How to use Social Networks for your business

Unlike a couple of years ago, today there are dozens of different social networks to choose from. So how do you know which ones will work for your business? Do you create a Facebook page, or a MySpace page, or do you jump on the Twitter circuit? What about all those other social networks like Friendster, Flickr, or and many others?social networking

Before you begin to use social networking for business, you need to answer these questions. First, do you have a pr marketing strategy? If not, do you have a pr marketing plan? Ok, if these are not in your business plan, then it’s time to develop a pr marketing strategy that includes social networking. It would also be an excellent pr marketing strategy to start a blog site for your company. All successful PR Clients have a solid pr marketing strategy that has social networking as part of their plan.

I have written about using of MySpace and Facebook as a means to market your business. And I wrote a lot on blogging, which in all should be a continued program with all companies and PR Clients looking to be successful in the next 12 to 16 months. Now let’s look at how you can use Twitter as a business tool.

What makes Twitter so exciting? When used properly, Twitter is a great way to reach out to new prospects and keep a trusted connection with existing clients.

Some important issues to know: Unlike the many other social networks, Twitter followers do not like in-your-face marketing. And unlike MySpace and Facebook, Twitter has “followers”. These are usually friends, and other people that you may not know directly.

The rules for using Twitter:

1- Don’t add people you don’t know. This new social group gets annoyed if you just add people who follow others you know. Start slowly, add people you know, and then let it build. The main reason people like Twitter, they can leave if they don’t want to follow you because of your content.

2- Look for people that are in your industry. If you find people that are recognized in your industry, or are smart, then getting them to re-follow you is easier. That’s provided you offer something they want to follow, or know more about. Remember, no one like spam, so don’t start the hard sell with followers.

3- Be genuine about your business. When you begin to tell about your business, tell it from the heart. Not like a sales pitch. Twitter followers will respond if they see you have a passion for what you do.

4- Be active. If you choose to use Twitter, you need to invest at least an hour or two during the week. Just like other social sites, keeping it fresh is important. But with Twitter, people follow because they feel they are getting up-to-the minute info about you.

Still want to Twitter? If not, at least build a social network that includes the blog site and the traditional Facebook site to keep your business alive. Need help with social networking? Then give Carson Marketing, Inc. a call at 949-477-9400. Ask for George Carson, he will personally assist you with your social networking needs.

Is Your Web Site Working For You?

If you are a pr client, or have an eCommerce web site, is it getting traffic? Is the traffic converting to sales, or leads for your business? Is your site listed on the first page of Google, or Yahoo? Do you know the Page Rank?

These are important questions, and you as a pr client, or an eCommerce client should take seriously. If any of these are problems, then re-think your web site. Here are a few tips to make sure that your web site is consumer, or B2B ready.web site media

1- DESIGN. Believe it or not, a poor design will actually hurt you. The SEO”s reject poor design sites for indexing. Also, customers will run away fast if the site is hard to read, confusing, and the graphics are screaming for attention.

2- WEB LAYOUT. If you have a lot products, or services to offer, make sure customers can find everything easily. And your content needs to be something your customers will enjoy reading.

3- NAVIGATION. This goes hand-in-hand with the design and layout. When those are done correctly, then the navigation should be clear and concise, or customers will get lost and you will loose business.

Bottom-line– have a professional work on your web site. If you already have a site then package design and printingmake sure it meets these simple tips. If not, contact a web designer, one who understands marketing. Otherwise, they may just create a nice design for them to enter in a web site contest, and doesn’t meet your needs. After all this is completed, then the optimizing is next. If you are serious about building customers on the web, make sure web marketing is part of your advertising and marketing plan.

And this all relates to publicity. A great looking site will generate positive publicity. A poorly designed and difficult site will also generate publicity. Which type of publicity do you want for your web site?

Can corporate blogging increase your publicity awareness?

If you need to ask this question, then your publicity campaign must need help. The answer is a simple, YES, corporate blogs can help improve and increase awareness.

