HOW TO: Mobilize Viral Swarms via Network Mapping

Relationships are the heart of many successful social media outreach efforts. They help fuel viral success (second only to exceptional content) and serve as a catalyst for self-organizing online swarms. You need to be able to visualize connections and influence, however, before you can strategically leverage relationships to reach and inspire target audiences. That's where network mapping comes in. Depending on your objectives, you can map social media … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Craft Calls to Action that Overcome Barriers

Why would people ignore your call to action even when you effectively grabbed  their attention and engaged them emotionally? Most often, your messaging failed to provide solutions to barriers stopping them from taking action. There are six common barriers to action: 1. Hard. Your call to action must be perceived as easy to do—either immediately (e.g., "give $15 now without leaving Facebook" versus making people click off to another site to support your … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Unleash the ‘Crowd’ to Create Change

A Communications 301 rule of thumb is "information alone doesn't change behavior." You might have brilliant left-brained arguments about why people should do something, but if you don't touch them emotionally, they won't be swayed. O.K., maybe they'll give you a thumbs up, but they won't act. Raising awareness is only effective in changing behavior when you have the time and resources to reach the saturation point of "everybody knows that everybody knows that … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Engage Bonafide Critics vs. Feed the ‘Trolls’

"What if somebody says something bad about us?" is a common concern stopping some institutions from using social media. After all, as the old saying goes: "You can please some of the people all of the time. You can please all of the people some of the time. But you can't please all of the people all of the time." Whether you are participating in social media or not, however, these networks are giving a megaphone to all the people who are not pleased with you, at … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Reach Your Audience with Text Messages

Sending a text message is almost the only way you can be sure your target audience actually reads your message. An amazing 97 percent of mobile subscribers will read an SMS message within four minutes of receipt. But only 20 percent of listserv e-mails, depending on your industry, are ever opened at all. Here are six steps organizations of any size can use to add text messages to their communications mix: 1. Choose a text message delivery system. While there … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Fearlessly Start a Blog in 8 Easy Steps

Are you ready to start blogging to get your ideas out into the social media ecosystem? Or are you hesitating, afraid to get your feet wet? Here are eight steps to get comfortable—and your content carefully calibrated to your target audience—before you take the “publish” plunge. 1. Decide what to blog about. Choosing the right niche for your blog is perhaps the most important choice you can make before you actually start blogging. Search for a way to balance what … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Remove the Snooze from Your Company Blog

Once you get past the "should my company be blogging” hurdle, you need to ask yourself "what type of blog is right for my company?" Unfortunately, many companies forget that question and take starting a blog lightly. That sets them up for a blog full of regurgitated press releases with a high snooze factor and little readers. To remove the snooze from your company blog, figure out what strategy (or strategies) will build the most rapport with your target … [Read more...]

Is Twitter King and the Press Release Obsolete?

Now that anyone can break a story through Twitter is the old-fashioned press release obsolete?  People have been predicting its demise for years, but I think the truth is much more complicated. As I wrote in my Are Blogs King and Press Releases Obsolete? post last year, today’s Web 2.0 world doesn't mean you should stop issuing press releases and replace them with announcements on your blog. Likewise, you shouldn't just start tweeting all your announcements. The … [Read more...]

HOW TO: 10 Ways to Engage ‘Luddites’ in Social Media

As more organizations decide to open up and join the Web 2.0 interaction revolution, some will flounder or even fail at it. Why? You need to get enough of your organization on board to really scale. Problems are inevitable if you can't inspire the technophobic "luddites" within your organization (Late Majority and Laggards on the Rogers Adoption Curve) to adapt. Distributing social media policies, mandating use of wikis or collaborative planning software, etc. … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Be a Good Twitter Citizen During a Crisis

In the wake of Japan's earthquake and tsunami disaster, a handful of pranksters elected to play on fears and launch hoax tweets, fooling thousands if not millions. Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the Pokemon, become a Trending Topic yesterday on Twitter after Twitter user @xCyrusAndLovato tweeted "The creator of Pokemon died today in the #tsunami, #Japan. RIP: Satoshi Tajiri. #prayforjapan." It turned out to be one of many online rumors, some more harmless than … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Top 10 Social Media Tips for Online Success

Today’s reality is that your organization needs to be on social media. You can no longer rely on issuing press releases and keeping your website up to date to get your message out. You must proactively lead conversations and participate in stories using Internet- and mobile-based social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube. To successfully start and maintain your social media presence, however, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. … [Read more...]

Replacing Silos with Hives: Creating a Social Culture

This week I ran across a Geoff Livingston post with a brilliant bee metaphor explaining how organizations need to create a social culture to exploit social media's full potential (readers of my blog know I love social media bee metaphors): "The basic nest architecture for all honey bees is similar: 'Honey is stored in the upper part of the comb; beneath it are rows of pollen-storage cells, worker-brood cells, and drone-brood cells, in that order. The peanut-shaped … [Read more...]

Super Shock! Non-Profit Client’s Domain Stolen

I was in for a shock last week when I visited the website of a non-profit whose website I recently redesigned in WordPress. Instead of seeing the non-profit’s website, I found a page full of ads reading at the top, “This page is parked free courtesy of [a different web hosting firm than the one the non-profit uses].” Using Network Solution’s WHOIS behind that domain? page, I discovered the non-profit’s domain registration information had been deleted, causing … [Read more...]

Do-It-Yourself Media Relations: 5 Easy Steps

Public relations is vital to building your company and promoting your brand. If you're a small business, non-profit, or start up, however, your budget might be too tight to hire a public relations firm to publicize your products and services to reporters and bloggers. Here are five easy steps for successful do-it-yourself media relations: 1. Create a Press Kit Every company should have a press kit: a hard-copy version, contained in an attractive folder, and an … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Arm a Press Release with Magic Magnets

A snappy, eye-catching headline used to be the most critical part of a press release back in the day when a press release was—shockingly—actually a release to the press. Now that the Web has allowed people to read press releases directly, even the cleverest headline is useless on a news release that doesn’t generate traffic. In today’s Web 2.0 world, the most important thing your press release and its headline needs is keywords. Keywords are what Publicity Expert … [Read more...]