Know your social media rights

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Originally posted on New York's PIX11 / WPIX-TV:

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(PIX11) – A Virginia mother learned the hard way that anyone with cruel intentions can steal a photo and make it their own.

Now, the spotlight has turned to protecting privacy, especially that of young children, online.

Watch the video above to learn your rights online and how to safeguard them.

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10 boring PR tasks you can automate

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Originally posted on Women In PR:

By Frederik Vincx                              This post can be found here

Could a robot do a PR pro’s job?

For now and the foreseeable future, the answer is no, PR will remain a human-powered industry. Robots won’t automate PR pros out of a job, but they can help us automate repetitive tasks, freeing up time to focus on the fun parts of PR: creativity and strategy.

Here are 10 boring PR tasks we’re more than happy to hand over to robots, and the tools you’ll need to automate them:

1. Tracking who responds to your emails

If you send a lot of pitch emails, tracking them manually gets tricky in a hurry. How do you know whether people who don’t reply are reading your emails or ignoring them?

A Gmail add-on that was originally designed for sales professionals, 

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7 Ways to Create the Online Reputation You Want

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Whether you have your own business or not, managing your online reputation is imperative in today’s highly Internet savvy world. The things you said on social media will haunt you for the rest of your life if you’re not careful. Something you said innocently as a teenager might still be out there and come up if an employer searches for you. Thankfully, you can manage your online reputation if you know what to do.

Blogging What You Want People to Know 

Practicing daily blogging is a good way to keep your name and brand in front of readers and on top of search engine results. A blog post doesn’t have to be long, or in-depth to be effective. You simply need to know why you are writing it, to whom you’re writing it in order to be sure that you choose topics related to your niche of importance to your audience.

Use Article Marketing to Educate Your Market

Article marketing isn’t dead, it’s just changing. It’s still an important way to get the word out about your brand. It’s a good way to educate your market about the need for your products and services in general. For instance, if you sell a specific moisturizer you might write articles about caring for the skin, and what types of ingredients are good and bad for the skin. Let your short bio at the bottom of the articles lead them to your website.

Use Social Media Strategically

Be careful on social media. Use it strategically. If you’re on Facebook sharing away with your friends and relatives be sure to check and double check your privacy settings. You don’t want something innocent there to corrupt your business message. Keep business and your private life as separate as possible. In other words, don’t over share. Share enough, but keep it simple.

SEO Gets You Found

Search engine optimization is more important than ever. You may wonder what it has to do with your online reputation but if no one can find you, you’re not going to have a reputation at all. Keep up to date on new rules as they become available. Each search engine tells you in no uncertain terms how to optimize your pages for best results. Follow what they say and you’ll get better results. You can also use a service like HubSpot’s Marketing Grader to find out how well you’re doing.

Google Alerts for Monitoring

Use Google Alerts to set up a notification to your inbox any time your name, brand, product or any keyword you want is mentioned on the Internet. This is a great way to monitor your business buzz as well as stay ahead of the game when it comes to new products and services. Google Alerts is a great way to keep informed on any topic you choose.

Bury Don’t Erase

When you find information about yourself you’d rather people not have, it’s important to seek to bury the information rather than erase it. It can be very difficult to erase information, especially if it’s true. Even slanderous information can be very expensive to get rid of and won’t always work. The best course of action is to bury the information with great search results, if the information you don’t want people to see is on page four, it’s going to be almost nonexistent anyway.

Be Transparent

This advice might seem counter to the advice above. However, if you ever do something wrong and learn from it in your business, it’s best to be open about it. Write a blog post about what you learned, write a book about it, and you can turn what could have been truly business killing news into something positive. But, remember that being transparent about your business has nothing to do with your personal life. Keep personal and business as separate as possible.

 

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Looking for a someone to  patiently explain social media to help you understand the best ways to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube?  Send me a message using the contact form below

I look forward to hearing from you!

