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Using Social Media to Fight Negative Press

negative-pressEvery company undergoes it at some given point. Just Google it on the internet and you will find a good number of problems involving high profile companies. In an era where social media has become one of the major sources of information, controlling PR crises has become even more challenging. One false step and your business may get promoted throughout cyberspace in a matter of hours. But at the same time, one can use these same media channels to fight negative press. In fact, there are many PR professionals who plan strategies keeping in mind their possible impact on social media. The important question is how one should approach the problem.

Communication: Any relationship, be it personal or professional, can become stronger through communication. Moreover, communication helps one to clarify doubts and misunderstandings. Proper communication becomes more important during the time of PR crisis. It is very important that you place your side of the story to the customers without losing any time. And it is here that social media can help. A short message on Twitter or a Facebook post will get you more attention than mere press releases. Remember, keeping mum will not help you at all; rather, it will be seen as an acceptance of the mistake.

Preparation: The best way to avoid a crisis is to stay prepared for it. Though some of the crises are unforeseen, some others happen because we tend to overlook alerts. Starting a social media profile is a first step. Opening one at the moment of crises will not help. The more you nurture your social relationships through these sites, the better it is. This will help you to get the confidence of the users. You will also come to know what people are saying and thinking about your brand, services, and product. Any negative talk or any red signal, and you can act on it immediately.

Introduce “Black Pages”: The term “black pages” may catch some unaware. But, it is just a fancy name of a web page where your users and other browsers can post their comments and feedback on various topics. Most of the time, these pages operate live sessions. Understand the possible problems that can crop up while running the business, and prepare their solutions or answers. So, if any of these questions comes up in future, you may immediately provide the answers.

Propose Service: While offering solutions to any crises, continue an attitude of service provider over the social media. A humble tone and acceptance of mistakes, followed by quick solution will keep your customers happy. Chances are that you will get a good load of positive tweets or Facebook posts.

Continuous Process: Though it’s a bad habit, the common practice is that people start ignoring social media once the crisis is handled. Considering the trend in businesses, this will not be a wise move. Irregular presence in social media will not give you any benefits. As said earlier, keeping a relationship is a continuous and long process. If you remember the social media in your good times as well, it will definitely be of great help to you during your worst times.

Social media are neither the enemy nor the competitors of the PR department. Rather, they are one of the most potent weapons that the department can use to evade or solve a crisis.

Using Social Media to Generate Leads

seo-analyticsSocial media is a great way to listen to clients' needs and build a credible web presence that extends beyond your website... but did you know you can use the social web to generate leads? Below are some tips on how to acquire new business using popular social media sites. If your current and prospective clients are there, you should at least be in on the conversation.

Twitter - Twitter search is one of the most powerful lead sourcing tools available. Using this feature, you can see in real-time what people are tweeting about. Search and see how many people are tweeting about your topic... hundreds! Now, how many of those people are looking for an expert like you? How many need an SEO expert? The list goes on and on -- don't let these cries for help get snatched up by someone else.

Search for your area of expertise. Find the leads. And then send them a friendly tweet letting them know you can help. Remember: people hate spam. Don't hit potential clients over the head with your pitch. And before you start hunting for leads make sure your Twitter profile outlines your expertise and includes links back to your credible website, portfolio, etc.

Facebook - Like Twitter, people share their thoughts on services they want or need. And you can use their search feature to see who may need your help. Try searching your service or product in Facebook's search feature. On the left sidebar, look at the option to choose Posts by Everyone. This is everyone that is currently posting about that topic. Again it's a lot of people... but one of them might be a potential client.

LinkedIn - As you probably know, LinkedIn is a fantastic place to network and join groups of like-minded professionals. But are you using it to garner business? Does your profile mention that what services you offer? LinkedIn is a great site to promote your services.

First and foremost, add an offer to your profile updates. What's more compelling to a potential client: "Looking for a new car" or "Get a Free analysis at (insert your url) and see what I can do for you!" Also make sure your specialties and summary include your strongest skills. If you want to drive business make sure you have the profile to back it up.

Craigslist- Much more of a barebones approach as opposed to the previous mentioned sites, but definitely another great place to find people looking for your expertise. You can use Craigslist's search feature to look for "gigs" in your area that apply directly to your expertise.

