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4 Ways Visual PR Will Make You Standout

Punching up GigaOm recently, the headline of a top post was “The new era of start ups focused on design”.

The headline instantly resonated. As I spend more hours of my waking hours on my iOS-based devices, I make choices for the apps I use based on the design. The first thing I do is look at the screen shots for the app listing and assess its visual appeal. Then I’ll scan the reviews for comments on usability. If there is more than one app in a category, the one with the best design – validated by reviews – wins.

This is the way that many of the startups mentioned in the GigaOm article have achieved success, and in many cases positioned themselves for successful exits. The bigger boys like Facebook take longer to get it right, but they can afford it.

It’s A Visual World, And We’re Just Living In It

The same lesson can be applied to PR. Much of the reason great visual design wins is because people just don’t have time to sift through an app over-packed with features. It’s the reason that the Facebook posts that drive the most interactions are the ones with great images. It’s why Google is standing out with its apps, especially G+. [Read more...]

The Value of Social Data to Storytelling

Thanks to Steve Olenski for tuning me into a recent white paper released by Bazaarvoice called “Chief customer advocate: How social data elevates CMOs”.

The paper focuses on how the mountain of data emanating from social networks empowers the CMO to become more strategic within the “consumer-obsessed C-suite.” Specifically, it highlights the value of social data as real-time insight into the voice of the customer by revealing “first person words and sentiments” about a brand.

It then presents data from a survey of 100 CMO’s from both B2C and B2B companies on how they are using social data for decision making on marketing programs. [Read more...]

Don’t Make My Blogging Mistakes

Gini Dietrich asked a question last week (one of many every day that get you thinking).

The question was, “What other things do you see missing in blogs?” In the post, she reflects on her six years of blogging and what she has learned from the mistakes made along the way.

It prompted me to look back at my first blog post written over five years ago as a way to do my own introspection. As a result, I offer up my own lessons learned that has hopefully made me a better (but certainly not perfect) blogger. (I’m not stealing content, Gini, just the basis of a post. I’ll call it perhaps the start of a meme :-) [Read more...]

Social Media at User Conferences: How to Approach The Opportunity

I’ve heard it said that content is the fuel that keeps the social media engine humming.

That’s a nice simplified view of the importance of content creation. To break it down some more, content is the refined gasoline (or generated electricity if you’re into green vehicles). Like the companies that provide that end-product, you have to invest in content exploration projects to get the raw material to refine into your high-octane content.

A great source of content raw material: Your user conference

While general industry trade shows and conferences have suffered with the economy, user conferences continue to be an important investment. From educating customers on best practices, meeting face-to-face with them to understand their challenges first, or allowing for peer-to-peer interaction, these events generally energize a passionate customer community. [Read more...]

What Your Own Facebook Newsfeed Tells You About Increasing Brand Engagement

Mathew Ingram of GigaOm recently wrote about Facebook’s challenging ad business model. It touched on an issue I’ve been thinking about of late with regards to finding the right voice on a company Facebook page.

In short, Facebook is the most personal of any of the social networks. It’s not far from the truth to say that the reason that almost all of Facebook’s users joined the network in the first place was to connect with personal friends and family. This is what drives them to log-in everyday, check their feed on their phone and is the basis for the status updates they share.

They can follow their favorite sports team, celebrity, media source and products. But that is a convenience, and they won’t tolerate it if one of these entitites fires off too many self-promotional updates that get in the way from people interacting with their friends. And what Facebook watchers like Ingram are trying to determine is what will keep sponsored stories from doing well (will people scroll right past them in their feeds to get to their friends’ fun updates?). [Read more...]

Social Media Targeting Comes to LinkedIn

The feedback from the majority of my clients that want to justify investment in social media today are very different than they were two years ago. They go something like this:

The executive team does not understand the benefit derived from our participation in Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare. They see the effort and output but cannot make the connection back to traditional PR measurement metrics or any lead generation activity. 

They all know and understand LinkedIn.  They feel there is some opportunity to generate benefit – ideally sales leads.

The odds are good that this is what you are hearing or asking at your company now as well. I’m going to cover how I’m responding to this in several posts here in the coming weeks.

I’ll start today by covering a new LinkedIn feature introduced last week that has the potential to be a valuable tool in the kit for engaging customers and prospects and supporting lead generation. [Read more...]

Why you can’t think of social media as a marketing check box

I know what’s stated in the headline is preaching to the choir for many of you out there. Here we are in mid-2012 and companies are devoting more resources and attention to social media as part of marketing, which is great but from where I sit, I see them thinking about it mostly as a checkbox item.

As a strategic communications consultants, our existence is based on providing value to clients in marketing leadership. There’s a slew of ways we do this and this post won’t go into the details on all of those.

But given that marketing’s existence is predicated on generating demand — or leads — for sales organizations, in order to earn and keep a seat at the table, the value we provide should be based on directly supporting our clients’ demand gen goals. [Read more...]

How to Make Content Portable: Instagram

When Facebook shocked the industry with its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, the reaction immediately focused on the reasons why a 15 month-old mobile social network could garner such a valuation. Many cited the 40 million users Instagram quickly amassed, but it’s arguably the hundreds of millions of photos snapped and shared on the network that is its greatest asset.

What the popularity and now the Facebook acquisition has done is increased the importance of Instagram as a channel that brands should embrace. General Electric is perhaps my favorite example. It shares snapshots of its myriad products with over 75,000 followers in the artistic way that Instagram users love, and generates a lot of comments as a result. It’s also a great platform to use for a photo contest whereby customers can snap photos of your products with rewards going to those photos that followers “favorite” the most.

Between content that brands can create and share and images generated by a brand’s fans, Instagram content is becoming increasing valuable assets to share across more than just the mobile-based network. But how can you make this content portable? This tutorial explains how and is the third part of my content portability series. [Read more...]

How to Make Content Portable: Pinterest

While most industry folk spent several days last week (jealously) pondering Instagram’s $1 billion purchase (more of less) by Facebook, I immediately viewed it as a pretty strong statement that the future of social media is visual. We’ve always loved sharing pictures and this is why Instagram became the largest mobile-only social network in only 15 months. It didn’t have any revenue, but it had 40 million Instagrammers and this was what Facebook paid for.

It’s the same reason that Pinterest has had its stratospheric growth. If social media is going visual, you want to make sure all of your visual content — graphics, diagrams, charts and others — is portable. I’ve seen many sites add “Pin It” buttons to the set of sharing options on blogs and Web pages, alongside the Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn buttons. Much is this has been enabled by WordPress plug-ins like Digg Digg that add Pinterest to its options.

But I haven’t seen too many people take advantage of one of Pinterest’s other “goodies”, the free-standing Pin It button for web sites. This tutorial shows you how to use it to make graphical content assets travel like this, and is the second part of my content portability series.
[Read more...]

Social Media Managers Are From Venus — And So Are Corporate Lawyers

SM-lawYou may be thinking that this post’s headline doesn’t make sense, especially if you have tried to push social media initiatives through legal approval.

But it probably got you to read this, so bear with me and let me know at the end if you still don’t agree with it.

I’m just back from SXSW in Austin (and dried out as well). The conference is so large now that it’s had to spread out over hotels a half mile or more apart. It made it tough to make it to interesting panels, but despite that fact, I was able to attend one that was hugely relevant to me, as someone working on enterprise social media programs.

The session was called “Bridging the Lawyer-Social Media Manager Divide” and featured Richard Pesce, Capital One’s Senior Manager for Social Media & Digital Communications, and June Casalmir, in-house counsel with Sprint Nextel’s Consumer & Marketing Practices. [Read more...]