PR pro Heather Whaling gives three easy ways biz owners can boost their SM presence and connect with local media.
Not long ago Moxie spoke with PR pro Heather Whaling of Geben Communications. In addition to learning about how she started and grew her successful PR biz in the middle of a recession, she offered a few gold nuggets of advice for small businesses. Whaling said one of the biggest mistakes businesses make is underestimating the time it takes to build a good public relations campaign.
“With [digital campaigns] the tools are free, but the resources, your time isn’t,” Whaling said. “When deciding whether to hire a professional [pr firm] owners should consider whether they are making best use of their time. Some people are natural communicators and do well. Others, it may be a better use of their time to work on product development. That’s when you should consider bringing someone on board.”
For businesses who want to want to tackle social media in-house, Whaling suggests a couple easy things every moxie woman can do right now to boost their social media presence:
1. Create searches.
Within the Twitter website and through social media management applications (i.e. Tweetdeck, Hootsuite) users can create searches of the entire ‘Twitterverse’ for specific words and phrases and of course their company name. These searches give entrepreneurs an opportunity to find people who are talking about their industry and connect.
2. Consider an ad buy on Facebook.
An easy way to get more fans to your Facebook page is of course inviting people you know and by placing your FB logo is a prominent place on your website. Another tip to boost your numbers (and leads) is buying an ad space on Facebook. Did you know you can place an ad for as little as $5? Facebook ads are easy to create and monitor. Business owners set the demographics of their target customer, set how much money they want to spend and for how long.
3. Connect offline.
Local businesses should move their social media connections into the real world to solidify relationships and boost their SM presence. Whaling suggested that restaurants invite a few local food bloggers and customers to a special dinner where they can try out the menu and speak directly with the owner. While there, users would tweet, post on Facebook and even blog about their experience.
And what about the media? How do business get the media interested in what they are doing? Whaling suggested business owners use the ‘Lists’ tool on Twitter to create a list of all media in the area. Following them on Twitter is an opportunity to establish a relationship with them and having a good relationship makes it more likely they will be responsive to a story pitch.
Knowing where your customers are is key to a successful PR campaign Whaling said.
“A running joke among public relations is every client says, “I wanna be on Oprah or in the Wall St. Journal,” Whaling said. “Not only is not realistic in a lot of cases, but those places may not be the best places to find your customers. Figure out where your customers are and reach them there.”
Share your story. Have you taken your social media relationships offline?