SHIFT Agency PR Blog and PR News

04 Aug 2015

Top 10 Guidelines For Social Media Participation

social-media-icons

Below are guidelines that we drafted a while ago, refreshed for use for anyone who finds their way to them here on our blog. Feel free to repurpose and substitute your company name below and tweak as you see fit to fit your company’s guidelines. All we ask is that if you find it helpful to reach out and let us know!

These guidelines apply to (COMPANY) employees or contractors who create or contribute to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of Social Media. Whether you log into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Medium; or comment on online media stories — these guidelines are for you.

While all (COMPANY) employees are welcome to participate in Social Media, we expect everyone who participates in online commentary to understand and to follow these simple but important guidelines. These rules might sound strict and contain a bit of legal-sounding jargon but please keep in mind that our overall goal is simple: to participate online in a respectful, relevant way that protects our reputation and of course follows the letter and spirit of the law.

1. Be transparent and state that you work at (COMPANY). Your honesty will be noted in the Social Media environment. If you are writing about (COMPANY) or a competitor, use your real name, identify that you work for (COMPANY), and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so.

2. Never represent yourself or (COMPANY) in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading; all claims must be substantiated.

3. Post meaningful, respectful comments — in other words, please, no spam and no remarks that are off-topic or offensive.

4. Use common sense and common courtesy: for example, it’s best to ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to (COMPANY). Make sure your efforts to be transparent don’t violate (COMPANY)’s privacy, confidentiality, and legal guidelines for external commercial speech.

5. Stick to your area of expertise and do feel free to provide unique, individual perspectives on non-confidential activities at (COMPANY).

6. When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly: feel free to ask managers for advice and/or to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on (COMPANY).

7. If you want to write about the competition, make sure you behave diplomatically, have the facts straight and that you have the appropriate permissions.

8. Never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties (COMPANY) may be in litigation with.

9. Never participate in Social Media when the topic being discussed may be considered a crisis situation. Even anonymous comments may be traced back to your or (COMPANY)’s IP address. Refer all social media activity around crisis topics to Legal Affairs.

10. Be smart about protecting yourself, your privacy, and (COMPANY)’s confidential information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully. Google has a long memory.

NOTE: Mainstream media inquiries must be referred to the Director of Public Relations.

Todd Defren
CEO

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03 Aug 2015

How to Choose a PR Strategy, Part 2 of 6: Traditional environment

Strategy is one of the most abused, misused words in the entire lexicon of business. Ask 100 executives what strategy means and you’ll get 150 different answers. In this six-part series, we’ll look at how to choose a PR strategy based on visible, measurable criteria and a meta-strategic framework. Today, we’ll examine the traditional PR environment.

Recall that our framework for choosing a PR strategy is based on three dimensions: pace, power (resources), and voice.

How to choose a PR strategy

The traditional PR environment, the one that most companies default to, is defined by slow pace and weak voice. In this environment, change doesn’t happen quickly. Companies in the traditional environment face a communications environment that is relatively fixed, and winning is a balancing act of voice and power. The more power you have, the stronger your voice can be in a very crowded environment. The traditional environment is also effectively a zero-sum game when it comes to voice; because of the crowd, for you to gain voice, someone else must lose theirs.

What are some examples of a traditional environment? Consider the fast food industry. Name five fast food brands in your head. Chances are that you came up with McDonald’s*, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, and struggled for a fifth (probably KFC or Arby’s, depending on where you live). This is an industry that is exceptionally traditional; voice is determined largely by power, and significant disruptions are rare. Another example of a traditional environment is the telecommunications industry. Name five mobile providers in your head. Chances are you’ll struggle for that fifth provider as well.

How To Choose Traditional Strategy

In a traditional environment, power defines whether you win or lose. The more power you have – money, people, time, etc. – the more likely it is you’ll win. Success begets success – the more resources you can bring to bear, the more share of voice (and thus eventually customers) you’ll attain, giving you more revenue to re-invest.

