The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Wednesday Witty Wisdom

Protecting Your Privacy and Embracing Facebook Graph Search

There is a lot of confusion surrounding Facebook’s Graph Search, particularly when it comes to privacy. Let us clear that up for you.

Facebook sure has come a long way from its inception almost 10 years ago. A universal theme throughout its existence has been how to maintain one’s privacy, while remaining social.

Many people were already worried about privacy settings and how to control access to their private information—enter Graph Search which makes it even easier for people to search your Facebook activity, and is steadily becoming available to all U.S. Facebook users.

How do you keep your privacy? Up in the right hand corner of your Facebook screen, you will find a padlock. When you click on it, you will be given some choices:

Who can see my stuff?

Who can contact me?

How do I stop someone from bothering me?

When you click on the arrows beside any of these, you will see a variety of options that will allow you to decide everything from who can see any of your future posts (public, friends, friends except acquaintances, or only me), to which messages end up in your inbox, and who can send you friend requests.

Hopefully you already have your profile on lock, but if not, now is the perfect time to explore these settings. Facebook makes it remarkably easy to filter who sees what, labeling people as close friends, friends, or acquaintances, or putting them into another custom list. You have complete control over each custom list’s unique privacy settings.

For example, if you have a vendor list, you can post things that pertain to inventory needs or supplies, and make it visible to only the people on your vendors list. Or, you can create a VIP list, and offer inside scoops to anyone on that custom list.

Facebook lists are a great way to decide the visibility of your posts. By putting people into lists you are able to still make the same Facebook posts, but they will only be visible by the people on the list you choose to share it with.

If you go into your friends and scroll over the bar next to their name, you will be given the option of customizing what you see from them, and labeling them so that you can limit what they see from you.

For example, only the people I label as close friends see every post I make, or every photo I upload to Facebook. Just about everyone else is labeled as an acquaintance, and they will only see posts that I label as visible to “all friends,” which mainly consist of shared articles or my professional posts.

So what does this mean for Graph Search?

Graph Search does not share everything with everyone—it will only share what you allow it to share. So, if you have a post or a photo’s visibility set to:

Only Me; no one else will find it

Friends; only friends (excluding anyone labeled as an acquaintance) will see it in their Graph Search results

Friends Except Acquaintances; only your few and closest friends will be able to find it via Graph Search

Public; it is visible to anyone and everyone on Facebook using Graph Search

If you’re worried about your privacy on Facebook, then you may want to explore these settings.

Graph Search may be scary for some personal profiles—just ask Tom Scott, who created a Tumblr for embarrassing finds via the search engine. However, for businesses that use it correctly, it levels the playing field between small, local businesses and corporate machines.

Business owners and marketers alike are already talking about the ways they plan to use the search to better identify their target audiences (searching what they like, where they go and who they know), recruit new employees, build stronger communities, and acquire new customers.

If you’re a local business, encourage people to check-in or share via Facebook that they love your french toast – encourage them to leave reviews, and post your special offers and discounts on your Facebook page. All of these things will increase the likelihood of your business showing up in Graph Search, leading to you being discovered by more people.

As for personal profiles, it may be time to reevaluate your privacy settings, clean house and limit your past posts.

Public Relations: It’s a Mindset, Not a One-Time Activity

Nancy Marshall, CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications

Three Tips to Generate PR on an Ongoing Basis

I frequently talk with clients who say that they want to do “a little bit of PR.” When I hear that, I sometimes have to bite my tongue so as not to say “there’s no such thing as a little bit of PR.”

Public relations is a mindset. It’s something you need to be thinking about all the time. Well, maybe you don’t need to think about it as much as I do, because I really do think about it all the time (just ask my husband).  But  if you are always thinking about your relationship with the public, and your targeted publics in particular, then you are more likely to experience success with building your brand.

Here are three tips that will help you think like a PR professional:

1. Share helpful information with your targeted publics

Leverage social media—post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter on how to accomplish something in your field of work.

Give a speech to the local Rotary explaining the latest trends in your industry.

