Inspiration at the PR News Digital PR Summit!

Many small businesses are increasingly looking for a way to drive traffic and generate best in class results.  However, most small businesses, as entrepreneurial as they are, simply don’t have the time or money to put forth a comprehensive digital strategy.  While attending the PR News Digital PR Summit in NYC on October 16, industry experts shared some fantastic case studies on how to apply simple tactics to help small businesses drive much needed traffic to already developed social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.  Below are several tips for you to consider adding to your marketing communications plan: 

1)      Utilize Instant Focus Groups: Some of you may have budgeted for research to understand what your audience wants.  You can try SurveyMonkey, an online survey tool where you can send free surveys, polls, questionnaires, and more.  However, for those of you that don’t have the budget to account for this research there is another way!  Molly McKenna Jandrain, Director of PR for McDonalds’ USA explained how her team constantly uses social media to learn key insights from their customer audience.  This is especially important during product launches.  For example, they can learn if the product is too expensive, not well liked, changes needed to be made to products in specific regions, etc. 

2)      Get Your Message in Front of the Right Followers on Twitter:  Use hashtags based on keywords that are relevant to your target audience!  Write brief shareable tweets that fall below the 140-character limit, and use in-tweet photos, audio and video if possible! 

3)      Create a Content Marketing Mission:  Small business owners may not realize the competitive advantages of combining the power of content creation with social channel distribution.  Albe Zakes, Global VP, Communication at TerraCycle provided a fascinating presentation on how he helped the company with its triple bottom line via significant digital efforts.  His first tip:  Create a Content Marketing Mission!  Then post it, encourage those involved in the mission statement to pin it.  Finally, use the mission statement to decide what content you will and won’t create.

4)      Amplify Your Voice:  If content is king, then why do so many small businesses go unnoticed?  Often at trade shows I hear small business owners talking amongst their peers about larger industry issues and trends.  Yet, when I ask if they write about these issues they often tell me no, because that is not what their focus is on.  Small business owners need to allow their company to grow and define itself by becoming industry experts. They do this by getting out of their comfort zone into a large public arena and discussing these issues. I agree with Zakes when he mentioned, “…it can also unearth opportunities for interviews, Q+A’s and content sharing partnerships.”  Post it on your social media platforms, and incorporate video for a larger impact.

5)        Create Your Content Toolbox: Small business owners need to think about what kind of content they want in their toolbox.  It’s important for small businesses to understand how they can re-purpose content they’ve used previously via different social media vehicles.  Here are several tools of the trade and tips to consider, in addition to your already existing marketing materials (website, brochures, FAQ sheets, etc.) 

  • Create and utilize third-party- bloggers
  • White Papers
  • Facebook Games
  • Newsletters
  • “Throwback Thursday”
  • Infographics
  • Utilize Video/Photographs
  • Create Mobile Applications
  • Essay/Photo/Video Contests Via Social Media Platforms
  • Create & Share #’s YOU Develop
  • Use Twitter to Cross Promote with Partners
  • Cultivate Brand Ambassadors You Find on Twitter/Facebook/etc.
  • Repost ICYMI Tweet (In Case You Missed It)

Please feel free to repost, comment or tweet me with your thoughts on how small businesses can create or enhance their digital strategy!  

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