Social Media IS Old Fashioned Public Relations
A lot of people who use Social Media platforms to market their businesses think of it strictly in terms of sales and marketing; I beg to differ. I think that Social Media usefulness has morphed in many ways to a typical Public Relations concept.
Wikipedia defines Public Relations thusly:
public relations plural of pub·lic re·la·tions (Noun)
That said, does Social Media, in particular Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc as used for business or non-profit marketing fit that definition? We think so. We at Commonwealth Creative Marketing have been utilizing a public relations component in our SEO campaigns for clients for quite some time in the form of reviews as well as social media, and we tend to market social media outsourcing as PR, not as marketing. Public Relations are supposed to build your positive reputation in the public sphere, build top-of-mind consciousness, and help you retain the customers you already have. Social Media does all of that very well, through engagement and online conversation, as well as the inevitable sharing that occurs with engaging content.
When you have data that can be fuzzy, that is not Internet marketing, per se; Most marketing avenues have tracking mechanisms in place. Even billboards have a count of how many cars drive by on any given day! But it is almost impossible to track whether someone saw your Facebook posting 17 times in their newsfeed, then heard a good word of mouth from a friend, then checked out your website, before they finally called and then purchased. If you have social media well integrated with your other marketing components, however, you can demonstrate at least some benefit through engagement and feedback, even if you don’t have a hard number of conversions.
So consider taking a PR look at your marketing campaigns, and also consider how social media can best serve you as a public relations piece.
Volunteering Can Be Good for You AND Your Business
There has been a lot of ugly press lately about the differences between personal and charitable giving, between what a “community organizer” is versus just a person who gets stuff done in their community. I have to say that I am far less interested in any of those drummed up political arguments than I am in hearing why people chose to be involved in their communities, usually in ways that do not seem to profit themselves.
I never did any charitable or political work until after I had kids. I think it was all about me up until then; once my daughter came along I realized that if I wanted to see the world I wanted for her, I was going to have to be a part of making it happen.
I started donating to Samaritan House, a local charity that shelters victims of domestic violence. Once I had one in pre-school I wound up getting involved in PTA, ultimately winding up being PTA president, twice. I then was asked to work on Mark Warner’s campaign for governor. From there I was asked to chair and plan multiple charity events and auctions. And it just never stopped after that.
Maximize Current Efforts for Online ROI
What are your current marketing efforts? Are they working? You don’t want to take anything away from those efforts to grow your online marketing presence, right? Good news; you don’t have to. There is a lot you can do to maximize your current offline efforts using free or very inexpensive online tie-ins.
Believe it or not, “Direct mail is still a very effective method of marketing, as a matter of fact it is still has one of the highest response rates of all marketing and it is forecasted that between now and 2014 the direct mail industry as a whole will see an increase in business every year.” ~ http://throttle-media.net/tag/traditional-marketing/
How can you use this knowledge online? For starters, direct mail should always feed into your website. In fact, any print marketing; local newspaper ad, postcards, door hangers, should consistently drive new visitors to your website. Always add your website address and your social media accounts to your print marketing.