Host an informational workshop for your clients and friends at a local community center in your area of business.

2. Watch the news of the day to see how you might be able to offer expertise.

Recently there was a train crash and oil explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec, right over the border from Maine. Anyone with experience in how trains work, or the way oil is prone to burn uncontrollably, could speak with authority to the news about this tragedy. Or an expert in psychotherapy could talk about how you should talk to your children about tragic events.  Figuring out ways to adapt a national news story and leverage it for your own PR is called “newsjacking,” and it’s an amazingly effective public relations technique.

3. Look for opportunities to share the news of your business.

Have you hired a new employee?  Send out a press release with his or her head shot. Have you taken on a new client or customer? That’s a good reason for a press release, as well. How about an award or a published article? That’s newsworthy. A new invention, patent, or trademark? Yes, that’s also a reason to reach out to the news media. 

 

A little bit of PR will do just that:  get you a little bit of PR. But if you are always thinking about how to get your news out there to your targeted audiences and raise your profile with the public, then you are more likely to benefit from increased awareness in the marketplace.

“Hello Charlie” – 6 Tips for Public Speaking

Charlie’s Angels
Image courtesy of www.tv.yahoo.com

Years ago, when I was a recent performing arts graduate, I took part in a nationwide audition for the remake of Charlie’s Angels. Armed with the bravado and naiveté of youth, I made it to the callbacks, which consisted of an interview and screen test. The audition was also covered by a local reporter.

Facing the three-judge panel, I was able to make it through the basic questions of name, age, and height. And then I was blindsided by, “So why do you want to audition for Charlie’s Angels?” Looking back, this does seem like a pretty obvious question, but in the stress of the moment the wheels came off my interview as my eyes widened and a shocked snort of laughter escaped my lips. In the seconds it took for the panel to put a line through my name, my mind raced through several possible answers – all of which were quickly discounted. I then realized my fatal mistake – I wasn’t prepared.

#1 Prepare for questions

I spent all of my time learning the monologue and never considered the possibility of questions – even the obvious ones. I should have made a list of questions or asked a friend to interview me or a least considered that I may have to say something that wasn’t a part of the monologue.

As I gave myself an imaginary forehead slap, my inner dialogue went into hyper-drive. “You idiot, stop fumbling, just say something. NO, not that – say something intelligent!”

Leading to my next lesson in public speaking.

#2 Never give in to negative self-talk

Judging yourself while trying to present is not only distracting, it’s a sure way to ruin any conversation, interview or speech. Negativity causes your body and your mind to tighten, leading to an inability to speak or think clearly, and excessive displays of nervous habits.

When I’m nervous, I stutter and say “uh” a lot. My hands often take on a life of their own and tend to gesture wildly as if to leave my body or flag down a taxi. All of these habits are distracting and take away from any message I’m trying to deliver. Nervous habits are many times so unconscious that you may not even be aware of them. I wasn’t, that is until a director pointed them out, making this tip #3.

Jim Egerton and Juli Settlemire in ACAT’s Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane.

#3 Practice in front of people

You’re going to be presenting in front of people anyway, so gather a few friends together and review your presentation. It helps hone your message, and develop a comfort level with your material and being in front of people.

In the case of my audition, I had the three-judge panel to my right and a large camera with a blinking red light to my left. As the judges nodded for me to present my monologue I wasn’t exactly sure if I should be looking at them or the increasingly hypnotic lens of the camera. In the end, the camera won out and as I stared helplessly into its vortex of distraction, tatters of my monologue hiccuped their way out of my mouth. Leading to my #4, #5, and #6 tips.

#4 Film yourself

I recommend filming and reviewing your presentation. There’s something about having a record of your speech that adds an extra element of importance, stress and distraction, making it a great warm up for the actual presentation.

#5 Research and visit the venue whenever possible

Seeing the venue helps you to visualize where you and your audience will be. It gives you a context for your preparation and helps with the rehearsal process. Now, whenever I have a speech, I set up my kitchen in a mock-up of the room and practice.

