BackType

4 12 2008

Social media can be difficult to track. So many people are talking in so many different places.

A new service called BackType lets you track blog comments so whenever someone says something about your company on a blog, you get an alert.

It’s a great tool to help clients track what’s being said. Then, they can respond to those comments if there are questions or if there is misinformation being presented.

And not only can you follow comments, you can follow influential bloggers to see what they have to say, which is great for the PR profession. See PR Squared’s post on BackType.

So yes, social media can be difficult to track, but there are free tools out there to help you do it. And it’s worth it.

-Abbey
aswank@igpr.com

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Image Is Everything!

3 12 2008
Uh, yeah.
Uh, yeah.

 When running for the Senate from Georgia, it is important to uphold a certain image that reflects you as a candidate, and which resonates with your key targeted voters. Mr. Martin, this image has circulated across your state, across the country and, with the aid of the internet, across the globe.

Many of us recall the image of Governor Dukakis in the tank.  Or, more recently, Senator Kerry in the space suit that looked like he just came off the Hollywood set for “Outbreak”.  Or, how about George H.W. Bush throwing up in the lap of the Japanese prime minister??  Image is everything!!
Best of luck in your next career. I am sure the hip hop community will be very supportive of your endeavors.
-Kerry




Tip’d

20 11 2008

About a month ago I wrote a post about the importance of using social networks because there is a network out there for everybody. And an emerging social bookmarking site, Tip’d, is no exception.

And Tip’d is very relevant right now. It is a bookmarking site for financial news, ideas and advice, which is fitting considering the state of the economy.

A post by the Blog Herald highlights how far the site has come in a short amount of time and how it is already rivaling other social bookmarking sites like Digg, mainly because it’s serving a niche market that the others don’t.

So, if there isn’t a social network out there for something already, someone is probably creating it, especially if it is relevant to something happening today.

And this is important for companies to know. Watch what is going on in your industry and find out where it is being talked about.

For example, if you are in the finance industry, you should be monitoring Tip’d to find out what articles are being bookmarked and what comments are being made. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to respond to some of those comments so people know you’re listening.

It’s all about two-way communication. People want to know what you have to say.

-Abbey
aswank@igpr.com





“Searching for new targets……acquiring……acquiring…..”

19 11 2008

Elected Congressional Officials……You are the next target!!

I attended a meeting of elected officials recently where a noted political veteran gave an overview of the elections and predictions of things to come. Very enlightening, and quite a wake-up call to those in office today…..and hoping to remain there going forward!

Regardless of your personal political convictions, consider the following:  Ohio and Michigan’s economies are in the tank, and yet the Ohio Governor has a 60% approval rate, and Michigan voters just re-elected the majority of current elected Democratic leaders.  Their reason?  They are not targets.  Yet.

The 2008 elections were aglow with “Blame Bush” rhetoric.  Economic troubles? Blame Bush. War on Terror? Blame Bush. Gas prices really high? Blame Bush.  (Although when prices come down they Blame Bush and his “oil buddies” and call for increased gas taxes….go figure!)  In the end, the Call For Change that resonated across the nation resulted in significant election gains for Democrats, as well as the election of Senator Obama.  The problem for the majority, however, is that Bush will be gone soon.  Then who will people blame??  The target has been on Bush’s back for his entire 8 year reign will now be redirected.  At you??

As the American electorated realizes that the new administration cannot fix all our problems overnight, and with the inevitable stumble and mistakes that all new administrations make, watch the rhetoric turn ugly. And, quickly!  Congressional Democratic leaders are buzzing with their new-found strength and expanded majority. However, polling shows that Congress has an overall approval rating of under 30%, below even that of George W. Bush.  Plus, 50 million people did not “Vote for Change”, and they are now the rabid minority who will be quite vocal.  The target may quickly be on the new leaders…..and with the economic forecast for the foreseeable future…..I send a warning to ALL incumbents for 2010, Be Advised!!

Think this is empty banter?  Look at recent history:  In 1992, Bill Clinton came to power on the campaign of “Change”.  In his first two years in office he enjoyed a Democratic House and Senate, and a laundry list of special interests who wanted their issues addressed immediately!  What happened? A huge tax increase, which became very unpopular very quickly, the appointment of under-qualified cabinet positions that turned over quickly, scores of military bases closed and local communities impacted by the job losses, and, of course, the universal health care program which was built under secrecy and died a horrible death in 1994.  (It was the Democratic Congressional leaders that killed it, not the Republicans as many conjecture incorrectly)

Ther result??  In 1994, the relatively unknown Newt Gingrich and other Republicans overwhelming retook the House with the Contract with America. President Clinton, who was nicknamed “Teflon” for his ability to avoid blame, reached out the conservatives under the so-called “Triangulation” strategy of working with the opposition. Two years later, even with a travesty of a campaign which featured Bob Dole and his tired, old school rhetoric, Clinton was re-elected, but Republicans increased their majority again.  Why?  It was very easy to blame Congress and ineffective leaders.

In 2008, we are still at war in two countries, the economy is facing its largest challenges in two generations, scandals continue in corporate America and in Washington, and a relatively newcomer is taking over in the White House.  Senator Obama faces incredible challenges, but is very popular due to his brilliantly engineered campaign. So for the next two years? Again, current Congressional members…..you ARE the next target!

