Beware of the Groundhog: Groundhog Day Lessons

Punxatawny PhilAs public relations officials, we are constantly on the lookout for media opportunities for clients; some even call them “PR stunts.”   February 2, aka “Groundhog Day,” is one that is often used by politicians.  Everyone wants an end to winter so why not?  The politician will get the photo op and even if the hog sees his shadow, it’s still a win right?  Well, ask New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In 2014, when doing the Groundhog Day event, he dropped Staten Island Chuck. Not a good move. Instead of seeing a shadow, Chuck saw stars. And unfortunately, did not recover. (See links below)

What do we take away from this? First, make sure when you do a special event or media event you are well prepared. Walk through what you have to do. Talk about contingencies and if you are not comfortable with picking up a groundhog, don’t do it. The negative press that will be short term and long term can be problematic.

From a marketing perspective, Groundhog Day is cute and there are certainly campaigns and social media comments that can be used to attract some attention.  Groundhog Day is Feb. 2. This year it falls on the first Tuesday of February. Groundhog Day can be a day to actually get your marketing on track. If you have stumbled and have failed with your marketing New Years resolutions, get started again and set your goals for February. You have six weeks till spring (despite what Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck and Malverne Mel say).Groundhog

Need some inspiration and a laugh? Watch Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and directed by the late Harold Ramis.  The marketing and life lesson here? Just ask Einstein and his famous quote on the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Bill Murray’s character in the movie – Phil Conners – is stuck in a day that he is forced to relive over and over and over again.  Unbeknownst to him, he is changing what he is doing every day. He may not know why at first, but eventually figures out that he has to change who he is to get the girl. After potentially living the same day over and over for years, he makes the changes and he wakes up on February 3. In marketing we have to adapt and change our messages until they resonate with target audiences. Look at what works and what does not. Make the changes and keep track.  Learn from Phil Conners and take Einstein’s advice.

http://nypost.com/2014/09/25/groundhog-dropped-by-de-blasio-died-of-internal-injuries/

http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2014/09/25/staten-island-zoo-may-stop-allowing-mayors-to-handle-groundhogs/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-phil/post-football-depression-_b_1251109.html

Hiring a Public Relations Firm for Media Relations: What Businesses Need to Know and Expect

By Bill Corbett, Jr.

Corbett Public Relations, Inc. 

Media coverage is a key element of many businesses’ marketing efforts and mix.  News coverage is invaluable in projecting a message to a large audience for branding and reputation-building purposes.  Securing media coverage requires time and an investment of resources.  The results generated by a PR firm must support branding, assist in building relationships and provide high-value marketing assets which will assist with sales and business development.  There also must be a strategy for using media relations assets to achieve business goals and objectives.

Many business owners and their teams lack the knowledge and the contacts to successfully launch PR and media relations efforts.  They do, however, recognize the importance and tremendous value, including SEO value, of media coverage.  For this reason, many business owners need to hire a PR firm.  Hiring a PR firm does, however, come with a cost.  Therefore decision makers need to be able to make informed choices in this area.  Before hiring a PR firm, it is important to understand what should be expected from a firm in terms of service and results.  It is also essential to recognize what type of commitment the client must make to ensure success.  Below are the important points to consider when hiring a PR firm.

Corbett Public Relations client David Antar, President of A+ Technology and Security Systems being interviewed by FiOS1 and Newsday at a forum on school security.

Corbett Public Relations client David Antar, President of A+ Technology and Security Systems being interviewed by FiOS1 and Newsday at a forum on school security.

Watch Out for Promises.  Media relations is an important marketing and business growth function   Working in media relations is challenging and requires creativity and the commitment of significant time.  There are many exceptional professionals in the media relations field, but as in any business sector, there are those who do not maintain high or ethical standards.  Media relations is a process and securing media coverage takes work.  Beware of any PR “professional” who promises or guarantees coverage.  Seek to work with those who can articulate messages, product information and competitive advantage and who will commit to spending the necessary time to develop and bring ideas to the media.  If they promise or guarantee coverage, start looking at other firms.

Like and Trust the PR Firm Team.  Business owners and marketing team members must feel relaxed speaking and interacting with PR firm staff.  Being comfortable with the team is essential because confidential information, proprietary strategies as well as personal business and financial information are often discussed.  Only individuals that can be trusted should be chosen for this important relationship.