#6 Don’t assume – prepare

I have a B.A. in performing arts, I’ve taken post-graduate improvisation classes, I’m used to being in front of people in very stressful situations. I assumed that I could handle whatever this audition threw at me – I was WRONG.

NMC Business Manager, Juli Settlemire

Now I work at Nancy Marshall Communications and can fully appreciate the importance of messaging and media training. If my epic audition failure taught me anything, it’s that drive and talent only get you so far – you need to properly prepare for opportunities. Keep polishing and adapting your speech for each audience and each situation. And never hesitate to call in expert advice. You’ll find a new confidence in presenting yourself and your ideas in professional and social situations.

As for Charlie’s Angels, you’ve probably guessed, I didn’t make it past callbacks. However, I was featured on the nightly news; apparently the reporter really liked my shocked guffaw.

Contributed by Juli Settlemire, NMC Business Manager

Social Networking Does Not Replace In-Person Networking

Nancy Marshall, CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications

From time to time, I meet with young professionals who are starting out in their careers and need to make connections. Some of them have the idea that they can use LinkedIn and Facebook exclusively to make connections without actually meeting people face to face.  I discourage them from relying solely on their computers for networking. Instead, I advise them to join chambers of commerce, boards of trustees, and other civic groups to meet people in person.

Online social networking is a great way to initially connect with people, but it’s no substitute for developing relationships over the long term. I recommend that you always seek out opportunities to meet with people face-to-face. It’s great to use LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest or other social networks before, during, or after your in-person interaction but the goal should always be to get together and do something in person. Social networks are a great way to keep track of people in between your in-person meetings.

You can’t truly get to know a person when both of you are behind your computer or smart phone screen. The best (and the worst) of people comes out during face-to-face interactions. I worry about young people who think they have ‘friends’ based on the number of connections they have on Facebook. These might be people who know your name and know what you look like, but until you’ve spent time with a person, you can’t really decide whether they are your friend or not.

My advice is to seek out the people you want to get to know either for personal or professional reasons, and invite them to lunch, or for drinks, or to a baseball game, or to go skiing or biking or hiking.  You may meet these people in a variety of settings but professional networking groups such as chambers of commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis and even BNI (Business Networking International) are good places to start.

There’s nothing like a campfire to pull together a group of people as
true friends. In May, we had a group of French students who were
visiting my son Jamie’s school over to our house a potluck dinner and
a campfire. We sang, told stories, and had a wonderful time together.
This is where true friendships are made.

There are so many fun things to do with old and new friends that will strengthen your relationship, but you need to make an effort to get these things on your calendar and extend your circle of influence.  Once you get together and enjoy these times together, you can post photos of yourselves on Facebook and other social networks, and share stories about what you did.

It’s easy to spend most of your time with your family and old friends, but for professional growth and development, you should make an effort to make new contacts and expand your circle of friends.

 

Your Website is the Centerpiece of Your Marketing Program

When you are setting a table for a formal dinner party, you place something beautiful in the center of the table like candles, flowers or a bowl of colorful fruit. This centerpiece ties everything on the table together.

This infographic comes from our good friends at the Caliber Group in Arizona. Both our agencies are members of the Alliance of Marketing Communications Agencies. Thanks to the Caliber Group for sharing! www.calibergroup.com

Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing program. It helps you connect with your targeted audiences and ties all of your marketing efforts together. It contains all the information about your product, service, place, organization or brand that people need in order to connect with you or do business with you. Visitors come to your site to get more information, to evaluate your products and services and to assess your brand. By looking at your site, they decide whether they want to connect with your brand….or not.

Your website is the focal point of your brand, and the foundation of your marketing program. Every aspect of your marketing should point back to your website, including press releases, ads, business cards, brochures, flyers, rack cards, banners, direct mail and social media.

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

When people go to your website, they will immediately get a sense of your brand. If your website looks amateurish, people will think your business is amateurish.  If it is beautiful and full of useful information that draws people in and keeps them there for a while, then your website will build your brand and convey an image of professionalism.

