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Convergence of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Word of Mouth (WOM), Content Marketing, Social Media = Opportunity

Krista Neher

Krista Neher of Boot Camp Digital welcomes participants to the first SIMEngage conference in Cincinnati. Krista and others helped us better understand the convergence of earned, owned and paid media.

After hearing Jason Falls‘ opening keynote talk at the SIMEngage (Social + Internet Marketing) conference May 15 at Memorial Hall in Cincinnati, I remarked to a colleague that I had already gotten my money’s worth.

Falls, a true social media marketing pioneer, spoke about the convergence of PR, Content Marketing and Social Media, with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Word of Mouth (WOM) in the middle — and the tremendous opportunity this presents for organizations to achieve their strategic goals.

He started with a quick explanation of SEO, and how Google crawls pages searching for keywords.  The most relevant content comes up first, based on 200-some factors. Moving up in search rankings is our role, helping boost rankings in search engines. An old goal with SEO was getting more inbound links to your website, using tactics such as online press releases with links. This still helps, but two years ago Google changed the ranking system.

SEO has become an earned media approach. You need to provide content that people care about. Become a thought leader. Create great, unique content that resonates with your audience. Share content in social media. Promote it.

Falls pointed out that social media ranks high in searches. Social profiles appear on front page of Google and Bing results. Social media directly impacts how websites rank, according to Google. Google+ might be relevant only for that reason.

You have about seven seconds to win a customer. You must figure out your moments of truth. What are your audience members asking when they are getting ready to buy? When are they making decisions? What are they asking? When can you provide relevant content and engage them?

This is important because Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing is 62% more effective than an ad! And media coverage, paid, etc. boost SEO and WOM. Gets people talking about you online and offline.

“Search cannot exist in a vacuum” Falls said. “PR, search and social must be integrated for you to succeed.”

What does it take to develop earned content that will drive your SEO? Creative content. A great user experience. Relationships and storytelling. A dash of technical geekery.

“Content is the currency for building social relationships that boost earned media,” Falls said, adding these nuggets:

  • What is great content — Original (from you), Simple, Valuable and Useful, Entertains, Emotional (laugh, cry). Above all the content must be relevant to your audience.
  • Key considerations — Who is the audience you need to reach? Why will they care about you? What are you doing to earn their interest? What incentive do they have to share?
  • Finding topics — Ask your sales team, Mine the buying cycle, Q/A sites like QuoraYahooAnswers, mine social media, follow industry and peers.
  • Next: Answer questions with blog post, video… American Express Business Forum is a good example. Others: H&R Block and the American Moustache Institute to lobby Congress for $250 tax credit. The Stache Act.  Million Moustache March, etc. Make  your profile. Point: Got H&R block in conversation for men 24-30, and it worked.

Handling customer complaints: Not always fun, but usually rewarding

March 15, 2014 3 comments
FishingStMarys

This is not one of the negative experiences that I encounter in social media: Fishing on Grand Lake St. Marys in Ohio! However, when you manage social media strategies, you sometimes need to respond to frustrations and complaints aired by your target audiences.

It’s truly a blessing to know so many people who manage social media channels for organizations. Collectively, we can share best practices and reaffirm what we know to be true. That happens occasionally when someone encounters frustrations, complaints or other negative sentiment on their organization’s social media channels.

Sometimes, instincts will tell us to just delete the comments. In fact, outsiders without a knowledge of how social media or public relations works may instruct us to do just that. However, best practice tells us that this is an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive. By being responsive, acknowledging the concern in a reply, and taking the issue offline for resolution, we are showing viewers that we really are listing and do care. In fact, the complainer will often come back with a reply expressing surprise at the responsiveness and thanking you — in public, for all to see. It’s a powerful word-of-mouth practice.

If you just delete the comment, you are demonstrating that you don’t care… that you’ve got something to hide… that you’re running from the issue. The person will vent their frustration elsewhere: Most likely to their friends and family, both online and in-person. They may escalate the matter — by contacting the media, setting up a Facebook group, circulating a change.org petition, etc.