What strategies fit well with a traditional environment? Brand-building strategies such as social media awareness campaigns, large-scale advertising, press tours, and national/top-tier publication outreach work best in a traditional environment. The more visible you are, the better, but because you’re competing on power, expect to invest top dollar budgets to win.

Because of its slow pace and power-begets-power nature, traditional environments also benefit from an incremental approach, where every small victory builds momentum. Your PR strategy likely will not be able to go for national publications/top influencers out of the gate. You’ll instead need to earn small victories in local publications or niches, then use those victories as leverage to get to the next tier of publications. As your story grows in recognition, you will be able to land bigger and bigger placements until you can compete for the top tier.

Where You’ll Go Wrong

With a traditional environment, there are no shortcuts. You can either buy your way to success with massive advertising budgets, or work your way to success through leveraging media opportunities over time. There aren’t many alternatives because power is the defining characteristic of the traditional environment. Attempting to shortcut the process by either demanding top-tier coverage immediately or insisting on spending like a pauper but being treated like a king will result in failure to achieve your goals.

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at the opposite of a stable, structured environment: chaos.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

* McDonald’s is a client of SHIFT Communications.

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31 Jul 2015

Want to Repeat that Awesome Broadcast Hit? Here’s What NOT to Do.

Get that next broadcast hit!

(Caution: This post contains lots of hockey references – apologies to non-sports fans)

For many clients, broadcast coverage is the pinnacle of our PR efforts. For PR pros that means racking our brains for every possible angle to secure that valuable air time – both local and national. While I’m sure every pitch has a unique and interesting story to tell (at least I hope they do), the odds of success are just so small considering the strong competition you’re going up against every day.

This got me thinking about a conversation I had with one of my colleagues. We both share a love of hockey — and also a hatred for each other’s favorite teams. After the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six years this past season, she said something along the lines of, “it’s really amazing because it’s just so hard to win one, let alone three.” That phrase pretty much encapsulates the process of pitching your clients for broadcast.

Securing that big broadcast interview is enough to make you want to do laps around the office, albeit without holding a shiny trophy over your head. However, while the euphoria lasts for a couple days or even weeks, pretty soon another client is looking for that broadcast coverage and you’re back to Round One of the playoffs, slugging it out with every other PR pro who’s pitching a client with a timely news hook or interesting feature story.

Fortunately, you should have an ace up your sleeve that gives you an advantage over the competition, and that’s your experience of having been to the promised land before and building that relationship with the producer. However, even if you’ve provided an awesome segment, there are several ways for you to ruin your attempt at repeat success. Here are five easy but very important things not to do in order to keep your odds of success high.

Don’t ask for questions ahead of time – You may think this is an easy request to help your client, but if you’re the one who pitched the story you should be able to anticipate any and all questions. Also, any good producer will tell you it’s not a good idea because your client can get thrown off if the anchor goes off script – and trust me this will happen. The most important thing you can do is to help guide those questions by providing the producer with the talking points you think are relevant.

Obviously, if a producer reaches out to you to have your client on the air, then it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them for talking points, but I’d still recommend against asking for exact questions.

Don’t be late or cancel last second – This may seem obvious, but I can’t stress it enough. Stress with your client that this is the most important interview or appearance they’ll ever do. But, if you think there’s any chance of a possible cancellation, let the producer know as soon as possible! The closer you get to show time, the tougher it becomes for a producer to fill that block of time. Even arriving five minutes late can cause massive problems in the control room as producers scramble to re-arrange the show to ensure they’re hitting proper break and commercial times. Always ask the producer what time they’d like your client to be there, and then tell your client 15-30 minutes earlier than that.

Don’t send a client unprepared – This happens more often than you think. Producers dread playing up an interview to an anchor, only to have the guest respond to questions on air with short one liners and a bunch of answers that begin with “I’m not sure.” What you may think is the most interesting aspect of your client’s story, might not be as interesting to the anchor. To ensure ultimate preparation, spend at least a half hour in person or on the phone with your client, asking any and all questions that you think could come up. Don’t be afraid to get aggressive or address sensitive topics– five minutes of discomfort with your client is better than an on-air flop.

