Tuesday, March 2, 2010

P is for Public Relations

Salvatore Vuono | Free Digital Photos Dot NetThe old vanilla ways of mass communication marketing are quickly losing their effectiveness in today's financially cautious economy. Now, everyone wants the personal experience and direct communication that has become available with social media like Facebook, Twitter, and interactive business blogs.

Public relation campaigns are finally turning away from mass message advertising and toward public relationships again. There are two ways you can approach any relationship: actively or passively. Social media is the new age way of fostering active relationships with your affiliates and target market. Social media isn’t supposed to sell, it is supposed to influence.

Social, A.K.A. Word of Mouth, Marketing

Since becoming a web presence consultant for small businesses, I have conducted hundreds of case studies and developed marketing strategies with and without social media. The companies that integrated social mediums into their plan began getting results almost twice as fast as those with a comparable investment of a website with an SEO and SEM only strategy.

Our social network profiles and integration with web 2.0 have a much broader potential reach (at an insanely more affordable price) than that of television and radio combined. Websites are instantly available to the 1,596,270,108 people in this world who access the internet. Of course, social media is catching on quite rapidly, as well.

Social media encourages businesses to be:
  • transparent,
  • consistent,
  • and genuinely caring to their customers and clients.
As a business owner, you learn to listen in a whole new way.

There are so many ways to advertise and establish your business brands. Some companies use tactics like catchy (maybe a bit annoying) jingles, some really attempt to make a connection with their audience (people don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care, right?), and some are thought provoking and witty as if they want to guilt you into buying their product/service. Personally, I prefer the ones that really speak an encouraging message, although the funny ones are fun, too. :)

"Old-Fashioned" PR isn't Dead. . .Yet

Effective advertisement builds up, tears down, or educates. Here are two examples of mass communication via television and radio that I want to share that are good examples of my favorite types of advertising.

Advertisement Message 1:

We Care About Your Community

The first is an Allstate Insurance commercial called "Back to the Basics".

Advertisement Message 2:

We Care About You

I also want to mention a CVS commercial which I am sad to say I have no media file for.
    Here's the basic message:
  1. Starts with a Minute Clinic nurse helping a mom take care of her son's illness.
  2. Mom goes home and gets a checkup call from the nurse.
    • The mom says, "Thanks for the follow up."
    • The nurse says, "We call that following through."

  3. This left me with a good mental image of a health care provider that really cared about her patient. This was exactly what CVS was hoping for, right?
We want to give our customers that fuzzy feeling of comfort and understanding! More specifically, when working as a virtual assistant, you want your client to be a priority and more than satisfied with your work. It will keep them coming back.

Look at Publicity the Right Way

In the internet business everything is public. Don’t just say, "I can't" because you inadvertently burn bridges. You can always ask your new found business connections on LinkedIN or ask.com, questions about how to work through almost any situation.

The more you learn about your niche business and build complimentary skills, the better you will be able to meet your clients' needs efficiently. Remember, how you work on public relations and your reputation, is directly related to your influence and reach.

Read other people’s blogs and then leave them genuine comments. You know how it feels when someone takes the time to comment about something you wrote or did online. It's the same with everyone.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

O is for Organization

I wish I could offer you better advice on staying organized. Fortunately, I can do a lot of the technical stuff, but when it comes to virtual organization, I knew I had to call in the most organized virtual office professional I know. The following article has been written by Jenny, Virtual Assistant and an expert of organizing and re-organizing your virtual workspace. This is her rewrite of my "O for Organization":

Keep It Simple Sally (K.I.S.S.) This is the best advice I can give anyone. Here’s the thing about technology, some tools and processes work great for some and just add complexity for others. You have to keep your tasks, contacts, calendar, emails and your documentation in places that are easy to get to. You don’t want to save information in multiple places because that will just bog down your computer. It’s a good idea to use a web based e-mail program at first if you have a computer that is really old or unreliable. A few good ones are Gmail or Yahoo. Both are pretty reliable. It’s basically your preference, but whichever web-based e-mail program you choose, you should ask yourself the following questions first to ensure you have the right program in place:

1. Does the program have the capacity to group your contacts?

2. Can you save your important emails into separate folders or labels?

3. Do you have the capabilities of saving important documents that have been sent to you?

4. Does your program have a place to store your tasks? Does it show percentage complete or completed tasks?

5. Can you sync your emails, contacts, etc. to your phone?

6. Does your program have the capabilities of sharing calendars, if necessary?

As your business grows or you outgrow your web-based email, you may want to consider switching to Outlook. This program has great capabilities and can sync all information to your phone, if necessary. It can even create groups within groups for you!

Whatever you decide, make sure to K.I.S.S.! This is especially important for all of you Post-It Queens and Kings! You need to clean out your inbox, tasks, unnecessary emails and contacts, AT LEAST once a week, if not every other week. If it’s easier for you, set up a recurring reminder on your calendar if you need to. And don’t worry, it will become easier the more you get in the habit, I promise!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

N is for Never

Never forget where you came from.
It's people like Gary Vaynerchuk who stay relate-able and exciting that also stay successful.

Never give up.
Gary embraces his humble beginning and acknowledges that there really is no "easy" way to become and remain successful in our fast paced world.

Never miss out on an opportunity
because you are afraid of the word "NO".
The word "No" is a tricky one to use; knowing when you are supposed to say it and knowing how to handle it when it is said to you. Do not let doubt get in the way of your awesome message. (Make sure you have one.)

Never stop learning.
In the virtual business world, once you get to the point to where you are set in your ways - it's sad to say, but you might be replaced by the newest “upgrade”. Human beings are the most complex creatures with an incredible ability to adapt to our environment…if we choose to.

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