Social Media Consumers More Likely to Buy, Recommend

For those skeptics who don’t believe that Social Media has a measurable impact:

According to a study conducted by research firms Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies, two-thirds (67%) of consumers who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy those brands after becoming a follower, and 51% of Facebook fans are more likely to buy after becoming a fan. Moreover, 79% of those who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to recommend those brands after following them, and 60% of Facebook fans say the same for Facebook.

Using Twitter effectively

Everyone talks about Twitter . . . but how do you turn from one more background noise to a tool that reaps results?

Here’s a great round up of companies that are using Twitter effectively.

If you haven’t already discovered this newsletter, Larry Chase’s Web Digest for Marketers, you should sign up as Larry Chase always has something interesting!

Best Twitter Feeds for Sales Lead Generation

You see a lot of “how-to” articles on ways to use Twitter for marketing. But, what is missing is a list of the best examples showing how Twitter actually is used to sell products and services.

From such a list, you can learn best practices to employ for your own Twitter feed.

Sr. Editor Janet Roberts reviewed over 500 feeds and came up with this list of finalists, written in Twitter style (more or less). First up are the B2C examples, followed by the B2B examples.


This mobile-app developer (78,000 followers) uses prolific and quirky tweets to announce and promote product launches and provide some customer support.

Denny’s (Dennys Allnightr)

Restaurant chain’s Allnightr feed caters to late-night dining with evening meal deals timed to launch when the munchies strike, plus regular menu promos.

Visit Chicago

Tourism bureau tweets a wide range of area attractions and events, especially the offbeat, plus tips and ticket deals for discovering Chicagoland.

Dell Outlet

With 1.6 million followers and $3 million in annual sales, Dell’s Twitter outlet is doing something right. It’s the model to follow for content and frequency.


The original limited-inventory, fast-expiry group coupon retailer now has a Twitter feed for each city it covers (70+, sampling Vegas here), each one tweeting a daily coupon special.

Wilton Cakes

Bakeware/cake-decorating manufacturer tweets daily product deals, tips, two-fers and trouble-shooting. Also cross-promotes to its Facebook fan page.

Synchronicity Theatre

Broadway, take note: Small but active Atlanta theatre group tweets last-minute deals to put fannies in seats, get noticed, raise funds and build its community profile.


High-end retailer tweets price-driven daily deals, celebrity visits, store events and fashion news/advice in a zippy, shopper-friendly tone.


Daily Tweets get sorted into “departments” (HBA, mp3 downloads, electronics, limited-time or “while supplies last” deals, etc.) but support mainly Web shopping, not printable coupons.


Cruises for under $50/day, half off at hip NYC boutique hotel, NYC to London for under $100/day. Travelzoo tweets hot deals like these plus travel advisories, tips and quips.

Darn those “bothersome” clients!

Recently I’ve been following a few threads on the LinkedIn, including one on sharing media lists with your clients.

I stated my opinion on that in an earlier post.

However, what’s struck me most about the ongoing discussion is the disparaging way that some of these practitioners talk about their clients.

This is the comment that really made me stop and go, wow.

I would not want my hard-earned relationships with my media friends “sullied” by bothersome clients.

I hope this woman’s clients don’t read that forum. They might not “bother” her with their business if they did. It makes me cringe for her.

Maybe I’m just especially lucky, but my clients are smart, savvy and accomplished. I can’t imagine they would do something so egregious that they would embarrass me and ruin my relationship with my media “friends.” I like to think of my relationships with clients as partnerships. We work together to accomplish a defined goal.

I also can’t imagine that my media contacts, many of whom I’ve known for decades, would shun me if a client where to call them and say something stupid. Sure, they might call me and poke fun, but they wouldn’t cut me off. Editors need us as much as we need them — today every newspaper and magazine is short staffed and if we bring them stories that are relevant and well written, they will always take our calls.

Really, we must remember that our clients are the people who pay our bills. We work on their behalf. That shouldn’t involve ridiculing them or making disparaging remarks. If a client really doesn’t appreciate your skills or talents then don’t work for them. But don’t make fun of them behind their backs.

PR is more than media relations.

To many people public relations = media relations, and that includes practitioners. We have PR professionals that guard their media lists like gold and are looking for ways to quantify the value of their “clips.” Yet, at the same time they want to establish that Public Relations encompasses a broader scope of activities.

Practitioners who want more need to focus on strategy rather than tactics. I have nothing against media relations, but it is just one way for companies to reach their publics with their messages. I think practitioners have fallen into this trap because it’s relatively easy to quantify. Look, they say, this press release ran in a gazillion small newspapers and was picked up on websites globally. That means that more than 8 gazillion eyeballs saw your message and that’s why you pay us the big bucks.