All because you didn’t acknowledge the concern and take it off-line for resolution.

eMarketer recently reported that most people who manage social media sites respond within a day. In fact, many take action within an hour.

To tell the truth, it’s not always the most-fun thing to do — handling a complaint. But it can bring the biggest rewards. And there is a sense of satisfaction that you helped someone who was frustrated or not happy with the service they were getting; that you made things better for them.

 

 

Good PR is a process, not an event

Lately, I’ve been reminding myself of some of the basics that have served me well in my role as a communicator. Thought I’d share a few here. Hope you find them beneficial.

* Repetition. Someone shared a study with me years ago that has proved to be a truism — you must repeat a message seven times to just build top-of-mind awareness. People are busy and their attention is distracted by bombardment with competing messages. You can’t expect to just say something one time — in one venue — and have them “get it.” A helpful slogan is “it takes repetition to achieve penetration.”

* Patience. Another key learning was about the diffusion process — the steps such as awareness, interest, research online, discussion with friends, trying out mentally, test-driving… You need to help people go through the process to achieve your ultimate goal.

* Process. Guess this ties into patience, but I read something recently that described the Diffusion of Innovations by Tungsten. It shared these percentages of the population when it comes to diffusion of innovation — Innovators (2.5%), Early Adopters (13.5%), Early Majority (34%), Late Majority (34%), Laggarts (16%). I’m usually in the Early Adopters crowd and get frustrated at times with the Late Majority and Laggarts. It’s helpful to remember that it takes time for a good percentage of the population to move ahead with innovations.

In this time of real-time, I-want-it-now communication, it’s good to pause and remember to be strategic, plan, take things one step at a time, and keep moving ahead.

 

Get away from that computer! Connect in person!

April 28, 2012 1 comment

I really like the view from my office window on the edge of downtown Cincinnati. It reminds me to get away from my computer, join the human race, and connect in person with my many online friends and associates. 

The world of blogs, social networks, message boards and the like has linked me to a vast network of amazing people. We share information and ideas literally every day. We ask and answer questions, post photos of cool places and people, and generally get to know each other better. We already have some knowledge of our backgrounds, perhaps even a close bond, when we finally meet in person or reunite.

Since creating a Twitter account four years ago, my “networking” has gone on steroids. Instead of just connecting at PRSA meetings and conferences, I now trade handshakes, smiles and hugs with all sorts of folks at organized meetups of groups such as Cincinnati Social Media, New Media Cincinnati and the Social Media Health Network. I enjoy conversations over coffee or lunch with lots more people than ever. There’s just not enough time in the day to attend all of the great conferences, bootcamps, workshops and the like where I finally get to see that person I’ve only viewed in photos or, perhaps, videos.

So, I encourage you to do the same, if you haven’t already. Get out there. It’s not just about fostering online relationships. It’s about meeting great people in the flesh.

The NOW Revolution — 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social

November 18, 2011 7 comments

Last month, Jay Baer — co-author of The NOW Revolution — 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social — shared some great insights at a jam-packed coffee house. Cincinnati Social Media sponsored the event, which attracted a number of PR, marketing, IT and social media enthusiasts. 

Fortunately, I had read his book before the talk — and liked it. (And so had the person next to me on my flight back from the Health Care Social Media Summit in October, at the direction of her boss, who owns an East Coast PR shop!) Jay underscored all of the key points in the book in an engaging talk given from the top of the steps overlooking the group. Here’s his PowerPoint, which he wasn’t able to use due to technical issues.

Here are some highlights:

* We are living in a real-time world, where every customer is a reporter. If you have a negative experience now, you let the world know on Fourquare, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs… Complaint letters are quaint practices of the past.

* Companies have got to become faster, smarter and more social. You don’t have much time to verify and contemplate. You’ve got to be quick on your feet.

*  Organizations need to empower their employees to make the right decisions. That’s about culture, not about training.

* Businesses must hire for passion, train for skills.