Lynn Cooper

 

5 Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media if You Value Your Reputation

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The Internet has now been around long enough that former teenagers who are in the job market are sometimes seeing the affects that poor choices made in the past can wreak on the present. Teachers, lawyers, politicians are also not immune to the far reaching implications of having made poor choices publically can have on them. As a small business owner, you’re in the same boat. It’s important to use social media carefully to enhance your business reputation.

 

Not Keeping Personal & Business Separate

 

This is getting more difficult as the days of being anonymous on the net are over. Today, everyone is known via Google, and you have to sign in via Google or Facebook or other methods thereby verifying your identity in order to participate in online discussions.  But, it’s important that you keep your personal life and business life as separate as possible. If you use the Internet to market your business, you’re probably going to have to limit your online personal life to a select group of people as well as a select social network such as Facebook.

 

Over sharing on Social Media

 

Everyone doesn’t need to know every detail about your life. Is it really smart to share pictures of yourself in your underwear, even to your husband or boyfriend? You never know when you will get hacked and that private information is out there for the world to see. In addition, while you want to be a real person to your audience they really don’t need to know the intimate details of your menstrual cycle or hormone fluctuations or bathroom habits of your children. Naturally, this depends on your niche, but for the most part, don’t over share, it’s not attractive.

 

Not Being Consistent

 

One way to manage your online reputation is to keep your brand consistent across all accounts. Use similar or the same headshots, use the same logos, and banners, the same colors and the same information about yourself and your business. By inadvertently leaving something out you might accidentally confuse someone or make them think you’re being less than honest. Even if it’s an accident, you don’t know how others will view it. Double check to make sure that everything you say and do backs up who you want to represent yourself as online.

 

Not Researching Yourself

 

You can use a variety of tools for monitoring your online reputation such as Google Alerts, Reputation.com, and others will help you manage your online presence so that you are the one dictating what people know rather than others dictating it for you. You can find out what’s being said about your brand, your name, and your products or even similar products and services so that you can stay ahead of the buzz and even create the buzz.

 

Not Updating Privacy Settings

Most social media accounts offer some privacy options. A great way to manage your privacy on

Facebook is to set up a closed and private group for your friends and family that you trust so that nothing can be searched or discovered that is personal or embarrassing. Facebook also offers other privacy options like the ability to approve images you’re tagged in. Use these options to get the most out of social media and protect yourself and your business from misunderstandings.

 

Every day there is something in the news about someone who said something taken out of context or said in jest that gets someone into a lot of trouble to where they lose jobs, clients, and even an entire business. Don’t become a statistic.

 

4 Ways to Drive Engagement on LinkedIn

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You’ve done everything you’re supposed to do when it comes to LinkedIn: you have a 100% complete profile, received positive recommendations/endorsements and, if applicable, launched a business page.  You’ve built it, but how do you keep your partners, cohorts and clients engaged? Here are four practical methods to integrate into your LinkedIn strategy that will drive engagement:

Keep In Touch

LinkedIn is not a database, it’s a social network. To really maximize it, be aware that it’s a two-way communication venue. Keep in mind that while you are perusing other people’s profiles and groups, they’re checking out yours as well. Once you have established a connection on LinkedIn, keep it fresh. Make a note to send messages directly to a set of individuals at least every 90 days. If they need someone with your expertise, you want them to think of you and not someone else.  Use your status updates to provide useful information to those in your industry.

Become the Resource

Strive to continuously learn about your niche industry, target audience and trends. The more you know, the more you can share and help others. When you share your knowledge with your connections, they realize you are a provider they can trust with their business.

Share those insights in your on-and-offline conversations, and also consider sending clients tidbits of information as you find them online. For example, your organization compiled client case studies, consider posting them on LinkedIn via Slideshare and tag specific individuals you know will benefit from your report.