Ironically, current evidence points to a diminishing role for traditional media. Readership is down. Staffing is down. Increasingly magazines and newspapers are closing down their print presence in favor of online media and turning to citizen journalists for news and content. In light of these trends aligning your business with traditional media may well bring about the demise of your practice. Yes, there will always be practitioners who have the ear of the top journalists at the best publications, but as for the rest of us? Better to focus on more ways to communicate your client’s messages.

Increasingly I see opportunities for companies to contact their prospects and customers directly — enewsletters, websites, webinars, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all create ways to engage your customers in a dialogue and communicate your messages directly with the people  your client/company most wants to reach. Not only are these methods direct, they are also measurable. Everyone is feeling the pinch of hard economic times and it is essential that communicators can show how our efforts support the sales function.

Sure, moving into new areas will take time and education. You need to be able to show your client that these methods are effective. You may also need to explain to them that any activity that influences their target audience’s perception of their company is public relations, not just media relations. It will benefit everyone.

Does anyone take responsibility for their actions any more?

Last week I bought an item on eBay. When I received it, I discovered that the seller had mis-measured two of the dimensions. It was the wrong size.

I explained this to the seller and asked her to take it back. Her response was that she’d measured it carefully, that if she’d made a mistake it was a completely innocent one, and what did an inch matter? After all, I’d gotten a great deal. So what was I complaining about? Oh, and by the way, she sold the item for a friend and she can’t refund my money because she doesn’t have it.

There was no admission that she had made a mistake. That she was sorry. Or that she was willing to take responsibility for her action. I guess she never read the part on the eBay auction site which says that the seller is responsible for the listing.

It’s a trend that I find disturbing.

Here’s another more serious example.

I’m locked in a dispute with a web programmer who built a database driven web site for me. Although we had a fixed fee agreement at the end of the project he handed me a bill for more than twice the price I’d signed off on. This was not a small overage. It amounted to more than 100 hours of work at his billing rate. What was he thinking? I can’t even imagine turning in a final invoice to a client with that kind of overage especially when our agreement was for a set fee, not an hourly rate.

I took a look at the invoice. The major item was “trouble shoot search function.” Translation: he couldn’t figure out the programming and he wants me to pay for his learning curve. He took no responsibility for his own ineptitude. He never submitted a revised estimate or consulted me on how I wanted to handle the problem. In fact, most recently he’s threatened to sue me! His rationale appears to be that I paid him less than other bids I’d gotten for the project, therefore I got a bargain! Maybe if I’d hired one of the other firms I would have gotten a website that worked.

What happened to making an agreement and sticking to it? Am I aging myself to admit that’s how I do business?

Sharing media lists with clients.

One topic that I’ve seen discussed on PR forums repeatedly is whether or not you should share the media lists you develop for an account with your client.

For me, that’s been a moot point. In the past 25 years I’ve had clients ask me for their media lists a grand total of . . . never. If they wanted it, though, I would gladly hand it over. Why not? They paid for it. After all, it’s just a list. Anyone with a subscription to Bacon’s, Vocus, or MediaPro can create a list; there’s not a lot of magic there.

Many of the practitioners who say they would not hand over a list (and there are plenty) seem to feel justified because their contacts are “private”. I don’t buy that. What the client cannot do is immediately recreate your relationship with the journalists and editors that you have nurtured over time. A list, or a contact at a publication, does not guarantee a result. I hope that my clients hire me because of my ability to successfully place articles on the topics that are most important to them in the publications that reach the right audience.

I think that folks who don’t want to share their lists are worried that the client will take that information and try to “wing it” on their own. If that’s the case, they have a larger problem because their client does not perceive that they are adding value. In that situation, often the best choice is to hand over the list and move on!

Fun with Fonts

My type is Cooper Black Italic -- what about you?

As writers we look at fonts all day long . . . we probably each have our favorites. Or perhaps our font choice is dictated by our clients or employers.

I have one client who requires that everything be in Tahoma. One client who writes all his emails in Comic Sans MS in bold purple (channeling a little Harold and the Purple Crayon, perhaps?)

Recently I came across a clever quiz that assesses what “Type” you are based on your answer to four questions.

Check it out — it’s very funny!

And if that doesn’t tickle your funny bone, test your knowledge of two seemingly completely different things: cheese or font. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to tell which is which just from the names. Take Myzithra, for example, is it edible?

The 2009 Blogosphere – Who’s out there?

I’m a blogger. I’ve been blogging now for about 18 months on an almost daily basis. Not this blog, but rather my “hobby” blog, EquineInk.

