Research

Research your industry, target audience, current customers through deep research into the local market, ally groups and competition; anything you can learn through the business association, university or by company-sponsored research will be valuable in launching the company

Marketing Plan

Create a tactical marketing plan Include: summary and introduction, marketing objectives, situation analysis, target markets, strategies, tracking and evaluation

Strategy

Create a long-term strategy that can absorb changes such as growth and competition. Your market will change. What possible changes will come up and what will you have in place to address them? Perform a SWOT analysis for current business and future scenarios.

Brand Investment

Continually invest in the brand. As a sole proprietor, time will be the biggest issue. How will you ensure that building the brand stays at the top of the priority list? A full-time marketing employee is expensive, but someone needs to care only about marketing every day. This is an area where multiple hats make a hot mess.

PESO

No, not the change you get in Mexico. PESO is an acronym used by marketers to describe a strategic approach to engagement. This approach takes into consideration all of the types of content, communication and engagement that a brand can use to reach an audience and divides them into easy to understand types, helping the brand manager to utilize a variety of tools and tactics to increase engagement. The PESO model ensures successful social media marketing and engagement, easily organized into 4 distinct categories of content: Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned.

Paid

Search results that are purchased by the company are always going to be a factor in promotion and paid search optimization is essential for driving website traffic and supporting visibility on social networking sites.

Earned

Media* coverage that is generated by editorial interest only, not sponsorship or advertising. This is developed through traditional media relations and social media or can happen organically as journalists begin to gain interest in the product/topic. *Media being major news outlets, blogs, or websites.

Shared

Shareable content from a variety of sources such as blogs, product reviews, industry publications, videos, and news stories are the shared aspects of your brand’s communication plan. Connecting within your industry, sharing expert opinions, and developing content from the environment that you work in. This will be from other sources, so an investment of time is needed to read and follow the appropriate individuals, associates or news outlets.

Owned

The shareable and searchable content that is created by the company for online consumption – generally with a focus on engaging via social media – is your owned content. This is your blog, your social media posts and any other digital content you produce, including videos, podcasts, and webinars.

Why Go Social?

  • Social media can expand your business
  • Social media can cover locations and niche markets that a website won’t reach
  • Give a personal touch to your marketing
  • You can monitor your brand and your industry
  • Create content for your brand

Be a Social Success

We could write an entire book on how to be successful in social media. At the end of this chapter, you will find The PR Method, an easy to follow a process for integrating social marketing into any professional career or business. Social marketing is both complex and simple. There are a few pieces of advice that apply to everyone:

  • Set goals and develop a plan
  • Commit to constantly learning, as social sites are constantly evolving
  • Be aware and conscious of your time as a valuable resource
  • Mind your manners and do not adopt a spam attitude
  • Understand the difference between sites and post/interact accordingly

Recommended Social Media:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Why Twitter?

Twitter is considered a “micro-blogging” site. Using a series of posts, a user “tweets” to their “followers” 140 characters of text. You can use links, attach photos and “mention” other people in your tweets. This happens in what is considered “real time,” so therefore it is very time sensitive. Meaning, you will not be successful on Twitter if you post once per month, or even once per week. People who are active on twitter have a constant stream of information coming and going. Businesses can now buy or pay for “promoted tweets” which has not yet been established as a significant marketing tool.

  • Twitter is for those who wish to be active on social media on a daily basis. If you shy away from or are too busy to use your phone as your main source of communication, then Twitter may not be right for you. If you have a marketing staff, then delegating the management of the Twitter account would be wise.

Why Facebook?

Facebook is the premier social networking site. The one that started it all in some regards. What started as a personal sharing site, has turned into a huge marketing vehicle for businesses. For relatively low costs (compared to print or television advertising) you can connect with customers and businesses all over the world essentially for free. While there is a significant time commitment and a few resources that would be beneficial, a computer savvy entrepreneur can conduct vast marketing campaigns for a few dollars. Facebook is changing all of the time and there are many tools that have to be fully understood: Pages, Groups, and personal Profiles. Businesses interact differently than people on Facebook, so it is imperative that you understand the differences.

