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Social Media: What’s Your Strategy?

Tampa Bay social media managementSocial media is a key component of effective branding strategy. More than just “social,” these communications must be backed by a sound marketing plan.

As with every marketing plan, you must determine what you want to accomplish via social platforms and who exactly you’re trying to reach. It’s not just about “Likes.” In fact, your target audience may not even be on Facebook.

You have to know where your customers and prospects are: Twitter? LinkedIn? Reddit? A combination? Your primary goals, after all, are lead generation and best positioning.

Once you’ve identified the best platforms for your message, you’re tasked to engage your audience regularly and consistently. One way to achieve this by establishing yourself as a thought leader. By doing so, you satisfy readers’ needs for insights to overcome their toughest challenges.

Shape these conversations through real-world, relatable experiences. How has your business helped others tackle problems? How have your customers benefited from your product, service or solution? How can you provide what no one else can?

This will go a long way toward generating potential leads and developing existing relationships. It’s a long-term commitment that’s vital to your overall marketing strategy.

Tampa Bay public relations

Breakthrough Cocktail Interview with Ginger Reichl

breakthrough_newsI had the pleasure of chatting with Gary Ware on his Breakthrough Cocktail podcast this week. This episode focused on creating the career of your dreams, so we talked about my career path, how I chose advertising, how to network, creating work/life ‘balance,’ what I look for when hiring new talent and more during our half hour together.

One of his questions was, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” I responded that I can only ever remember wanting to go into advertising. Maybe it was watching Darren create ads at McMann & Tate on Bewitched reruns, AdCouncil PSAs during Saturday morning cartoons, or the Superbowl, but I was hooked very early. By the time I was 12 years old, I was on a mission to have an ad agency. Such a nerdy child.

I am so fortunate and grateful that I get have the ‘career of my dreams’ and work with incredibly smart and inspiring clients. It was kind of Gary to ask me to join him on his podcast and hope that one person hears a nugget that helps them find their dream. Happy listening!

 

Gary helps young professionals reach their full potential with coaching and mentorship. You can subscribe to his podcast on iTunes to listen to all of his guests and get a little insight of your own.

Tampa Bay public relations

AP Stylebook now includes social media terms

API remember the day I got my first AP Stylebook. I was the newly hired Advertising & Media Relations Director for a very large law firm, when my assistant came into my office, took inventory of all of the supplies left behind by my predecessor and made a list of all the things I would need. About a week later, she arrived with a box of pens, pads of paper, folders, WordPerfect for Dummies (they’re probably still using WP), and other office supplies.

And then she handed me the latest AP Stylebook.

Oh sure, I had used other stylebooks before – Chicago Manual of Style, Strunk & White’s (of which I got my 50th Anniversary edition last year!) – but for some reason, I wanted to tuck this book under my pillow at night.

Here we are a dozen years later and it’s still the standard. The team recently made the updates to include social media terms.

Read the list on Examiner!

Tampa Bay public relations

Marketing lawyers like toothpaste? Not so much.

As a professional communicator, I should have no problem explaining the difference between marketing products and services. And yet, I struggle with it every time I encounter a prospective client who expects the phone to ring off the hook with new business if he hires me.

You only need a lawyer when you need a lawyer. You only need a doctor when you need a doctor. You only need an architect when you need an architect. I cannot create the situations, I can only work to build name recognition, reputation, and illustrate differences – all within the confines of the rules and guidelines of professional ethics.

Bruce Marcus shares his thoughts in this article, Professional Services Marketing — What Works and What Doesn’t, where he makes clear distinctions between marketing lawyers and toothpaste.

I’ll be sending this link to the next potential client with unreasonable expectations.

Tampa Bay public relations

Resolve to devote quality time to your customers

resolutionImagery of the passing year as a weary old man, and the coming 12 months as a smiling toddler, are common. For businesses, the symbolism is especially appropriate. As a healthy child should develop into maturity, business owners hope each new year brings growth to their companies.

And business growth is often predicated on marketing. While promoting a company can’t overcome a bad product or poor service (at least not in the long term), a well-devised marketing strategy can go a long way toward leveling the playing field within a competitive space.

Effective marketing requires a carefully conceived plan based on a consistent, coherent message being frequently presented to the proper audience. However, it’s not enough to simply know what points to cover and then check the boxes. Just as you wouldn’t burp a baby who hasn’t been fed, or give her a bath before she plays in a sand box, timing is important for every promotional activity.

A good plan conforms to the cycles of a business market. What do your customers want and when? For a few professional service providers there are some easy examples — tax services in the late winter and early spring for accountants, or flu shots in the late fall for medical offices. In such circumstances, one should obviously plan marketing initiatives in preparation for seasonal spikes. Even though professionals may think it “goes without saying” that they offer certain services, advertising is — at a minimum — a good defensive move that may pre-empt existing customers from trying out a competitor.

Yet doing what everyone else is doing doesn’t go very far when trying to grow a business. Transcend basic care to see your customer base thrive.

Think of marketing as spending “quality time” with your clientele. You need to periodically interact with your customers and fortify your relationship throughout the year via your marketing communications. Realistically, how often you can do so depends on your resources. Yet the times you miss out on reaching existing and potential customers represent real opportunity costs.

Would you want your customers to go longer than three months without your business once crossing their minds? How many periods of top of mind awareness do you think would be a minimum objective? Come up with a number and add to it any “seasonally mandated” advertising. This is the number of promotional cycles you want during the year. Keep this number in the back of your mind for a moment.

Next, determine how many people you need to reach to achieve the growth you want. How often will they need to see your message before you reach a point of diminishing returns on your advertising investment? Decide which media are best to carry your message. What level of work is required to produce the messaging you need? Now, what kind of investment will all this necessitate? This is how much a quality marketing cycle will require of your marketing budget.

Once you’ve gone through the costing exercise, you may decide that you don’t really need that much quality — Little Timmy (your customer) can just “amuse” himself. Unfortunately he will… and he won’t be giving your business a second thought.

But let’s assume your budget will cover effective initiatives equal to that minimal number of desired cycles. Simply space them out equally over the course of the year. From this time frame, you can plan your associated marketing activities throughout the upcoming twelve months. If by some chance you find yourself with more than enough money to do the minimum, determine whether your goals would be better served by enhancing each cycle or if you’d be better off with one or more additional marketing initiatives.

Keep in mind that each individual activity within every cycle should always support your brand identity to re-enforce your value proposition in the minds of your customers and prospects. This will add to the overall effectiveness of your marketing and your new year will grow up strong.

Tampa Bay public relations