Research the Track Record of the PR Firm and its Professionals.  Find out how long the firm has been in business, as well as what kind of relationships they have with target media outlets.  Ask to see print and video clips of clients in the news.  Also request testimonials from satisfied clients as these are a good source of feedback about the company and its team members.  Look for a firm that is well established and has a solid track record of success.  Search for their clients online and see how media coverage is supporting SEO and their brand.

Accessibility is Very Important.  A firm that is available any day and any time is ideal.  A client needs to know that their chosen PR firm can be reached if they need them, whether it is for positive communication with the media or if there is a crisis situation that requires immediate attention.  Today’s 24-hour news cycle and social media require constant and unwavering vigilance.  If a PR firm takes a 9-to-5 approach, look elsewhere.

Firm Proactivity is Key.  Quality PR firms are always monitoring the media, trends and events that can lead to positive coverage and interviews.  Taking a proactive approach demonstrates the firm’s desire to be an active partner and this will provide the greatest return on investment (ROI).  Make sure to select a firm that is proactive and not one that will only communicate when ideas for media coverage are presented to them.  PR firms should have a process for regularly generating ideas to pitch to the media and clients must agree to be involved.

Keep in Mind PR Firm Expertise and Creativity.  When choosing a PR firm, ask if the firm will come up with media pitches on their own or if it is a team effort.  Media relations professionals understand the media and should be able to quickly develop pitches based on the information provided.  Ask if the firm has any experience in specific industries or subject areas.  Sometimes it is helpful to have a firm that focuses in a niche or specific industry, while other times firms with a broad reach can serve a client better.  Also consider conflicts, if the firm represents more than one business in a sector this could be a problem or possibly a synergy.

Relationships and Approaches Matter.  Ask the firm about their relationships with members of the media.  Do they have contacts with the right media outlets?  If they don’t have contacts, ask how they work to get media coverage with new outlets.

Ask Who Will be Working on the Account.  A number of firms have developed bad reputations for putting inexperienced staff members or even interns in charge of new or small accounts.  Before engaging a PR firm, make sure to find out who will be working on the account and their expertise and industry knowledge.  Do not let the principal of a PR firm disappear after the engagement is signed.  Make sure that the team is experienced and monitor who is doing the work regularly.

Corbett Public Relations client Marty Lyons of the Marty Lyons Foundations was interviewed by FiOS1's Jessica Fragoso for the

Marty Lyons of the Marty Lyons Foundation was interviewed by FiOS1’s Jessica Fragoso for the “Heroes On Our Island,” segment.

Ask About Sales Support and Leveraging Coverage.  The public relations and  media coverage that a business secures becomes a valuable marketing asset that can be used for years.  PR firms should provide strategies, approaches and support for the sales and business development team members of their clients.  The PR firm needs to use its media relations assets to help secure meetings, build relationships with prospects, start conversations and fill social media streams.  When selecting a PR firm, ask how they intend to help amplify the media coverage with social media and how they will help put coverage in front of decision makers, prospects and referral sources.

PR Firm Members Must Be Team Players.  Ask about the firm’s interest and ability to work with other members of the marketing team.  Media coverage is an important part of marketing and the PR firm must be engaged in the process.  Firms should recognize the value of media coverage from a social media perspective and explain how it will help with SEO.  PR team members should be part of the marketing strategy and relevant planning sessions.

Return on Investment and Reporting.  Ask what the fees will be up front as well as how they are to be paid.  Often firms require a monthly fee or retainer, while other firms will work on projects or for hourly rates.  Before hiring a PR firm, set the budget and determine how the firm’s service and PR goals can be achieved within these financial boundaries.  Public relations should be looked at as a long-term investment in a brand, product or business.

Retaining a PR firm is a decision that requires research and consideration.  Speak with people who work with media relations professionals and do research before beginning the search process.  Create a budget and select a PR firm that will secure diverse and quality media coverage.  The efforts of PR firm should support brand building, attract business and support sales team efforts.  Recognize also that PR efforts require time to work and it may take several months before results can be observed.  Consider PR firm engagements of six months or more when setting goals and budgets.