I have mentioned how blogging is more than a place for people to vent, or comment about what they like, their lives and hobbies. It has become part of the mainstream businessbusiness blog site cycle, which should be included into your publicity plan, or marketing plan. All publicity professionals and most pr clients understand that awareness is what makes or breaks a company. So why not get in control? With a corporate blog site, you and your publicity professional, or in-house pr staff can now control what is said about the company. When a blog site is part of your PR Marketing Strategy, it will further create a solid branding for your company, or PR Client.

An article in the Washington Post by Sarah Halzack discusses the corporate world is getting into blogging. I have said this many times before, and again we are seeing more of the mainstream media addressing this topic.

So why should a company, or PR Client want a blog site?

There are many reasons, but before you make the plunge, see if a blog site is going to help or benefit your company. Not everyone needs it, but most pr clients will benefit.

• A blog will allow executives in a company become more visible and voice the concerns that customers are having

• By addressing customer issues you gain control on harmful rumors that could spread and cause a decline in business

• It is a smart marketing strategy and a vehicle to introduce customers to new products

• It can attract good employees by becoming more visible

These are just a few reasons to have a corporate business blog site. When designing a blog site it needs to be different from your company’s web site. In addition, you need to have someone dedicated to maintain the blogs on a daily or weekly basis at the least. Keeping the blog site active shows the company is interested in informing customers about them and adds credibility to their brand.

If your company needs a blog site, or writers to maintain your site, give George Carson at Carson Marketing, Inc a call: 949-477-9400. He can get you noticed quickly!

How To Create Branding

This is a topic that can always be spoken about. Mainly because most pr clients, advertisers, and publicity agencies do not fully understand how to create a branding campaign, or build a brand product.

It starts with a plan. A Marketing Plan would be best. Inside the plan should be the different marketing strategies that outline in detail what your company goals are to be achieved and what will it take to attain those goals. So how does this relate to BRANDING? Glad you asked. It is just one small part of your pr marketing strategy.branding campaign

When you or your advertising agency creates a campaign for your product, or company image, consider what it is you are trying to achieve. If it is to be memorable, or have humor, or be a serious campaign, then this is how the branding will start. Branding also starts from within a company. From the CEO, to the president, to the office receptionist. But that’s another area of branding that we can discuss later.

Let’s get back to your ad campaign, or publicity campaign. If the idea that is presented looks good, feels good, but you as the pr client just says “that could be our competitors ad if you take out our logo”. Well, consider this, are they using that campaign, or that slogan, or those images. If not, then maybe you are in the old school. Just as I read in Brandweek, an article called “The Doing of the Thing”, by Mike Wolfsohn, points out that this type of thinking can make you be left behind the competition, instead of being the competition. He uses several examples; one in particular is the MasterCard “Priceless” campaign. While the competition, Visa, is trying to position them as the card that is used everywhere, MasterCard takes the personal approach making it more emotional. Anyone of the other card companies could have used that as their idea, but MasterCard did it.

So don’t throw out an idea because you feel the campaign is too generic, make it your brand, make it become your slogan, or image. That is one way to start building a brand. To learn how to create a brand in more detail, give George Carson a call. He can get you noticed so that YOU become the competition. Call him at 949-477-9400.

How To Write A Marketing Plan


If you have never written a marketing plan, then you can use this as a basis to begin. I urge you to work with a professional marketing individual to help implement the marketing plan if you do not have anyone in your company with the knowledge and experience.

I talked about creating a pr marketing strategy in a recent blog for a company, and that you should first have a marketing plan in place in order to begin your marketing strategy. Many PR Clients think if they just put together a simple plan, or a strategy, they will succeed. This is a crapshoot. You might get by for a short time, but without a definite marketing plan, it is possible to fail. Some of the reasons will be evident when you see what it takes to write a solid marketing plan.

If you think that marketing is selling or advertising, then you are wrong! Marketing concentrates on customers and what they need (or want). Customers are the essence of marketing – they are the source of sales and profits. Now that this is said, let’s move onto the writing.

The marketing plan should be for your company, not a copy or extraction of other plans and fit it into your company. You need to do your own research. These are a few of the things you need to know before writing the marketing plan.