Inspire Trust

Trust is imperative to the success of any business. If trust in your brand is lost, then you lose business and, if you lose business, then you’re out of business. Since LinkedIn is a platform where professionals can interact with you and ask questions, you can utilize that to build trust in your brand. Take the time to answer questions, interact with connections and consistently post valuable information. Over time people recognize you as an expert in your field and that you can be trusted to get the job done.

Be Transparent

Transparency assists in making prospective clients feel comfortable. People are wary. They fear being scammed or spending money and time on an inferior product or service. Help them feel secure by showcasing your offerings and testimonials from those who have benefited from your services.

Be smart about how you communicate online, too.  If you have a clear strategy, then you will be able to benefit from the multitude of resources. In the end, your online success truly depends on you.

 

Connect with Lynn on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/slynncooper

Why Instagram trumps Vine

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In the world of technology, in order to stay relevant and profitable, your brand has to adapt. Today, social media giant Facebook unveiled a highly anticipated video feature on Instagram, a strategic move to satisfy audiences who are seeking innovative mobile technology. It’s a much needed defense tactic against rivals such as Twitter’s mobile application Vine, which has amassed a large following for its six-second videos, and Snapchatwhich enables videos and photographs to “self-destruct.”

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive at Facebook, believes that mobile is the best way for his company to remain profitable. In Facebook’s 2012 annual report, the company stated: “We believe that mobile usage of Facebook is critical to user growth and engagement over the long term, and accordingly are prioritizing mobile product development.” The Menlo Park, California-based company has tripled the Instagram workforce since the photo-sharing platform was acquired last year, and during the launch event Zuckerberg hinted, “We’re really just getting started with this product.”

The recent announcement is evidence that Instagram’s video application trumps Vine’s current offerings, allowing users to record and share 15-second videos with the option of selecting custom covers and one of 13 signature filters, as well as boasts image stabilization. But unlike Vine videos, Instagram videos do not continuously loop.

Brands have learned that uploading videos online is a powerful way to deliver advertising. Consumers watch videos for two reasons: First entertainment, and secondly information.  With projections that streaming video will harness more than 70% of online traffic in the next few years, it’s clear that video consumption won’t dwindle.

If you’re looking to try your hand at creating an online video, here why Instagram video trumps Vine:

It’s user-friendly

The selling point of Instagram is its ease of use. The app takes seconds to learn and is so simple to use.

It’s reach and integration is unrivaled

Instragram let’s users share video on Facebook and Twitter, as well as embed videos on a blog or website. These capabilities offer brands the opportunity to extend their reach to a larger audience and integrate marketing efforts over several platforms. This far outweighs Vine’s appeal since Instagram currently has over 100 million users. The product update is likely to send the user count up.

Less restrictions

While Vine only gave users six seconds of video, Instagram video boasts 15 seconds of recording right out the gate—and the videos don’t loop. In addition, Vine was only available for iPhone users until earlier this month while Instagram launched its video option immediately on both platforms. Trust, socially savvy customers won’t forget those details.

If you have yet to secure your brand identity on Instagram, now is the time to do so. Craft a strategic plan for utilizing the technology and start shooting.

5 Social Media Networks to Watch

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Few social services have enjoyed as much success as sites like Facebook and YouTube.  However, there are thousands of social media sites in existence and their popularity truly depends on the country.

Socially Ahead’s S. Lynn Cooper has curated a list of five social networks to watch. Like Instagram, many incorporate visual images with the goal of connecting people beyond the digital realm. Other services remind us of LinkedIn, bringing users together through professional networking. Regardless of which ones spark your interest, let’s explore which ones will become the future of social media.

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Conversations

HootSuite has launched Conversations, a tool that brings social networking into the workplace.  Forget e-mail chains, members can collaborate in real-time by posting on message boards similar to Facebook.  The great thing is this tool is not limited to the immediate team; in fact, others can be invited to join the conversation. Need to pull in legal or marketing, one click and they are brought into the dialogue.