It’s important to be sure that the centerpiece on your table and the centerpiece of your marketing program are consistent with the image you want to convey to your guests, whether they are coming for dinner at your home or coming to learn more about your organization online.

How To Connect Your YouTube and Google+ Pages

You can link your Google+ page to your business’s YouTube channel to gain advanced channel management features. You will be able to let multiple people manage your YouTube channel, as well as manage multiple YouTube channels from a single login. No more sharing passwords to personal Google accounts, or setting up fake Google accounts just for YouTube!

Here are instructions for linking Google+ to YouTube. You must already have a Google+ page set up for your business, and the Gmail login you use to access YouTube must be an administrator of the Google+ page.

1.) In YouTube, under account settings, click the “advanced” link

2.) Click the blue button that says “Connect with a Google+ page”

3.) You will be presented with a few options for what you can connect your YouTube channel to. Select your YouTube channel from the list and click next. Follow the additional instructions and your YouTube channel will be linked to your Google+ page.

4.) Now any of your Google+ page managers will be able to manage your YouTube account. When they log in to YouTube, they can use the “switch account” feature to select the Google+ page and the connected YouTube channel.

Contributed by Matthew Rideout, NMC Interactive Marketing Manager

 

Should You Trade Google Alerts For Newsle?

NMC Account Executive Anna McDermott

Newsle is yet another of the latest social media platforms that is trending right now and the intrepid folks at NMC are here to tell you whether or not you should pay any attention to it. You should. It’s pretty cool and you really don’t have to do anything with it other than sign in. Newsle will then track your friends and email you as soon as they’re in the news (Newsle = news + people).

It’s an easy way to monitor your own brand and the brands of your friends and clients, and its algorithm for finding your contacts in the news is pretty brilliant – people think it’s far more accurate than having a Google alert.

When I signed in, I linked my Gmail, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to my Newsle profile and instantly anyone I’m connected to who has been in the news in the last few years showed up on my Home screen with links to the articles. You can also follow anyone on Newsle – like the President or Justin Bieber.

You can choose how often Newsle emails you with updates (1-7 days per week) and whenever your friends are in the news, you’ll know. The more someone is in the news, the higher their Newsle rank is – Barack Obama has a 94, our own Nancy Marshall has a 28. Because your rank is dependent on the prominence of the news source you are in and how often you are in the news, your number could be seen as a positive or negative, so I wouldn’t necessarily place too much importance on it.

Go ahead, sign up for Newsle – you may find it replaces many of your Google alerts and its interface is really pleasant to use.

Contributed by: Anna McDermott

 

Using Social Media Channels to Help Journalists Do Their Jobs

NMC Account Executive Kevin Gove

The go-to methods for providing journalists with story ideas or story sources have changed with the times. First, there was the phone. Then, e-mail arrived and made a journalist’s inbox forever cluttered. And now, with the ability of media to Tweet or post a call for ideas or sources that can instantly be seen by thousands of eyeballs, social media channels are becoming effective and helpful avenues for reaching out to help journalists do their jobs.

Using social media to pitch stories isn’t a trend. Pitching is personal, and knowing how a media contact prefers to receive a pitch should be your first objective. But, for those who want to test the story-sharing power of Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn here are some tips for pitching media through social channels.

Pitch to Those Who Want Pitches: It’s best to e-mail or call a media contact to find out if it’s OK to pitch them through social media. Some people say in their Twitter profile or LinkedIn profile that they welcome or don’t welcome pitches. You may be surprised at how many are OK with it. Use Twitter search to find people who are “writing a column,” “writing a story” or “need sources.” And, Like the Facebook pages of local and national TV news stations, newspapers, magazines and news websites to see their “We want to hear your story” posts and other calls for story ideas or sources.

Tell How the Story Will Benefit the Audience: Even with an abbreviated pitch, it’s important to share how the story will touch its audience. If you have an idea that will save people money, improve their health, or bring about world peace, say exactly that and not something like, “Hey, I have an awesome story idea for you.” Use numbers and statistics to get your point across quickly and effectively.