List who are your competitors

Do you know your potential customers (create a profile of your customer base. Whether you are a B2B business, or retail, a profile should be identified.

Describe your product(s) or services that are offered

Know your actual costs and what will it take to get this to market. To do this list your entire overhead and other operating costs to know what profit margins you need to survive and grow.

Once you have gathered this critical information you still need to do more research. For example, you need do the following:

• analysis of your current market
• your business objectives
• key strategies
• steps to achieving your objectives
• proposed budget

• timing

After you have all these facts, you can now begin to do an outline of the marketing plan. Then you can start doing the writing.

As you can see, if you have not written a plan, it takes a lot of serious research and objectivity. I highly recommend hiring a marketing professional to guide you along so the plan is something that is designed to help your company grow, rather than adding information you “think is best” and might not point your company in the right direction. If you need help, call George Carson at Carson Marketing, Inc. He will get you going and prepare you in handling your next level of growth.

Do You Know How To Create A Publicity Plan?

If you are a pr client, or an ad agency, or even a publicity person, these tips can help you organize yourself to create a solid publicity plan. Although these may seem basic, they are the key essentials for any publicity plan.

For PR Clients, you need to have your key personnel in the marketing and sales departments become part of this process. For all pr agency staff, take notes; maybe even compare a recent pr plan you had prepared to compare it to this checklist.

First, you need to:  SET GOALS and OBJECTIVES.

Sounds easy, but this is the core to most failures of a publicity campaign. For example the goals and objectives should be something that can be achieved with a good plan, rather than a “wish list”. If you are a food company, or a retail store, it would be to “increase traffic and sales”. Other goals and objectives could be to “generate awareness to the brand(s), or to the name”.  Write at least three of the goals and objectives that are most needed at your company, or for your pr client.

Keep in mind that the publicity campaign should be part of your overall marketing plan. You need to work with marketing in order to see how your publicity plan can fit with the marketing initiatives.

When writing the publicity plan you should include these OBJECTIVES:

• Target Audience (identify them, even B2B companies have a target audience)

• Tactics (what are the means of media, such as TV, radio, newspapers, internet social networks, etc) Some of the best pr tactics to use are News Releases, Media Press Kits, Articles, News Conference, etc. It is very important that one person be the main contact at the company. This assigned individual needs to be available, and be knowledgeable of the products, or services you are promoting in the campaign.

• Timing (when are you planning to implement the publicity campaign) if this is about a special event or specific launch of a new product, then timing is critical and you need to plan well in advance.

• Measurement (have a process to measure the results) you can monitor the publicity campaign throughout the duration of the campaign. For example, how many interviews have been conducted? How many stories, or releases have been published, or placed in the different media–broadcast, print, Internet.

Each of these areas can be detailed and explained further. But my goal and objective for this blog is to get you started in the right direction. You can build upon these parts as needed. If you are a pr client or a publicity person that needs help in creating a publicity campaign, then give Carson Marketing a call. We can help your publicity campaign reach the goals and objectives set forth.

Submitting Press Releases is not a Publicity Campaign

“Do a press release on the expansion of our company, and another on the new products we offer”. If this is what you think is a pr marketing strategy then get ready”to-fail”.

The reason to do press releases is to enhance an already existing publicity campaign. Just as a pr client would not produce one item or two and think they will sell millions and become rich…with very few exceptions, this isn’t how to run a business. Neither is it right to have a pr marketing strategy be a once or twice a season of submitting press releases.

If you want to get noticed, or be along the same playing field (in pr terms I mean) withmedia room your competitors, then you need a solid pr marketing strategy. To create a pr marketing strategy you should include a lot of press releases, a press kit to be distributed at trade shows, promotional programs (these could be charity related, community projects, sponsorship of events, etc), articles for publication, get into the social media network, start blogging about your company, and many other campaign elements.