Don’t ask for a copy of the interview immediately after it airs – This is one that may not seem so obvious. For many stations, making a clean copy of the interview involves pulling an air tape and copying it over to DVD and requires the producer to involve other people. It’s just a hassle. Your best bet is to alert the producer ahead of time that you would like a copy, giving them time to record the segment as it’s airing.

Don’t follow up with another immediate pitch for another client — Finally, give the producer some time to breathe. Obviously it’s ok to follow up with a thank you e-mail and to ask how the producer and anchor thought it went, but don’t immediately go into a spiel for another client. It just comes across as a bit too desperate. Much like the hockey off-season gives Stanley Cup Champions the time to refresh for the next season’s battle, giving a producer some time to reflect on your (hopefully) successful segment, builds anticipation for the next time your name appears in their inbox.

Securing that first broadcast interview is only half the battle. I hope some of these tips help you in the ongoing quest to build and maintain those all-important broadcast relationships. Have any other tips for impressing broadcast producers? Feel free to share below!

Mike Kelly
Account Manager

31 Jul 2015

State of Social Media 2Q 2015: LinkedIn Resumes Its Dominance

LinkedIn, the dark horse of social networks, has consistently been a slow-but-steady growth play in the past, from revenue to marketing options. Let’s see how the dark horse raced in Q2.

Growth

LinkedIn continues its steady growth to 380 million users; since its divergence from Twitter in Q2 of 2014, LinkedIn has continued to outgrow Twitter and is near parity with Instagram’s audience size.

LinkedIn Growth

Revenue

After last quarter’s revenue stumble, which can be seen in both the overall Marketing Solutions revenue percentage change (below in green):

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Revenue

As well as the revenue per user percentage change (below in green):

LinkedIn Revenue Per User

LinkedIn appears to be back on solid ground. In the above two charts, revenue is not only back on track, but is once again above the trendline (the dotted blue line in the first chart).

Whenever a company runs into revenue troubles, the first option always taken is to grow more revenue as quickly as possible, which tends to change the focus of products, messaging, and service towards revenue driving. This focus can come at the expense of other initiatives or improved experiences. In the Q2 earnings call, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner made mention that they are investing more heavily in the overall user experience now, with solid financials behind them.

Looking Ahead: What Does This Mean For You?

For marketers, one of the interesting remarks was that standard display advertising was declining in effectiveness on LinkedIn properties. CFO Steve Sordello made mention that while Sponsored Updates remained strong, CPM-based display declined 30% year over year. LinkedIn is thus shifting more of its portfolio of marketing solutions away from straight display to native content marketing and its lead generation solution, Lead Accelerator.

What does this mean for us? If you’ve had display ads – either in LinkedIn’s built-in ad platform, or via an ad network/exchange – expect them to continue to decline in effectiveness and increase in cost. Of the many social media ad platforms, LinkedIn’s has traditionally been one of the most expensive on a CPM basis. Look for potentially newer options in native ad platforms and exchanges, if LinkedIn continues to make its inventory available to third parties.

Finally, in terms of overall revenue, LinkedIn’s advertising now only makes up 20% of the company’s overall revenue, which means that they don’t need to cater to the needs of marketers nearly as much as the ad-centric platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

What should you be doing on LinkedIn? Unlike other platforms that put advertising above everything else, LinkedIn still gives brands a chance to reach audiences organically, especially with the Pulse Publishing platform. If you haven’t already had some of your employees and influencers publishing content on your behalf in the platform, we recommend you give it a try.

LinkedIn’s newest product, Elevate (an employee-centric content sharing system), is showing early promise to the select few big companies who can use it; if it continues to perform well, marketers at companies of all sizes may get access to it. Having a bank of content already in place will position you ahead of competitors who will have to scramble for things to share when it becomes broadly available.

This concludes our Q2 State of Social Media report; if there are other publicly traded social media companies you’d like us to review in upcoming earnings cycles, let us know in the comments!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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30 Jul 2015

State of Social Media 2Q 2015: Facebook owns 1 out of every 5 smartphone minutes

We’ve often said that Facebook is the largest nation on the planet. Nowadays, Facebook practically is its own planet.