  • Tip: Facebook is user-friendly and so convenient that if you only select one social media outlet, this should be the one. I recommend both a personal profile and a company page – do not make your personal profile your company name. Once you understand the tools available, you will want to have a company page to connect with customers and advertise. Facebook makes it easy to manage all of this from one account.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the premier professional networking site. It is essentially an online Rolodex and resume service, but with all of the social sharing tools that we have come to expect. Once you have your profile (summary of your work history) set up you can connect with others that you know via email or through the site. It is fairly strictly monitored so that you are really only connecting with those that you know (versus Facebook or Twitter which do not track these at all.) Using Groups you can connect with broad or niche professional groups. Once “connected” you are free to share updates or news with your connections. These can be set to be viewed by the general public or just by your professional connections. You can add feeds from Twitter and incorporate blogs, slides, projects and other professional information from outside sources.

  • LinkedIn is for connecting with your peers or potential clients on a professional level. Consider it the online version of an industry conference. Show up prepared to network, not necessarily to sell a product. This is where you can discuss trends in your market, learn from others and provide great client service to your vendors and associates. Many people find jobs on LinkedIn, so this is where your peers are expecting to see your professional best, not personal, best.

Why Instagram?

Instagram is a photo sharing social media site where people follow each other to view photos. You cannot just post text, there has to be an image, so Instagram is super visual. Advertising is now allowed on the platform, but for the individual or freelancer, it is best to start with an account and build a list of followers. For Instagram to be successful you need to be able to and feel comfortable taking lots of photos. Everyone does this from their phone and posts as life happens in real time.

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest is also a photo sharing social media site where people follow each other and view photos or pins (like you pin a photo of something you like on your bulletin board). You cannot just post text, there has to be an image, so Pinterest is super visual. The difference is that you can have boards, so you post and collect pins by topics. Advertising is now allowed on the platform, but for the individual or freelancer, it is best to start with an account and build a list of followers for each board. For Pinterest to be successful you need to spend time looking through other pins (photos) and sharing or saving those. It is much easier to rely on others for pins, so this easily falls into the shared PESO category.

Your Website Blog

Blogs are still a very useful publicity tool. There are many free formats or options for integrating a blog into a website. A blog is where you can easily accessible content that is owned by the brand. You write blog posts and share them via your social network. Most blogs also have an email sign-up options, so it is still a very effective marketing tool. You can tailor content specifically for those who have signed up. Like social media, blog writing takes persistence. A blog is where you can dive into a longer form a writing and tell a complex story. Your objective with a blog is to create compelling online content and relevant links to share. This is also a destination where contacts or influencers can discuss your thoughts on key topics where you hold ultimate control.

Blogging

  • Weekly is ideal to build momentum; less frequently will show little or no results.
  • For every post expect at least three hours of social media time to promote.
  • Blogs that create conversations, not just makes statements, are the ones that see comments and a high level of sharing.
  • Create a calendar of topics for a baseline number of blogs, then supplement with relevant timely posts
  • Plan to read and respond to approximately 10 similar bloggers per week in order to build rapport

Blog Process:

  • Write and edit the blog text
  • Post within blogging platform
  • Set distribution & sharing
  • Post to blog

Sharing Process:

  • Set blog to automatically post in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (if applicable) and Pinterest (or manually post blog with link in each account)
  • Post to groups in LinkedIn
  • Share with LinkedIn contacts
  • Share with Facebook contacts
  • Share with 3 key influencers on Twitter
  • Email link to key contacts

Commenting Process

  • Create/respond to conversations on the same topic and insert blog link
  • Respond to those who comment on the post
  • Ask follow up questions and note responses by posting references to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (if applicable) and Pinterest.

Want details? Read through the steps of The PR Method here:

Branding Basics

PR Tactics

Media Relations

Social Success

Blogging Basics

PR Prognosis

The PR Formula

For questions about The PR Method please contact me here or email me at julia@zgrouppr.com.