It seems that pr clients think of sending a press release to keep costs down, when in reality it can cost you more because the release may or may not get published, or posted online at Yahoo News, then what do you do? Send another press release? Yes, but it should be part of your overall pr marketing strategy. Follow up with related articles for submission, comparisons to show how your new product changes what was to how it makes things better, or more profitable. Getting your company name in front of potential customers is another part of a good pr marketing strategy. Again, it is only part of the overall campaign. Try contacting other related businesses, ask if they would participate with your company by creating an event, or develop an awareness campaign by co-sponsoring an existing event. These can be local, regional, or national, all depending on your objective that is in your Marketing Plan. What? You don’t have a marketing plan. Then maybe you need to get it all together now, while the year is still new and help your company survive with a smart marketing plan. Need help? Give me a call, at 949-477-9400. I’ll make sure you have the campaign to get your company to the next level, and be successful this year.

PR Marketing Strategies. Learn How To Use MySpace Correctly.

Today’s topic follows yesterdays with a little more input on reaching this social network.

Listen up pr clients and all of those public relations agencies who think it is still a fad that is going to disappear, social media is stronger than ever, and it’s growing. Until another type of media in cyberspace is developed, social media should be part of your public relations services. If your pr agency cannot provide this service, then go outside and hire a company that can. All pr strategies must now include some type of social media in their overall publicity campaigns.We all know and have heard good and bad things about MySpace. But what a publicity agency needs to do for their pr clients, is to better understand this type of media in order to gain favorable publicity for clients.

Let’s look at how to use social media correctly. For example, a BusinessWeek article by Kerry Miller asked several experts what they think are tips for social media, specifically MySpace. I like to refer to these as rules. The author lists them as 8 tips. Here are a few:

  • Forget the Hard Sell. This means it is time to give than receive. Offer the visitors, and viewers of MySpace something. Whether it is a receipe, a newsletter but give them something, don’t do the hard sell.
  • Focus on Quality Over Quantity. One of the experts, named Key, says to provide useful information to the community, that will develop into friends, which will give you better publicity.
  • Think Long Term. Just like any other pr marketing plan, or publicity event, you need to think in long terms, not immediate.Too many pr clients want “instant” ROI’s, and forget this is a network of people. You need to “give them something” in order to build a relationship. That takes time.

As I have said before, you need to plan this type of publicity activity. It should be part of your overall pr marketing strategy, not a one-shot approach.

Publicity Tip #2431

Photos can make a you look better

When you write a release, or better yet, an article to pitch to the media, it is a good idea to include photos.

Wow, what a great idea, bet this isn’t original! You’re right, but read further to learn what I mean about including photos.

Believe it or not, most pitches are only text that the media receive. Just adding good quality photos can make your story become more interesting to the reporter because now you are providing a visual.

This alone needs to be given careful thought. Just as you want the story you are writing to not look like an ad to the reporter, you need to plan the types of photos to include.

One publicist, Joan Stewart, wrote an article on this subject. She gives you about 11 tips on what to look for when shooting photos to be included in your pitch.

What I like about her article, her advice goes beyond what to take for photos. Joan provides tips on what not to do. Such as groundbreaking, or ribbon ceremonies. These are overdone, and unless you are a major real estate developer, or a high profile company, forget these types of stories and photos.

Your publicity campaign and all your public relations activities should be part of the overall business and marketing plan. There will always be some last minute pr projects that your pr client’s need created immediately. It is the master marketing plan that should set the guidelines for all the publicity. Be sure you have a solid database of the reporters, editors and publications you want to target.

See Also

Foundations Financial Chooses Carson

We recently presented a complete marketing and publicity program to   Foundations Financial and the client approved the campaign.

Our company will be doing all of the marketing and publicity for them. This will include their new web site, sales and collateral material, complete branding which will include the publicity in California and South Carolina markets. And yes, we will have a blog site dedicated to helping people find the best investment program that will build their wealth.

Foundations Financial is a unique company that has been helping people build wealth from the ground up. They specialize in creating wealth for families and individuals through real estate and other property investments, among other investments programs.

The company is only three years old and has become a recognized force in the asset protection industry.

We look forward to making great things happen for our client.

See Also