I started blogging for fun. I wanted to write about topics that I find personally interesting. After decades of writing on assignment, that’s been enjoyable. But what I didn’t expect was how much I would learn about social networking, the power of Search Engine Optimization, and the power of such tools such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

When I launched my blog in March of 2008 I told no one about it. I wanted to see if the “If you write it, they will read” philosophy worked. The first few weeks I was lucky to get 3-4 views per day. That March I had a total of 114 views. The end of April, that had grown to 997 views. Today I get nearly 1,00o views per day. To what do I attribute my readership? Frequent content updates, topics that address the interests of my niche audience, and tapping into the SEO power of

How does my experience compare with others out there blogging? I looked at the 2009 Technorati report for comparison. Here’s where I fit in:

I am one of the 72% of respondents were Hobbyists who blog for fun. That’s me. We don’t make money by blogging, although it would nbe nice. We blog to express our “personal musings” (53%). We are pretty prolific as a group: 71% update at least weekly, while 22% update daily. I aim for 5 posts per week. Because 76% blog to speak their minds, their main success metric is personal satisfaction (76%). How true — the “stat” button on my dashboard would be worn down if it was real.

I am also one of the 15% of respondents who are Part-Timers. We are blog to supplement our income, but don’t consider it a full time job. 75% of us blog to share their expertise, while 72% blog to attract new clients for our businesses. Check, that’s me. Their business and personal motives for blogging are deeply entwined – while 61% say that they measure the success of their blog by the unique pageviews they attract, 60% say they also value personal satisfaction.

9% are Self-Employeds who”blog full time for their own company or organization.”  10%  report blogging 40 hours per week or more. 22% say that their blog is their company, while 70% say they own a company and blog about their business. Self-employeds also rank page views (63%) over personal satisfaction (53%) as a success metric, and 53% are blogging more than when they started. Finally, in a demographic (bloggers) awash with Twitter users, self-employeds are the Tweetiest of them all — 88% say they use the service.

4% are Pros. Who  “blog full-time for a company or organization” — though actually very few of them actually report spending a full 40 hours per week blogging. 46% are blogging more than they did when they started. 70% blog to share expertise; 53% blog to attract new clients for the business they work for. Accordingly, page views are the most important success metric for pros, valued by 69%, compared to 53% for personal satisfaction.

Technorati gives a profile of the typical blogger.

  • Two-thirds are male – Not true here. And, I’ve found that at least among equestrian bloggers, the majority are female. That’s certainly an accurate reflection of the riding demographic.
  • 60% are 18-44 – Nope, older than that. Many of the bloggers I read are also older than 44. It may just be that I’m not that interested in what the younger generation is writing about!
  • The majority are more affluent and educated than the general population – Probably true.
  • 75% have college degrees – Yup.
  • 40% have graduate degrees – No.
  • One in three has an annual household income of $75K+
  • One in four has an annual household income of $100K+
  • Professional and self-employed bloggers are more affluent: nearly half have an annual household income of $75,000 and one third topped the $100,000 level
  • More than half are married – Yes
  • More than half are parents – Yes
  • Half are employed full time, however ¾ of professional bloggers are employed full time.

What the report doesn’t talk about is how many communicators use their personal blogs as a way to experiment with the medium and learn how to more effectively use blogging to reach a targeted audience. Certainly what I’ve learned as a hobbyist blogger has made a huge impact into my use of blogging (and other social media) as a public relations professional. It’s changed the way I write and helped me better understand SEO techniques. In short, it’s made me a better practitioner.

Video is changing writing forever.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? It’s incalculable. YouTube and the plethora of video that it offers are changing the way that we communicate and I believe will profoundly influence the course of mass communications.

Take for example, the simple communication of instructions.

With video you essentially have a private tutorial with an infinitely patient teacher. You can watch the difficult parts over and over again until they make sense. And with YouTube, you have the opportunity to interact with that instructor through comments so you can get answers to your questions.

I’ve seen this play out in small ways. When my son got a new calculator — one that allows him to solve math problems that I’ve never even heard of — he didn’t read the instruction manual. Instead, he went to YouTube where he found a demonstration of the exact task that he wanted to perform. In less than five minutes he was completely empowered.

I use YouTube for its instructional properties as well. I’ve been teaching myself how to knit and crochet. When I need help with a technique or a stitch, it’s all there — in slow motion and high definition. Instructions that were indecipherable in their written format become clear and (frankly) obvious when shown in video.

How will that impact mass communications? In general, I believe people are reading less and that by using video to communicate thoughts, ideas and instructions, this trend further diminishes the impact of the written word.

That does not mean that our job as communicators is becoming obsolete; rather we must learn how to use video as an effective medium. People listen differently than they read. We need to understand that dynamic in order to create videos that use words and images together in a way that both educates and entertains. Writing isn’t going away. It’s just taking on a new form. One that is potentially even more powerful and influential.