5 LinkedIn Resolutions You Need To Make for 2014

By Bill Corbett, President, Corbett Public Relations and Founder of Grow Your Personal Brand

As 2014 begins, it’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on your personal branding efforts in 2013.  Did you achieve your goals? How active have you been on LinkedIn?  Have you generated new business from LinkedIn?  If you aren’t satisfied with your answers to those questions then you need to change what you are doing and take a better look at your LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn is the number one social networking website for business professionals and others looking to generate new opportunities.  The following are 5 LinkedIn Resolutions You Need To Make for 2014:

1.  Commit to investing 1 hour per week on LinkedIn activities You need to create a schedule in advance and block out a certain time period for you to work on your LinkedIn activities.  Schedule posts ahead of time by using a social media aggregator such a Hootsuite to save time.  Once your posts are scheduled go into your groups and facilitate discussion and engage with other group members.  An investment of an hour a week will be beneficial to growing your personal brand.

2.  Connect with others Make weekly or monthly goals of how many people you want to reach out and connect with.  Connections are valuable on LinkedIn.  The more you have and the better you know them the more valuable they are.  LinkedIn is a great way to increase the size of your network.

3.  Maximize you profile – Make sure to update and maximize your profile so that it is easier for prospects to find you and so it clearly identifies why someone would want to work with you.  A maximized profile is the strongest asset you can have on LinkedIn.  If you profile is poor or is missing information then you could be missing out on potential prospects.

4.  Be seen – Make sure you stay top of mind among your connections.  Use status updates several times each week.  In your updates discuss what you are doing, what projects you are working on and share relevant and interesting articles related to your industry.

5.  Facilitate recommendations – Recommendations are one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile.  You should accumulate as many recommendations as you can.  One way to do this is by giving recommendations to others and then asking for one in return.  The more recommendations you have the better.

By implementing these LinkedIn resolutions you can be confident in your LinkedIn profile and this will lead to building stronger relationships and future business development.  LinkedIn is a power tool.  Make 2014 the year you get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.

13 Scary Social Media Mistakes to Avoid This Halloween

Nothing is scarier than watching people continuing to make social media mistakes.  It frightens me to think of all the time, money and effort wasted with ineffective and inefficient approaches to social media marketing.  Unfortunately many businesses and business people approach social media in a nonchalant way with no planning or goals.   At Corbett Public Relations we see this happening every day.

I offer many workshops: Grow Your Personal Brand and another on using social media to grow business are the most popular ones. Most attendees are eager to use social media, but almost all have no social media or marketing plan.  They are also overwhelmed in regards to where to start.  Whether you are already using social media, or just getting started, these are some common scary and time wasting mistakes you must avoid:

1) Don’t go in there! – Just like a group of unsuspecting teens who venture into a haunted house, remember you need to have a plan when approaching a social media marketing effort for yourself or your business.  Would Van Helsing go vampire hunting without a plan and wooden stakes for their hearts?  Start your planning with an assessment of what marketing you are doing now; research the social sites where your customers interact; completely set up your sites; link your social media sites, website and blog; and create goals with methods for measuring them (for a copy of my six week social media start up plan e-mail me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com).

2) Boo! –  Using social media to sell or, even worse hard sell, is a major mistake.  By doing this you will do the exact opposite of two of the major goals you want to accomplish with your social media activities – attract followers and start conversations.  If you try to sell you will scare many people away, probably forever.

3) What was that? –  This is a line often heard in scary movies.  Freaked out teens in an abandoned building are obviously scared, but what are they doing? They are hypersensitive to their environment and listening for danger. In the case of social media everyone needs to listen to customers, competition and other online influencers.   If you do not listen you will never understand your customers, the marketplace or know how to position your business and your messages.   Listen and you will avoid the danger of communicating messages nobody is interested in.

4) Scream – Social media is a two- way street with multiple intersections.  If you stand on the corner and shout your message at passing cars few will hear you and even fewer will care.   Your screaming (touting yourself, your

products or services) will eventually fall on deaf and uninterested ears.   People will listen to you if you speak with them and listen.  Answer their questions and give them a reason to pull over and listen to you.

5) The Swarm – There have been many scary movies about killer bees.  What we learn from these movies is that the saying, “never disturb a bees’ nest” is true.  The same goes for getting involved in cyber wars, arguments or discussions of religion and politics online.   As part of your social media activity you are seeking to show your expertise and build your brand.  Discussing these taboo topics can and will bring unwanted attacks and many negative comments.  This will drive people away and potentially hurt your brand and social media efforts.

