for who you are and the company that you represent.

Develop relevant content. Before you pitch the editor, develop an idea of the content that you would like to pitch. Of course it should be relevant to the blog’s general content and should demonstrate an obvious benefit to its readership.

And finally, go for it! Now that you are familiar with the benefits of a guest blog post, as well as what you need to do to get started, all that’s left is the execution phase.

Have you ever been a guest blogger? If so, how did you pitch your post to the blog’s editor?


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