Planet Facebook

Consider this: the user base of Facebook according to their 2Q 2015 earnings is 1.49 billion people. The entire population of planet Earth was about the same in 1900.

Let’s dig into their results some more.

Audience Growth

As mentioned above: almost 1.5 billion people use Facebook monthly, and Facebook growth has leveled to about 3% quarter over quarter:

Facebook User Growth

Of that, almost 90% – 9 out of 10 people – use Facebook at least partly on a mobile device each month, as shown by the orange bars below:

FB Mobile vs All

In the conference call, COO Sheryl Sandberg remarked that 1 out of every 5 minutes spent on smartphones in the US was spent on Facebook. That’s an astonishing number. No other product or service attracts 20% of the attention of the national audience every single day that we know of.

In fact, of those who use a mobile device to access Facebook, nearly half use ONLY a mobile device to access Facebook, as shown by the red bars below:

Facebook Mobile Only

For half of Facebook’s users, your mobile marketing strategy is synonymous with your Facebook strategy.

Revenue

In what is becoming an unsurprising story, Facebook also grew its revenue significantly; below, every region showed 2Q revenue growth from advertising:

Facebook Revenue

In fact, Facebook’s revenue jumped 15.38% quarter over quarter, above its quarterly average of 11%.

Looking Forward: What Should You Do?

Facebook, stronger than ever, is the unquestioned leader in social networks. What have they got on tap that we as marketers and communicators must pay attention to? First, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook is on track to deliver Oculus VR in early 2016. If you haven’t already begun to experiment with virtual reality, 360 degree video, etc. then you have about a 6 month runway to get up to speed. Even if you don’t develop internal capabilities, now is the time to begin forging relationships with vendors and partners to have capabilities available for launch. You’ll want to examine development platforms like Unity to start.

Second, Facebook continues to push advancements in its advertising systems. COO Sheryl Sandberg talked about the expansion of carousel ads, dynamic product ads, and their new lead generation ads, as well as its conversion lift measurement system. The big announcement she had was that Instagram ad inventory was going to become more widely available to advertisers and third party partners. Look for Instagram to start popping up in your ad network exchanges and demand-side platforms in the future, which is great news for marketers who have paid media as part of their overall media strategy.

Finally and unsurprisingly, video remains central to Facebook’s strategy of engagement. Zuckerberg made mention that Pages are sharing 40% more videos since the beginning of 2015; the News Feed algorithm was also tweaked to favor video more prominently. Sandberg focused on the expansion and traction of video ads. If you haven’t tried out video ads on Facebook in addition to publishing your videos natively on the platform, get on that train before it’s completely left the station.

For marketers, this planet is Facebook’s. We just work here.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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29 Jul 2015

State of Social Media 2Q 2015: Twitter Users Plateau

The 140 character social network released its Q2 2015 earnings. Let’s take a look at where the bird has landed this quarter.

Growth

The story in the news is that growth is… lackluster:

Twitter User Growth

Twitter’s growth quarter over quarter was an anemic 0.66%, a gain of about 2 million users. This has caused quite a bit of consternation in the mainstream media; terms such as “turnaround” and comparisons to MySpace, Friendster, and Bebo have been alleged.

Mobile growth mirrors the overall user base:

Twitter Mobile Growth

Mobile users continue to comprise 80% of Twitter’s audience.

Should marketers be concerned with Twitter’s lack of growth? Perhaps, but that’s a determination marketers will need to make on an individual basis. Look in your web analytics at Twitter’s traffic over a multi-year period. Here’s an example:

GA_Twitter

In this particular instance, while Twitter’s overall membership may not have increased, Twitter’s ability to drive traffic to a desired web destination has improved substantially in very recent times.

Ad Revenue

After the cyclical first quarter fall, all social networks tend to see a bounce in Q2:

Twitter Revenue

Despite its user base growth challenges, Twitter notched its highest ad revenue per quarter yet. Of note in the earnings call details is that 88% of Twitter’s ad revenue comes from mobile ads, a testament not only to its user base composition, but also that advertisers have embraced mobile advertising through Twitter.