6) Rotten Eggs – With Halloween comes mischief and unfortunately some destruction.   Throwing eggs is part of this tradition and is a practice that should be frowned upon by everyone.  Like an unwanted egg, an unwanted direct message or a poorly thought out,  error-filled post is equally undesirable.  Avoid sending direct messages asking for sales or with direct selling offers.   Build relationships before you ask for anything or even attempt to sell something.  The same goes for posting; if there is no purpose to it, don’t do it.  Posts should have interesting content, photos and videos whenever possible.    To build relationships and followers social media users need to be interesting, fun and informative.  You may only have one chance to make a good impression, make sure it’s the right one.

7) Trick – Don’t get tricked by high expectations for social media.  While social media can be very helpful and for some a strong business driver ROI (Return on Investment), for many, especially in the business to business world, this remains elusive.  Create a plan and look at social media as a long term investment in marketing and branding.   If you expect immediate gratification then you really have been tricked.

8) Trick or Treating – Did you ever plan out your trick or treating route when you were a kid?  Did you know the best blocks or houses for getting the most and best kinds of candy?  I bet many of you did.  For social media focus

on activities that work, spend time in communities (groups) where you can enhance your brand and attract followers.  Complete goals before moving on to new ones or developing new strategies.  Track your success with different social media sites and different communities and return to them.  Don’t go back or invest too much time on communities that proved to be more of a trick than a treat.

9) The Black Hole – Whether it’s a portal to another dimension or a black hole in space, it is important to avoid them.  Social media also has its own black hole – the black hole of time.  Social media can be a major time waster for many, like a vampire with a craving to suck blood social media sucks time away. Set specific “time budgets” for social media activities and only add time when you see efforts reap rewards or when they clearly demonstrate they are helping to achieve goals.

10) Your Costume – Have you ever won a costume contest?  Why do people win costume contests? The winners are usually creative, visually interesting, memorable and fun.  Your online image needs to have the same qualities.  Make sure you have a photo of yourself; one that makes you look good.  Spend the extra money to get a professional headshot done.  This image is important; studies show and social media experts report that without a photo people are less likely to connect with you or a business, follow you, comment on your posts or even read or look at what you post.

11) Zombies – What do zombies do?  They roam the earth looking to make a meal out of a live person.  In the social media world we also need to avoid zombies.  Zombies come to us in the way of viruses, spam and those engaged in fraud to get personal financial information.  Thankfully, viruses are less common via a social media but they do happen.  If you receive a direct message that looks strange, from someone you do not know or a message that suggests you check out a video or photo with you in it, delete this right away.  Knowing your enemy is important, but also be prepared.  If you use social media regularly make sure that you change your passwords from time to time, never share information that can be used by others to create accounts, make sure you back up your data remotely and often, and finally be prepared because you eventually will get a virus, malware attack or get hacked.  This is scary to think about.  Make sure your zombie (virus) protection plan is in place and software updated.  Protecting yourself will also help stop the virus from infecting others you are connected with on social media.  Spreading a virus is not a good way to attract friends, fans or followers.

12) Your Halloween Party – Who do you invite to your Halloween party?  Certainly friends, family and people you think will have a good time.  Would you invite people who you know would not wear a costume?  In social media you need to know who you have and who you want to have at your party.  The wrong people at the party could spoil it for everyone.  From people posting inappropriate content on your Facebook wall to LinkedIn “connections” who mine your client base for business, or worse steal your ideas (it’s happened to me), monitoring and carefully analyzing who follows you is important.   Take the time to review your followers on all social media sites; don’t let any questionable people into your community.  This does not mean preventing people you don’t know in, but do your best to vet them and watch what they are saying to members of your community.

13) Treats – A successful Halloween for me when I was young was all about having fun, maybe getting a little scared, collecting some great candy, and engaging in some harmless mischief.  A great costume attracted attention and some extra candy.  In addition, friends and family took photos and remembered the best costumes for years.   Social media can lead to treats or as I like to call them followers, referrals and business.  With a social media plan in place reputation and followers can be built on a growing basis.  By listening to followers and others, conversations can be started.  This will lead to relationships, real world meetings and eventually referrals and the best treat of all business.

Don’t be scared of social media.  For the new user it can be a little frightening but the rewards, both personal and business-related, can be significant.

What scares you about social media?  Let me know.