Provide a Link to More (Helpful) Information: It’s important to be detailed in a social pitch, especially if adding a link improves your pitch. If your pitch is about a person, provide a link to a full bio or a video that demonstrates what makes them story-worthy. Giving a link to the homepage of a business website or to a 127-page report someone co-authored isn’t helpful or enticing.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up: If your response to a call for a story idea or a source doesn’t get answered right away, follow up with a direct message, or make a phone call. The worst pitch is the one that ends without any conversation (written or verbal) with the media contact. Most people appreciate some kind of follow-up, and it’s beneficial even if all you find out is that the person is on vacation or just really busy.

A Twitter search for “writing a story” will show you results similar to these.

Take a closer look at your media contacts on social channels to find out you are missing opportunities to share stories and get media coverage for clients.

 
By Kevin Gove, Account Executive

The Value of a Strategic Marketing Communications Plan

Marketing can be expensive, especially if you have no idea where it’s taking you or what you are getting in return for your investment.

I’ve seen way too many companies and organizations flying by the seat of their pants when it comes to their marketing. They tend to do the same things they’ve always done, like advertise in the Yellow Pages or sponsor the local Little League team, in the hopes that these things will get them the results they’re after.

You’ve heard the definition of insanity, right?  It’s doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result. Does your company’s marketing program fit this definition? I hope not.

When it comes to nailing down specific, measurable goals that will direct a marketing effort, most organizations don’t even know what kind of results they want. Just hoping to create more business is not specific enough. For the past 14 years, my agency has been developing strategic marketing communications plans, branded The Marshall Plan™, to help our clients develop attainable marketing goals and the tools needed to successfully achieve them. Over the years, we have developed plans for many different industry sectors, including non-profit, information technology, banking, government, legal, tourism, academia, economic development, and more.

We’ve witnessed some amazing results with these plans for numerous reasons, namely:

  • The three-month process brings together the key stakeholders of an organization (management team, board of directors, front-line staff people) to work together with NMC to carefully define their goals, determine their realistic marketing budget and decide what resources can be allocated to achieving the goals. For many organizations, having an outside agency impose this process is exactly what they need to make crucial decisions that will guide the organization into the future.
  • The process starts with a three-hour Discovery Meeting during which the NMC team guides stakeholders through a thoughtful discussion about goals, strategy, tactics and resources.
  • Having goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely is just plain SMART.  The Marshall Plan™ process includes SMART goal setting.
  • The process also includes a thorough competitive analysis, SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and analysis of what has and has not worked in the past.
  • A detailed list of tactics (social media, website restructuring, media relations, marketing, advertising, public outreach, sales, and more) designed to reach specific goals is created and vetted by the group during a mid-term review meeting.
  • During the final four to six weeks of the process, NMC finalizes the tactics based on feedback received at the mid-term meeting and develops a timeline, budget, measurement dashboards and a variety of marketing tools such as media lists, press release templates, and stakeholder contact lists that will enable our client to hit the ground running when it comes to implementation.
  • The final meeting is a time to review the plan, celebrate the accomplishments and make some big decisions about next steps. Every plan is designed so it can be either implemented by NMC, the organization itself, or another agency.

 

Nancy Marshall, principal of Nancy Marshall Communications

The Marshall Plan™ ensures your marketing dollars will be well invested rather than just spent. It serves as a highly detailed road map toward successful growth for any business or nonprofit.  In the 14 years we’ve been creating Marshall Plans™, we have seen organizations totally embrace the process and the opportunity to improve their marketing and communications.

It is extremely rewarding for me as an agency owner to work with a client on one of these plans which, if fully utilized, offer guaranteed success in helping an organization grow and prosper.

Zaarly: Bringing Local Storefronts Online

Founders of Zaarly (L-R) Ian Hunter, Bo Fishback, and Eric Koester. Koester departed in in February.