Investors remain unimpressed, however:

NYSE_TWTR__32_38_-4_18__-11_43___-_Twitter_Inc

Looking Ahead: What It Means For Marketing and PR

Given all of these announcements and details, what should you take away from Twitter’s earnings call?

First, expect advertising revenue and options to continue improving. Twitter’s recent alliance with the Google DoubleClick platform means that some advertisers will be able to manage their ad options through Google’s Doubleclick Bid Manager, helping get paid media synced up. The interim CEO made mention that the integration is not finalized, and so the benefits to marketers can’t be fully realized yet.

Second, Twitter made mention in this set of earnings notes that the TellApart acquisition includes retargeting and email marketing capabilities. If you haven’t already started using Tailored Audiences to leverage the email databases you have, you’ll want to add that as a marketing focus soon. Expect those capabilities to become more powerful. Additionally, the Whetlab integration for big data may already be reaping rewards; more to come in a future blog post on this!

Third and most importantly, Twitter’s big focus now needs to be about user acquisition in a meaningful way. As Twitter’s audience fortunes rise and fall, so do ours as marketers. If interim CEO Jack Dorsey does a great job of getting large scale user adoption, then we’ll benefit from increased reach. Twitter could end up being the insurance policy for social media marketers if Facebook completely takes the rug out from under our feet, from an organic reach perspective.

Should you change your Twitter strategy? If Twitter is working for you – look in your own analytics to make that determination – then by no means should you ditch the platform. If Twitter isn’t working for you, then examine some of the paid possibilities to reinforce your organic efforts. If, after a trial period, you still don’t see results comparable to other marketing channels, then consider reducing your investment of time and money in Twitter. That said, the bird still has wings.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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28 Jul 2015

It’s PR, Not ER: How To Stay Sane When Everything is Coming Undone

master time management = stay sane

If you’ve been doing PR long enough, you have had moments when your heart is pumping, your palms are sweating and you know that there is just way too much to do and not enough time to do it. The stress of multiple deadlines, competing priorities and never-ending fire drills is getting to you. You aren’t sleeping at night, instead waking up at 3 a.m. worrying about that important client meeting or deliverable. A single stressful day is one thing, but how do you avoid a week or more of feeling so overwhelmed? Trust me when I say that your manager needs you to suit up and show up; coping with stress is important to everyone in your life who relies on you.

Here’s the thing that I’ve learned (the hard way): fun doesn’t happen on its own. You need to schedule it, plan for it and make it a priority. It’s easy to get caught up in work and deadlines, but you’ll be a better PR pro, a better employee — heck a better person — if you get a handle on your time. When I make sure to schedule time to do something I love, I feel better about everything else. Why is that? Because if I don’t protect some time for me, the other things I could be doing (a client email, a team follow-up note, even those dishes in the sink!) have an insidious way of sucking up all your available time until you just fall into bed at the end of the day knowing you’ll have to do it all again tomorrow. You must fight against “task creep”; the things that make your life fun aren’t nearly as demanding as the annoying responsibilities in our lives. This is also true of long-term career goals. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of day-to-day tasks, but are you setting aside time to do the things that will take your career to the next level?

It’s important to put time on your calendar to do things like read that management book you’ve been wanting to dig into or attend that networking event that you know could open new doors. I’ve learned to take control of my calendar and say no to things that I don’t really need to be involved in to make sure that I have time to do the things are important to me. If it’s on my schedule, it’s more likely that I’ll really do it – whether it’s time to brainstorm for a client’s PR plan, dinner with a friend or going for a run.

Let’s start with the beginning of your day. Many of us start the day by immediately checking email. We want to know right away if there’s something important that needs attention. Nine times out of ten there is nothing that can’t wait until I get to the office – or at least out of the shower. And I never feel better after reading those messages – I’ve just started my day with negative inputs. Lately, I’ve been working on doing things differently. Take the first 30 minutes of your day to figure out what you want to accomplish. Control the first 30 minutes of your day – before all of the other responsibilities and people in your life start demanding your time and attention. Take the time to do things like:

  • Have a cup of coffee or tea
  • Exercise
  • Jot down what you are grateful for today
  • Write a note to someone you care about
  • Meditate

Then you can check your email! Trust me, it will all still be waiting for you. And sometimes if you’re really, really lucky, someone else already dealt with that tricky issue that popped up.