Vine

When you hear the word vine, most would think of something that grows from a tree. Not anymore! If you have yet to hear about this mobile application, then it’s time we get you up to speed. Powered by Twitter, Vine is a video-sharing app that allows users to create six second videos using their smartphone. You can upload them and share the videos on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If you have a product-based business and a sprinkle of creativity, Vine can become an excellent content marketing vehicle for your brand.

Chirpify

What if your followers could purchase your product or services by simply tweeting? Enter Chirpify, a social media network that allows your brand to sell directly to consumers on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. When followers, who must have Chirpify accounts, reply with the word “buy,” they score the item. No need for you to send them to your website for processing, Chirpify does it all for you for a nominal transaction fee.

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Medium

To simplify what Medium is think Twitter and Blogger combined in a simple layout.   Unlike Twitter, which caps you at 140 characters, Medium gives you the flexibility to express your thoughts just the way you like.

Quora

Quora is an information sharing and gathering platform that takes the form of crowd-sourced questions and answers. A combination of other platforms such as LinkedIn Answers and Wikipedia, users can vote the answers they deem the most helpful, allowing the most knowledgeable to obtain status in the network.

5 Surefire Ways to Make Your Website Work for You

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Having a website is essential to a business’s marketing strategy. Almost every business whether business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B), and even non-profits, need an online presence to reach the global marketplace. Surprisingly, many small businesses lack a website that will convert to leads. Regardless if you have a social media presence, operating without a website can hurt your chances at sustainable online success.

Gone are the days where all it took was a URL, flash graphics, and an expensive advertising campaign to boost traffic. The reasoning behind this shift is largely due to a change in consumer behavior. Today’s customer desires to devour information when they want and how they want to, without the involvement of a sales person. Also, prospects don’t want to be advertised to, but instead educated on how your product or service benefits their life.

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Create a user-friendly website

Your website’s appearance and ease of navigation are a direct reflection of your brand. That’s why it’s critical you ensure that your website is welcoming and easy to read and use. Before going live, gather a group of trusted individuals to conduct usability testing, or hire a firm.  Carefully review the feedback that you receive and incorporate those pointers into your site.

Incite excitement and response

In order to keep consumers active on your site, you must be able to effectively converse with them using language that is relevant and comfortable. Turn on your imagination and liven it up with powerful keywords and headlines.

Optimize your website

In order for search engines to find your brand, you will need to include your most powerful keywords (in various pages) throughout your website—your copy and headings, combined with photos and graphics. Use distinctive page titles and meta tags, and concentrate on your most important keywords. Make sure it’s easy for search engines and your website’s visitors to navigate through your site and any external links such as your social media channels.

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Build an email list

Make sure your mailing list sign-up form is featured prominently, and on every page of your website, if possible. Let your visitors know by signing up for your mailing list that they will receive exclusive offers, discounts, freebies and announcements. People like to feel like they have an inside track with a brand.

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Convert your traffic

Traffic conversion is a committed process for building relationships and affinity with your target market. When done properly, it provides the opportunity for your brand to achieve its ultimate objective of acquiring and retaining customers. In order to optimize your website, so your prospects will be compelled to learn more about your products and/or services, and feel secure purchasing from you, make your site eye-catching and ensure it contains strong brand messaging.

4 Ways to Successfully Launch a Product on Facebook

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Thousands of new businesses are launched every day around the world. Brands with drive and abundant ideas turn their understanding of a market problem into an innovative product or service. But there is a lot more to launching a new product than a great idea—and a market in need of a solution, you have to figure out how to generate buzz and get people to buy into it.  There are many social networks to choose from and with millions of brands using Facebook to launch products; We will provide you with details on how you can use the network to launch your product:

If you build it, they will come

First things first: to get the most out of Facebook, brands should focus on building a target audience. Start by defining who your audience is and develop a strategy to guide them to your fan page. Releasing consistent content packed with useful information in conjunction with contests, powered by Facebook ads, will ensure that you get the consumers you’re seeking.

