Archive for January, 2010

A Toast to New Years and Social Media

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

As a pr practitioner I truly believe in the power of public relations. It provides incredibly important, objective, third party endorsements, and, comparatively speaking, is the most cost effective segment of the marketing communications mix.  But it is not a panacea, and with many traditional media outlets disappearing or downsizing, it is more challenging than ever to place stories.

That is why social media is such a great complementary tool for pr consultants and their clients.  It is all about the exchange of ideas and provides a great platform for explanation and discussion. It can also garner amazing immediate, real time results. One of my favorite Twitter stories is of Lance Armstrong, who after completing a race in Ireland tweeted that if anyone was interested in a ride he’d meet up with them at a local park in three hours. 1000 people showed up to take a spin.

Another advantage that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter offer is a fresh and authentic avenue to promote events, sponsorships, contest and sweepstakes.  Let’s face it pushing a contest or sweepstakes is challenging.  It’s often hard to get much more play than a release posting in SNEWS or in the OR SHOW Daily if it’s a tradeshow event.  But with community-based sites it can get great play.  Vibram created a loud buzz for its Jackson Hole Sweepstakes with a dedicated website, weekly winner postings on their Facebook pages and RSS feeds and a few banner ads. They gathered 10,000 entries.
I’ve noticed a creative spin on promotions helps too.   Footwear Plus noted that Tony Zelaya of Zelaya Shoes in Bethesda, Maryland got great response when he offered 29 percent off everything in celebration of his son who was born on July 29th.

Blogs too have dramatically risen in stature as a target for pr consultants and every established media outlet has or is investing heavily in this portion of their offerings. It’s another interactive alternative that cannot be overlooked.
Many companies are realizing the versatility and cost effectiveness of a combination of public relations and online media.  Edelman at 6AM quoted a Booz Study where 41 percent of respondents said they planned to increase their pr spending.  As traditional advertising dollars decrease, dollars invested in digital and mobile communications and  pr are increasing.  That is good news for the New Year.