Choosing what you do and when you do it will have a remarkable impact on your productivity, your happiness and your satisfaction at work. Be aware of your choices and make them purposefully!

Cathy Summers
Vice President

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27 Jul 2015

How to Choose a PR Strategy: Part 1 of 6

Strategy is one of the most abused, misused words in the entire lexicon of business. Ask 100 executives what strategy means and you’ll get 150 different answers. In this six-part series, let’s look at how to choose a PR strategy based on visible, measurable criteria and a meta-strategic framework.

Before we begin, let’s be sure to define what a strategy is for the purposes of this series. Strategy is a coherent narrative of methods and decisions to achieve a goal. The key that differentiates strategy from simply flinging things at a wall to see what sticks is the phrase coherent narrative. Strategy is a story. In the same way that banging your head against the keyboard is unlikely to produce a masterpiece of historical fiction, simply trying things randomly is unlikely to produce a winning PR strategy.

Our framework for understanding how to choose PR strategy is based on three dimensions: pace, power, and voice.

How to choose a PR strategy

Pace refers to the pace of change, or how fast conditions are changing. In some industries, in some communications environments, pace of change is very slow. For example, the press release/news release hasn’t fundamentally changed since its introduction in 1906. In some spaces, such as digital marketing and social media, the pace of change is blindingly fast. The rules are uncertain at best; on any given day, you might show up for a game of tennis and end up playing on a basketball court. If you choose a strategy intended for a slow pace and work in a fast pace environment, things will end badly for you.

Power refers to your resources, such as time, money, and people. How little or much power you have greatly determines what you can and can’t do. A small business has significantly different resource constraints than a Fortune 10. Choosing a high power strategy with a low power budget will not work out.

Finally, voice refers to how crowded your communications landscape is, how much share of overall voice you have. In some communications environments, the landscape is relatively uncrowded. You may be able to shape the discussion or own the lion’s share of the conversation. In other environments, the landscape is beyond crowded and to even be heard is a feat of strength. Your approach for a weak voice environment must be different than your approach to a strong voice environment in order to be heard by the right people.

In the next post in this series, we’ll dig into our first of four strategic environments, the traditional environment. We’ll examine the pace and voice of the traditional environment, note power constraints, and then help you understand if you’re functioning in a traditional environment. Stay tuned!

How to Choose a PR Strategy

  • Introduction
  • Traditional environment
  • Chaotic environment
  • Leadership environment
  • Collaborative environment
  • Choosing the right environment

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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24 Jul 2015

The Five W’s of Social Media

Social Media

You’ve probably used the Five W’s before: Who, What, When, Where and Why. These are basic questions that should always be asked when gathering information. They are typically used in research, whether it is for journalism, police investigations, or that research paper you had to write sophomore year of college. They may be simple questions, but they constitute a formula for getting the complete story on a subject.

So how does this apply to social media? Simple: nowadays, social media is a necessary part of building a brand and an online audience. To create a successful and cohesive social media presence, you should ask the Five W’s.

WHO are you trying to reach?

Who is the audience for this page? Will it be geared specifically towards people who already use or are interested in your product/services? Is it for anyone in or interested in your industry? Once you know what the target audience will be, you can cater your posts to better engage and reach that audience.

WHAT is the purpose of this page?

This seems like an obvious question, but it’s an important one. What purpose does your page serve? Are you using it as a way to keep in touch with existing customers and build a community? Are you using social media as a way to increase your sales? Is it a resource for sharing industry knowledge? Make sure you know what the purpose of your page is, allowing you to maintain a consistent message.

WHEN will you be posting?

“When we remember to” is not a good answer. We recommended that companies maintain a consistent posting schedule. By setting a content schedule, you can ensure that social media is included in your daily routine.

WHERE is your content coming from?