One of our recent Monday Maine Mavens, Jordan Weymouth Richards, discussed the importance and value of doing what you love each and every day. Zaarly’s three founders, Eric Koester, Bo Fishback and Ian Hunter feel the same way. The business was created in a single weekend two years ago and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

When I first moved to New York City in 2008, the biggest question was, where do I live? How do I find a cheap (college student here) apartment in this expensive city? I met a few people who recommended Craigslist and I found my dream place—two-bedroom/two-bathroom with hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, full dining and living room for a mere $1,650/month in a nice Harlem neighborhood and two blocks from the A train.

It seems like a dream, right? Well, for me it was, but when I recommended it to a friend last year it seemed deals were hard to find and scams were heavily abundant. Enter Zaarly—a site that brings e-commerce to a new level by allowing the seller to create a virtual storefront, complete with product descriptions, a profile picture and comments—the model is remarkably similar to a social media site for your business/services.

Your virtual storefront works like a social media site. Profile picture? Check. Comments? Check. Creativity is welcomed from a company that claims, “Rules for Work. We do not have these.”

Co-founder and CEO of Zaarly, Bo Fishback says, “Craigslist built a great first version of how to use the Web to make local economies work a little better. It’s coming on 20 years since Craigslist was started and it is unchanged at a time when technology is changing faster than it’s ever changed before—I just had a super simple idea about how to create a hyper-local marketplace.”

It all began at Startup Weekendin February 2011. Two of the founders, Bo Fishback and Eric Koester were inspired by personal pet peeves and/or inconveniences. The third founder, Ian Hunter, had been thinking of a similar idea, virtual garage sales—how can you create the sale without actually having to go to the sale? They pitched their idea and Ashton Kutcher just happened to be one of the judges that evening and loved it. He funded the project with $14 million.

All three guys quit their jobs, went all in, and in a mere two years they have grown their idea into a million-dollar brand, boasting 100,000 registered users, 200 cities, 30 employees, 15,000 unique monthly listings, and $6 million worth of posted transactions.

The idea is that they introduce you to local business people who are passionate about what they do—Zaarly helps you meet people within your community, and those relationships and core connections are the key to their business model. Their website tells you to reclaim your local economy, stating that buying local means investing in your community’s future.

On their blog, Fishback tells the story of how much he loves picnics and how happy he was with a fulfilled picnic request he posted on Zaarly. Bo and his wife, son and dog enjoyed a relaxing two hours provided by “a third-grade teacher during the day, but a picnic wizard by night (and weekends),” who made the experience the best picnic of his life. Former Zaarly Chief Operating Office Eric Koester tells a similar story about a bride who had a DJ cancel the day of her wedding. She posted on Zaarly and within a few hours she had a new DJ booked and the crisis was resolved.

In honor of Zaarly’s goal of bringing people and businesses together, their team page makes it easy for you to ‘meet’ them.

Fishback says, “We help people get paid to do what they love—it’s amazing when you talk to these sellers and they come up with amazing things. We’re just welcoming the sellers into this marketplace; we did not have to invent the world of trust and safety in peer to peer marketplaces—we just get to improve on it.”

An improvement to that system came in February when they decided to leave their peer-to-peer model and approach it from the merchant perspective. Storefronts were born, and similar to Etsy and Shopify, they allow businesses to successfully market their products to customers, receive orders and confirm details.

Fishback says this was a difficult decision, but necessary based on the metrics of their original marketplace. He says that being a startup comes with uncertainty from the market saying, “If you don’t know if there are any fish in the pond, or what kind of fish are there, why would you fish?” Their new model establishes the sellers and on average their sellers are making between $1,500 and $2,000 per month, with some reaching between $6,000 and $7,000 each month.

So how can Zaarly help your business? Here in Maine, we are lucky to have an abundance of ‘Mom and Pop’ stores that not only exist, but are doing exceedingly well. We also have a variety of downtown alliances and organizations that are all about promoting local businesses, farmer’s markets and more.

Zaarly helps connect these businesses and people, promoting local prosperity. They are currently represented in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Kansas City and Los Angeles, and are always looking to expand their markets.

Check out Zaarly and sign up for a free account today. If you’re looking for great ideas for your business then I suggest you follow their awesome founders on Twitter @ianhunter, @bowman, @erickoester.

 

Contributed by Erika Bush