Using Google Apps to Grow Your Business

Google Apps for business promotionBusiness owners are always looking for newer and better ways to improve their business and take it to the next level. Here are some simple solutions from Google on how you can take your business and make it grow faster and better:

Google Analytics and referrals data: Websites are extremely common to businesses. However, the most important question to ask is how your targeted customers will find your website. Through Google Analytics, it is possible to get referrals data, which will tell you how people found your website.  This shows traffic coming from around the web, including social media websites as well as other websites. This will help you decide where you should be spending more of your time and money in order to get more visitors.

Daily agenda through email: Not everyone has a personal assistant but with the help of Google Calendar, this need is minimized. Google calendar allows you to receive your daily agenda through emails every morning, making it easy for you to take note of your daily schedule.

Google Presentation is the new way: Old power point slides can now be imported as a file onto Google presentations, making it an easy way to make your presentations with lesser hassles.

Google sheets: Another wonderful tool from Google is the Google spreadsheets, which allow you to keep lists, track projects, analyze data and results while also collaborating with partners in real time. Google sheets allow you to share data, collaborate on editing while also allowing you to chat with other viewers in real time.

Using Google+ Events to duplicate events: If you are in a business where you have regular events, you can easily use Google+ Events to duplicate it. This means you can easily schedule a Hangout on Air every month or week, depending on the nature of the event. What makes this really special is the fact that you do not have to do anything more than entering the data during its creation. The following events will take all details from the previous one.

Hangouts On Air: Reaching out to customers is extremely essential for any business. And adding a personal touch through videos is always a good option. With Hangouts On Air, you can actually live stream your video, put it up on your hangout and broadcast it, which will allow live participation of select members. This can then be broadcast on various platforms to ensure maximum publicity for the next event.

Creating a Google+ Community: Another great way of ensuring that you take your business to the next level is by creating a Google+ Community, where you can interact with your customers. This will also ensure that you get new followers and ensure maximum visibility for your business.

Setting due dates for tasks and emails on Google Calendar: Often, you have too many emails to respond to at a later date or tasks that require completion before responding to an email. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to keep an email marked unread until you have completed the task. Scheduling due dates on Google Calendar and sending the email to the calendar will ensure that you do not forget or miss out on any task’s due date.

While these are some excellent solutions from Google using which you can definitely improve your business, it is needless to say that these are not the only ones. You can search to find several more relevant tools, suggestions and tips, which if used the right way, can meet your business needs and help you to manage your processes and expand your business more effectively.

Bridging the Gap Between Print and Internet Marketing

studio1c QR codeTechnology Bridging the Online and Offline World: Customers Get the Best of Both Worlds

Connecting the Internet with [offline] printed collateral is on the minds of marketers all over the world. With the advent of tools like QR codes and SMS technology, marketers are in a perfect position to reach out to their offline audience. We've heard that everyone was moving to the Internet a few years ago and now to mobile. Smartphone technology lets customers use rich media for a range of purposes by accessing the Internet via their phone. It’s not uncommon to spot two-dimensional barcodes on flyers, posters, products, etc. These are known as Quick Response or QR codes and can be easily scanned by a free barcode scanner available on most smartphones. SMS coupons are passe too, marketers have now integrated point-of-sale systems and other methods such as “Text STUDIO1C to 22828 from your cell phone to sign up for our enewsletter” (try and see how it works!).

Usage of QR Codes for Marketing
QR codes are being used extensively by marketers to help customers who are looking for more information about a product or service. By reducing additional cumbersome or time-consuming manual input of a URL, this technology has provided savvy marketers with a simplier solution to connect with new customers. Used in business cards, conference displays, postcards and brochures, the encoded information can help the customers send an email, dial a number, download contact details or view more details on a new or special offer. To give you an example, imagine you are walking down a street and find details of a new movie advertised on a billboard. The QR code on the billboard can take you a web page to buy tickets instantly. It’s not just the entertainment industry, just about any type of organization can use QR codes for marketing including nonprofits, retail business, educational institutions etc. Apart from being user friendly, these codes are cost-effective and environmentally friendly too.

Text to Subscribe Services
If you are looking for options to have your customers respond to advertisements and promotions when they are away from their computer, you can provide them the option to subscribe to your SMS with a text message. You can include offer details or vouchers in these messages, for example “Text SHOP to ****” and offer New Services, Happy Hour Specials, Help Wanted, or any other announcement. It helps you achieve the highest ROI by combining powerful web-based self-service campaign management tools and experience of a trained personnel.

QR codes, text to subscribe and Facebook links on print media and other offline efforts are poised to make it to the mainstream, they have already become a staple in every savvy marketers arsenal. Have you used any of these in your marketing efforts?

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