Ben & Jerry’s is a brand to watch when it comes to Facebook fan pages. The famous ice cream brand not only has a well laid out page, but excellent fan engagement. Ben & Jerry’s profiles fans with their products which lets consumers know that they’re highly valued by their brand.

 

Research and develop
If your brand currently has a significant following, use Facebook to soft launch your product. Invite users to test your brand and provide feedback as volunteers. Make sure to reward them in some way once your product or service fully launches. Remember these people can become your evangelists, especially since you gave them the opportunity to be a part of the process.

Lay’s has been able to harness the power of Facebook in their Lay’s Do Us a Flavor campaign. It has not only provided research and development of what potato chip flavor they should release next; the brand has also generated millions of dollars in sales by peaking people’s curiosity.

 

Activate your fans

Well planned contests and giveaways not only increase the number of likes, they engage your target audience and provide valuable customer information. The campaign needs to have three key elements:

  • a way for your fans to interact with not only the brand but with each other
  • a clean design/copy
  • an enticing prize

 

Looking for some inspiration? A great example is Gillette Venus Embrace DIY contest. The contest urges crafty women to embrace their inner “do it yourself diva” by completing several challenges. The winner wins a trip to Los Angeles.

Embrace technology

Thanks to the brilliant engineers at Facebook they have given brands a significant advantage. By launching Facebook ads you can create a targeted campaign based on a user’s city, state, or employer.

Visit the Facebook ads page and begin inputting the demographics information of your potential customers. It will let you know how many Facebook users you can reach, and assist you in launching a cost-effective campaign based on your budget.

 

Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Working—and How to Fix It

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According to Nielsen, 70% of active adult social networkers shop online, which is 12% more likely than the average adult Internet user. With millions of users online, brands continually flock to social media networks to garner consumers yet have been discouraged by the lack of results and questioning the validity of social media marketing. Rather than become disillusioned with social media, because there’s no denying the millions of people buying and conversing online, the question remains: What is the best way to reach them?

We have outlined five reasons your brand’s social media strategy isn’t working, and what you can do to improve it:

Great expectations

Social media is not a cure-all, end-all solution for marketing to one’s target market. If you think that by setting up a profile on a network and constantly spewing marketing messages that you’ll attract thousands, if not millions, of customers immediately, you’re sadly mistaken. It’s, however, an enduring solution in combination with advertising and public relations to increase exposure, promote and eventually garner sales.

Lack of company buy-in

In order for social media to be effective for your organization, everyone has to buy-in, from executives to support staff, or it will not reach its full potential. Your chances of having a successful social media campaign is increased if senior management actively uses it and allows the brand to have multiple voices. The executives of your company are not the only champions; in fact it is feasible to come up with a list of influencers in all departments that can provide content and insight in the form of a social media council.

Undefined goals

With any marketing effort, you must clearly define what your intentions are for using social media. Do you want to get exposure for new product or service? Improve brand recognition? Increase website traffic? Once those intentions have been identified you must question what success looks like.

Untrained staff

To avoid social media crises and potential disasters every company should invest in social media training and guidelines. Do not pawn off social media activities on the “young” professionals. Just because they know how to use the technology does not make them equipped to become the global communications arm of your brand.

When creating your social media team, you should seek someone who has a strong capacity for communications and marketing; the tools can be taught to via training programs in- person or online. Showing employees the best practices and way in which your brand should be showcased online can be an exceptionally valuable business tool.

Not enough engagement

If you’re not responding to your fans questions or comments, they’ll seek a brand that will.  Social media has shifted marketing as we know it. It’s no longer a one way street, but a two way street which requires communication and collaboration. You will achieve greater results when you respond in a timely manner, highlight your customers using your product or service and share valuable information with them.

Keep in mind if you are not fully committed to social media then you will not achieve the results you desire online. Once you have a social media strategy with realistic goals and targeted content, the rest is relatively simple.