* If your company sucks, Twitter is not your problem. Social media does not create negativity. It puts a magnifying glass on it.

* Social media is measurable. The last quarter of the book is about metrics. There is no linear relationship between Facebook Likes and business success. 84% of Facebook followers are current customers. As a general rule, you want to measure behaviors.

* How do we as companies get more social? Thank You and I’m Sorry. If you do that, you’ll be in really good shape. 70 % of customer complaints on social media go unanswered. Name the people who tweet on behalf of companies.

* Sales, marketing, customer relations and operations know what is going on. It never gets to PR and Marketing. Use Yammer and e-mail to harvest.

* In social media, you earn the right to promote by being helpful first. The more you sell, the less you sell, in social media.

* Capitalize on real-time opportunities. This requires more people in your organization in social media. Decentralization. It’s OK that every employee is potentially in marketing. The people will make you successful, not your official Facebook page.

* Every company is going to have to be social. Customers will demand that you interact with them in new ways. They’ve got to be faster, smarter and more social to win.

* We will see much more data segmentation. What do our best customers say about us? Etc. Drill down.

I highly recommend that you read the book for more details. Exciting stuff, as we move ahead in this new world of real-time communication.

 

 

 

Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements

Hey PR and marketing pros. Are you tired of working on limited-duration campaigns? Burned out from the daily grind of tactical work? Sick of social media? Then, maybe it’s time for you to help ignite a movement.

 Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements walks you through a process that contributed to movements such as teen smoking prevention, abolishment of child sex trafficking… even scrap-booking and independent book-selling.

It tells how word-of-mouth marketing and identity company Brains on Fire helped organizations set goals — then move toward achieving them by empowering passionate supporters.

Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones walk you through a process that includes:

* Find the passion conversation

* Start with the first conversation

* Look for inspirational leadership

* Create a barrier of entry

* Empower your fans with knowledge

* Make sure you integrate shared ownership into your movement

* Build it on a powerful identity

* Tie online and off-line efforts and tactics together

* Make those fans of your feel like rock stars

* Fight an injustice

They share  lessons they’ve learned in their fascinating work. I had the pleasure of hearing Geno Church speak at a Cincinnati PRSA luncheon last month. I couldn’t wait to get this book — and gobbled it up. I’d suggest you do the same — if you want to really make a lasting difference with your PR and marketing work.

2011: A year of excitement for me

February 26, 2011 2 comments

It’s been a busy start to 2011 for me — especially with beginning  a new job as Media Manager at Catholic Health Partners, a Cincinnati-based non-profit healthcare system with 100-some facilities in five states. CHP is the largest healthcare system in Ohio and one of the largest non-profit systems in the country.

But I remain committed to sharing my experience with public relations, social media marketing and the like in my “spare time” on this blog.

My journey into healthcare has been fascinating and exciting. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of healthcare reform. It reminds me of when I started my previous job and the country was researching, planning and implementing welfare reform.

Here are a few tidbits to share from my first six weeks on the job and attendance at recent events sponsored by Cincinnati Social Media, New Media Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America:

* An excellent document called Social Media Guidelines & Best Practices created by Catholic Healthcare West. I really like the conversational writing style.

* A great resource for those in healthcare public relations and marketing called the Social Media Health Network. The Mayo Clinic is leading this exciting effort.

* Some great tips from Debba Haupert at the most-recent  New Media Cincinnati for building your online community.

* Thought-provoking thoughts on word-of-mouth marketing by Geno Church of Brains on Fire, who spoke at PRSA this month. See my @MikeBoehmer57 Twitter stream on Feb. 22 or visit the #cincyprsa hashtag for notes.

* An excellent discussion of using social media for market research took place at the most-recent Cincinnati Social Media gathering. Can’t seem to find a link in my time allotment for this post! Try Google. 🙂

Hope your 2011 is off to a good start. Feel free to share any helpful PR or social media marketing learnings with us in the comments.Disclaimer: This post represents my thoughts and opinions and not necessarily those of my employer.