Communications Planning Before Natural Disasters

Have a plan and be prepared to use social media sites as a backup

This weekend the New York area is facing an impending hurricane, and recently experienced its first real earthquake

Hurricane Irene - 2011

in over 65 years. Today we should all be a little more aware of the potential natural disasters that can hit and disrupt business operations. As a public relations professional for over 20 years and President of Corbett Public Relations, I have seen all kinds of crisis situations, including natural and man-made disasters, impact clients. Natural disasters, including major snowstorm like those we experienced this last winter, are all reminders that we need to have a communications plan in place. The following are a few strategies to protect your business’ integrity, reputation and methods for communicating during and after a major weather event or any other disaster.

Today, more than ever, communication is a major priority for most businesses. We are all connected, possibly overconnected, and rely heavily on our technology. Natural disasters and technology don’t mix, and we must prepare for this.

It is vital to have a communications plan for keeping staff, clients and vendors informed about your business’ ability to function and meet their needs. If you plan to close before a big storm or if closing is contingent on the severity of the conditions, let everyone know immediately. Send e-mails, make phone calls, and change the message on your answering machine and cell phone.

We are lucky today: social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer additional vehicles for getting information out. Write updates on your own Facebook Wall and your Twitter feed about company plans, but also send direct messages to staff members and key clients and vendors. Let clients, contacts and staff know that you will be using social media sites for this purpose. Encourage them to check these sites and post information and/or questions. Post emergency contact numbers or temporary numbers as well as e-mail addresses where managers and company principals can be reached. Remember, keep your cell phone and laptop fully charged. Your proactive approach will demonstrate responsibility, and it will be appreciated by clients and staff alike.

Huricane Katrina Flooding

Should disaster strike and your office needs to close, and if power goes out or internet services go down, your office phones, e-mail server and office computer network will be out of commission. With your e-mail off line and website down, social media can be used as your backup. No matter how big the disaster Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will most likely all be up and running. These sites may become your only means of communicating with staff, customers and others. The beauty of social media is that updates can be done from your mobile device, laptop or home computer. Even if your power and home phone line are out, these updates can be made with your Smartphone. Remember, however, that cell phone towers have only an hour or so of battery backup so make sure if you have to post on your social media sites that you do so quickly.

Protect your data and have your contacts with you. The worst-case scenario resulting from a major weather incident would be the complete loss of proprietary data or even computers or servers. Take precautions and work with a credible information technology or remote backup company to protect your business’ most valuable asset. Keep a copy of your contact database on an external hard drive or thumb drive in case you have to operate from home and need your contacts’ e-mails and phone numbers. As I mentioned, social media sites may serve as vital communications for you and your business. Make sure you have all your passwords and e-mail accounts with you and a backup stored in a remote but accessible location.

Keeping a business communication flow open and working will show that you are a proactive and prepared operation. Clients need to know your status and how to contact you with their questions and possibly their emergencies. Failure to communicate properly with clients or not being able to provide service could damage your reputation and create issues. These issues could intensify and cause the loss of a client or, in extreme circumstances, businesses could shut down.

Although we can’t control the weather, we can control our own actions. So prepare your communications plan now for your business in order to minimize disruptions, reduce confusion and maintain the flow of information.

Boosting Trade Show Success

Bill Corbett Presents at Trade Show Seminar

Over the past month I have had the pleasure of offering several workshops on trade show marketing and strategies for success with Judy Fairbanks, VP of Sales & Marketing for Skyline New York and, Rob Fishman, Partner of Sandler Sales Training Institute.  Events events were held at Skyline New York’s modern facility in Hauppauge, New York.  

My firm Corbett Public Relations  has promoted many trade shows and we have assisted many clients who use trade shows to market their products and services.  The sessions that I am giving with Judy and Rob continue to help me find new strategies and look at the overall trade show experience from different perspectives.  It remains clear that exhibitors of any company need help in being more successful and securing ROI from trade show appearances. 

There are many benefits of being involved in trade shows.  Shows allow businesses to be directly in front of people, demonstrate products and services and start relationships.  We are in a day an age where online communication is dominant, it’s great to see people face to face and have real interactions.  This also means getting out from behind the desk to promote and selling a product or service.  Selling and promoting effectively takes skill, planning and a system.   