The elections showed that while Obama won the election handily, the country overall has not swung hard to the left, as some groups would like to think.  If massive tax increases and greatly increased government programs are the leading initiatives in 2009, I would not want to be in the congressional majority come election time 2010!  I guess we’ll see where the priorities are placed by Congress for the next two years.

Better start handing out the teflon…….

-Kerry





Don’t Stop the Marketing

5 11 2008

We all know the economy is not doing so well right now, and many businesses are cutting back on expenses in order to stay afloat.

One thing companies should not cut, if at all possible, is marketing, advertising or public relations and the agencies that do it.

PR-Squared has a great post about the reasons you should keep your agency, including the fact that an agency is cheaper than in-house PR. And it has been shown in the past that companies that stay in the public eye during a down economy benefit in the long run. Companies like Kraft and Jiff. Check out this article for results of studies that have been done about companies that continue to market in times like these.

Regardless of the studies, not everyone can afford to keep marketing. And that is where social media comes in. One of the beauties of social media marketing is that it is inexpensive to do in most cases.

Anyone can start a blog. You don’t have to pay someone to do it. All it takes is a little bit of your time each week to make it happen. And blogging is big. It’s a great way to reach your audience and have them reach back.

Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and MySpace are also excellent, free tools to use when communicating with your audience.

So, if you absolutely have to cut back on your public relations, marketing or advertising (we hope you don’t), keep social media in mind. You can still connect with your audience without spending a lot to do it.

Abbey
aswank@igpr.com





Within the Din: Get your message to your constituents

28 10 2008

Given the nature of this political season, messages from elected officials and wanna-be elected officials has become a steady blur, especially for those of us in the swing state of Ohio.  Every major network TV station and radio station is now an endless barrage of “Vote For Me” messages.  Frankly, I very much look forward to the election being over so we can back to commercials for beer, really bad car dealerships, and the inevitable “personal care” products. No, I do not have painful burning, itching and swelling, but thank you for running a thirty second ad to tell me what to do when this does happen!

It is under the environment of endless political talk that I am reminded, once again, how critically important it is for elected officials to Get Your Message Out!  Communications technology has changed dramitically over the past decade. E-mail, internet sites, blogs, webinars, Twitter, You Tube and endless other vehicles of electronic communication have made the basic land-line phone call just another tool of communication. Public officials must communicate with their core constituents, and in the manners that work for them, not for you. It is no longer acceptable to simply call a meeting at City.Village Hall and 1) Expect people to know the meeting is scheduled, and 2) To expect busy people to show up. You must reach out to your community in the broadest fashion to ensure you have an informed audience.  Get your message out!  Let people know what their government is doing, and the successes and challenges your community faces.  Sure, municipal business still must have public meetings for decion-making, but your constituents need to hear from you much more often. 

A great example of this level of communication has been the outreach efforts by the leaders of the Regional Economic Revenue Study (RERS).  RERS is an initiative of the Northeast Ohio Mayors & City Managers Association to enhance economic development across the region through a region-wide land use planning and new growth revenue sharing program.  Lead by Hudson Mayor William A. Currin, Pepper Pike Mayor Bruce H. Akers, and Richfield Village Mayor Mike Lyons, this initiative has now reached the public outreach phase. RERS leaders, including Kerry Smith, Don Polyak and Tom Speaks of The Impact Group, have been hosting and faciliating presentations across the region to get the word out.  This effort inludes e-mails to elected officials, inviation letters through traditional snail mail, phone calls to key stakeholders, press releases, and a website for more information (www.revenuestudy.org) Further, RERS is highlighted by our funding partners The Fund for Our Economic Future and Advanced Northeast Ohio. It is only through the combined effort of all these communications we are able to then sit knee-to-knee with a broad range of key constituents to get the word out. We are reaching them in the manner they best respond, not in the manner easiest or fastest for us. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive, with a highly-engaged audience learning of this important initiative.  The RERS presentations contain the phrase: “Be informed, Get On Board!”  This message is only possible through effective outreach and communication.

RERS has been featured in several newspaper articles across the region, and live on PBS 45-49 as well as the Dan Rivers show on WKBN in Mahoning Valley.  Through a sustained and consistent messaging campaign, the RERS initiative continues to grow in awareness and support.  Is YOUR message getting across effectively?? Or, is the idle banter in coffee shops and hair salons still the communication method in your town?  Better think about it!  Residents and business owners receive a deafening din of communication in this 24/7 news world. Your message needs to rise above in order to be heard. Let your constituents know you want them to “Be informed, Get On Board!”

Let me know how YOU communicate today!

-Kerry





The Importance of Using Social Networks

20 10 2008

There is a social network out there for just about anybody. If you don’t believe me, check out KittyHappy.com, a place specifically for cat lovers. Or boomj.com, a site for baby boomers.

According to the Boomj web site, it had more than 1 million visitors in the month of June alone. If your business sells to this demographic, utilizing the web site is the perfect way to reach your desired audience. Your dollars are targeting the exact people you want, without getting lost on others in between.

I guarantee you, no matter what product or service you sell, there is a social network for it. All it takes is a little research, and it’s worth it in the end.

By exploring a social networking site that pertains to your business, you’ll get a feel for what people are interested in, upset with or new things they would like to see. It’s a great way to be more engaged with your audience.

A few more social networking sites for you to explore:

 

Abbey Swank
aswank@igpr.com