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Florida Bar gets it right with social networks

networkThe Florida Bar Association surprises me on a regular basis… but rarely in a good way. Over the last couple years, there has been a lot of discussion in the legal marketing community about client testimonials – those that appear in directories like Avvo and social networks like LinkedIn.

The rules on advertising prohibit testimonials, statements of past results, and commentary on the quality of service. However, by nature, the directories and social networking sites collect unsolicited comments by clients with little or no control by the lawyer.

Here comes the shocker. Today, the Florida Bar agreed to exempt those sites from the rules and are considering the content ‘information upon request.’ This is very good news for lawyers, as online client-generated content, reviews and recommendations begin to supplement the traditional referral.

I’m not anticipating a flood of new LinkedIn profiles from lawyers, but this decision finally removes the doubt and confusion associated with its use.

Now I can focus on training them how to use the tools effectively!

Tampa Bay public relations

Try social networking – for business and pleasure

networkAlmost everyone in business has heard how important it is to “network.” But for many people, the idea of making the rounds at the local chamber of commerce luncheon isn’t at all appealing. Now, thanks to online social marketing, it’s easy for anyone to make hundreds (if not thousands) of contacts.

Whether or not you’re active in a social network on the Web, you’ve probably at least heard of many of these sites (i.e.FacebookLinkedInTwitter… etc.) But for a definition, Wikipedia (itself quite an example of a socially engineered site) describes social networking as “online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are Web-based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.”

Read the rest of this article at Examiner.com

Tampa Bay public relations

How DO you do it?

I’ve been doing a lot of presentations about social media, web 2.0 and online reputation management lately. After 50 minutes of running through the design of a social media strategy, policies and a variety of executions, I inevitably get the question, “How do you keep up with it all?”

The short answer is that we make time for those things that are important to us.

The long answer is more complicated.

You don’t have to tell me that you’re already overextended.  I know. I get it. I am too.  But when you see the power that social media has, and how it can change (or at least enhance) the conversation, you’ll understand.

For instance, when I use my social media tools as filters for ‘the good stuff’, it actually saves me time digging through all sorts of news outlets, blogs, and other meaningless posts.  I have the people that I trust to provide the best information, and those are the links I click. Those are the sites or posts I read.

This is a topic that I’ll continue to cover, but in the meantime, here is a post from Michael Gass’ blog,Fuel Lines in which he discusses how he keeps up. And Amber Naslund just posted her plans for several posts about social media time management on SocialMediaToday. Becky McCray wrote Managing your social media timeon MyVenturePad. All good resources

If you determine that social media marketing is important to you, you’ll find the time.

Tampa Bay public relations

Plan to get your money’s worth

office

It’s planning season!  The next few months at the agency will be spent planning for our clients’ 2010 marketing initiatives. A key component of the marketing plan is the media in which their advertisements will appear.

In choosing media for your promotional efforts, a very important consideration is how well a particular advertising vehicle will reach your target audience at a level that will allow the investment pay off with increased sales.

Read the rest of this article at Examiner.com

Tampa Bay public relations

PR: Brand management help from your media friends

prWhat thoughts are stirred when you hear the term, “public relations?”

You might think of press releases. Or more imaginatively, maybe the image that comes to mind is a news conference — where a company spokesperson tries to put a positive spin on reports that their latest product is “unsafe for any use… and is hazardous as waste.”

Certainly such functions are aspects of PR. They are also quite different from what pops into our heads when someone says “advertising.” We almost instinctively think of multi-million dollar ads during the Super Bowl or perhaps loud radio commercials for a local car dealer.

But like its marketing cousin, PR’s every activity has one objective — to promote a brand image that will resonate with its target audience.

Read the rest of this article  at Examiner.com

Tampa Bay public relations