The following are five quick strategies that must be part of successful trade show appearances:  

  1. Plan- To be successful in any marketing effort you need to plan.  Start by working the calendar backwards. Set dates for materials to be ready, for publicity efforts and creating campaigns to invite prospects to your booth.  Remember 60 percent of people who attend trade shows go on a mission to see you specifically or to look for a specific product or service.  Don’t forget to contact the show producer, they want to help you promote your appearance and be successful.   
  2. Promote Appearance– Create your online trade show promotions and use social media. List your trade show appearances on your website, create a Facebook event page, create a special Twitter account or hashtag and certainly create your media kit with a press release.  Alert the media and the show producer if you have new products or services that you will be introducing at the show.   
  3. Training– Educate and train all booth/exhibit workers. Start this process early and make sure everyone knows what they need to know about the products and services offered.  Have them practice their elevator pitch but most importantly help them create questions to assist them to start conversations.  Remember it is as important to listen and ask questions, as it is to talk about the benefits of your products and services.  Hard selling will never get you leads, but conversations and solving problems will. 
  4. Exhibits and Booth– Take the advice of the professionals like those at Skyline New York. Create open and inviting booths that do not overload show attendees with too much information.  Create a booth that is open, inviting, branded clearly and interesting. 
  5. Next Steps and Following Up- Did you know that 80 percent of leads that are received at a trade show never receive a follow up? This is a tremendous loss of money and time.   In order to be successful, take the time to create a clear system for qualifying leads and procedures for following up.  As Judy Fairbanks says “the real trade show starts when the breakdown of the booth starts.”  Set up your system and even block off a day or two for specific follow up after the show.  Quick follow up is essential.   

These are just a few basic strategies to think about for enhancing trade show success.  The workshops we are offering at Skyline New York hit on these topics and many others. 

For Additional Trade Show Tips from Skyline:

 http://www.skylinenewyork.com/Seminars/Successful-Trade-Show-Marketing-Strategies/

http://www.skylinenewyork.com/Seminars/Trade-Show-Marketing-Strategies-For-Todays-Economy

Do You Need to Have a Social Media Marketing Plan?

The answer is yes, a plan is needed for any kind of marketing program a business will embark on. The plan must include goals, objectives and budgets. Without a plan and direction the effort that will be made will be time consuming and will most likely not achieve goals or impact a business positively.

The buzz today is all about social media marketing. Many business people are focusing all of their attention on this, taking their eye off the ball and forgetting about other types of marketing. Social media will become a more integral part of marketing but traditional marketing, advertising and media relations should not be forgotten or put aside. Although the internet and social media marketing can drive sales and be a fantastic tool for brand building it will not work for everyone. What is really disturbing is that most people don’t really know how to use this kind of marketing effectively. Social media marketing can be time consuming and if done improperly will not achieve the return on investment desired. The return on investment for any marketing program should be measurable.

At Corbett Public Relations I regularly work with clients to create messages, set marketing goals and determine what image clients want to have with their target audiences. I would venture to guess that most people who have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts and are using some form of social media marketing did not and do not think twice about the image that they were seeking to convey to the general public as well as potential customers. This is a huge mistake and a topic for another blog entry. Most people dabble with social media sites and post information ranging from what they had for lunch to some type of new product or service they are offering. These mixed messages don’t work and confuse followers. Followers don’t care about these types of posts and that’s the worst thing that can happen, if they don’t care they will stop following, probably forever.

We saw in the early and mid 1990s the growth of the internet. Businesses started to create websites and the “Field of Dreams” movie quote “If you build it they will come” was often used. We found over the years that this is the farthest thing from the truth. The truth is that if you build it they might come but probably won’t. Search engine marketing and optimization has helped with this for websites. People can now find what they are looking easily on the internet. Businesses people now also understand that websites for the most part are marketing and branding tools, not direct business generators. Social media also allows more businesses and people to have a presence on the internet but just because you are doing it does not mean anyone is following or even cares what you have to say. This is why you need to have a marketing plan.

A marketing/social media marketing plan will help to remedy the situation of no one following your or caring about what you have to say. A plan will set goals for pushing out messages, acquiring followers and branding your business (or you personally). Each of these efforts requires planning and the use of the proper tools and having the right creative message and image. Simply put if you do not have a clear image or brand to promote your social media marketing or any marketing program is likely to fail.

Social media offers many opportunities, but how these opportunities are taken advantage of and used is the key. Do it right and do it with a clear plan.

I am compiling a long list of tips for social media marketing and will eventually publish this with comments and best practices for small businesses and individuals seeking to build their own brands. If you are interested in a copy of these tips feel free to e-mail me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com I will be writing over the next few weeks about creating the right online image and brand. This will be followed by how to communicate with prospects and friends to generate a buzz and business.

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