There are many ways to post content on social media; text, photos, videos, articles, links, surveys; the list goes on and on. The list expands when you include the ability to share content generated by someone else. Determine if you want to share content only from or directly about your brand, or if you want to include relevant industry content. If you want to post outside content, figure out what ratio to maintain of content created in house and externally created content.

WHY should someone follow you?

This might be the most important question, and the most often overlooked. What is the main reason someone should follow you – what are they going to get out of it? On the inside looking out, you may think that everyone should follow your page! Every post should be getting thousands of interactions! Our product and services are amazing! And it’s not to say that they aren’t, but when building your social media presence and generating content for it, be sure to constantly ask yourself this: If you weren’t associated with the company, would you follow the page? Would you like or favorite that post? Would you recommend this page to friends and colleagues? If the answer is no, you might need to reevaluate.

Social media has developed into a major part of business strategy. The feeling of “it’s only Facebook” may still linger in the minds of some, but that attitude can mean leaving big opportunities on the table. Make sure you keep the Five W’s in mind when building your online presence to help make it the best it can be.

Angie Goldman
Marketing Analyst

23 Jul 2015

Permission Granted – Embrace Delegation.

Delegate

When a senior account executive (SAE) earns a promotion to account manager or account supervisor, a lot can change. After all, SAEs pride themselves on the amazing ability to perform – to expertly draft that release, to score that feature ink, or to craft that compelling storyline. There’s a lot of ownership of that task and the recognition for that job well done.

As a new manager, I get it; it can be a struggle to understand where you fit now. The move from “doer” to “guider” can be a struggle for some. That is, until the new AM learns and embraces delegation.

It’s so tempting for the former SAE to just tackle the task at hand – he or she already knows how to get it done and can often do it quickly; but over time, that just doesn’t scale. Management is the art of getting work done through others. The more you can teach, the smarter and more successful your team will be. There will be more you can do, together. Delegating is vital.

Is delegating new to you? Here are five tips to start you on the right track.

  • Consider assigning larger projects with more autonomy, rather than small assignments which can feel like you’re only willing to ‘part’ with the grunt work, or that your valued teammate is only capable of the grunt work. That’s not very motivating! By setting him or her up for success and giving a team member ownership of something, he or she is also gifted the self-motivation of wanting to achieve. You can use check-ins along the way to ensure things are on the right track, and then you become a resource for the things they don’t know how to do, vs. getting involved in what they can already do.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to determine when to ‘just do it’ and when to delegate (and then guide and train as needed). Most of the time, opt for delegating (and train as you need to). The more you can teach the team, the more valuable they become and the more they will recognize you trust them. Save your time for the review of that work – making it even better.
  • Acknowledge that delegating requires up-front effort. Yes it will take time – but it is SO worth it. Think back to the tasks you tackled earlier in your career. You only learned them because someone trusted you and guided you. And now you’re both better for it! Return the favor and pay it forward.
  • Be cautious not to take projects back after delegating them – to either complete them quickly or so as not to overwork your employee. Effective delegation can be effective development. Taking a project back can have a negative effect – letting the employee know you don’t think they can do as good a job on it, or it could set them up for further dependency on you. Instead, focus on frequent check-ins and feedback. That way you can course correct along the way, eliminating the need to take it back. Or for team members who honestly just need to work at getting more efficient, it will force them to do so (or raise a flag for on their current skill abilities/dedication).
  • Often new managers will share a concern: “If I’m delegating much of the team’s work – how is it that I contribute now?” “Where do I provide value?” I think you provide value in the coaching and creating a team who can do what you do – that’s tremendous value to you and your organization. It also means you’re prioritizing new things for you which makes your team and organization stronger.  Instead of saying ‘what have I produced today’ you can think about ‘how much more the TEAM has produced today’ because of your ability to delegate and train

What additional advice would you have for someone new to delegation? Share your ideas below! If you want to learn more about delegation on your own, I’d recommend the easy-to-read Harvard Business Review Book Delegating Work to Develop Your People. It’s a great primer.

Catherine Allen (@catherineallen)
Executive Vice President

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