Events Provide Great Exposure, Must Be Significant Part of Your Public Relations Plan

What can your small business do to create newsfeed worthy events?

Events must be a significant component in any small businesses public relations plan. When joined with social media companies and brands may earn (social) media placement. Target’s recent #SummerGlowSalon event in New York’s Flatiron Plaza created awareness and got thousands of social mentions. The brand made news and trended. By creating their own news, they went directly to their consumers.

A new report from Vocus observes,

Events provide an interesting context. While events are a traditional tactic, they continue to be extremely worthwhile endeavors for both traditional and digital PR professionals. Seventy nine percent of PR, marketing and advertising agencies and 58 percent of nonprofit respondents surveyed rated events as successful distribution channels.

People can rally around live events. Photos, discussions and speeches provide fodder for online communication. Hashtags allow attendees to follow conversations and trends, and let PR professionals measure impressions, engagement and reach. Follow-up emails turn attendees and stakeholders into  potential customers whose relationships can be nurtured through targeted and traditional marketing.

When planning social media worth events, consider your customers. Design the event to appeal to those who use social media. Create moments which have oomph for Instagram, re-tweetable quotes for Twitter and visually rich environments which compel guests to photograph and pin set-ups to Pinterest.

Have a specific goal or goals for the event. Identify the experience you want to create, the feelings you want attendees to experience, the stories you want them to take away.

Engage with your social media followers in the days leading up to your event to increase awareness of the event and the official hashtags. Remember when selecting your hashtags, you will want to be sure no one else is using that hashtag.

Consider delegating “reporter” duties to a staff member who can photograph, and capture content and to help make sure there is content streaming into newsfeeds.

Broadcast at the event by having screens with live feeds of event hashtags, photos and more. Services like Snapcastr allow you to bring everyone’s news feed into the event as an element.


The eyes have it—and experience events first

Don’t stint on your environment. Flowers, props and podiums will all find their way into the news feeds of attendees and their friends. Give them photo-worthy eventscapes to share. In Charleston, Mitchell Crosby of JMC Charleston worked with our public relations client Susan Hull Walker of  Ibu Movement to create a luxe pop-up shop which set exactly the right tone for Ibu’s astonishing wares and wearables (see photo above).

Be engaging, not boring

Limit traditionally boring things like speeches. Instead, think theater, creating moments which not only entertain, but transmit essential brand messages.

Ribbon cuttings and Grand Openings are an old-fashioned tactic that still get eyeballs, but amping them up with unique opening activities provides memorable experiences.

When planning an auto service company grand opening, we staged a classic car show on the company lot, bringing in many enthusiasts to see amazing cars. And of course, they learned the location of the business in the process.

Put your imagination to work and you may be amazed with the creative ways to bring attention to your brand you dream up.

Having trouble dreaming up interesting events? Call us, we’re here to brainstorm and plan. And we’ll help you assemble a team to stage an incredible event.

Corporate Apologies Must Be Sincere

So, you’re in the doghouse

When you were a kid, did you ever get angry? Of course you did. Did you ever do something to hurt someone when you were angry? Sure you did. Did your Mom make you apologize for it? Absolutely. What was the fastest way back into the doghouse? Apologizing without sincerity.

As a business, there will come a day and time when you disappoint someone. Or when you under-deliver after over-promising. You will need to make a sincere apology and to regain trust.

Corporate insincerity and apologies

Despite not being people, brands are run by fallible people who provide products and services to other people. So, it is obvious to me and others that brand apologies must be sincere, or risk additional complications by their equivocation. It seems that those who run corporations would have learned this same lesson at their parents’ knees too.

Saying you’re sorry

According to a Business Insider article authored by Joshua Brustein, corporate Twitter accounts apologize more than individual Twitter accounts. This is based on an analysis of 1183 apologies completed by Ruth Page and reported in “The Journal of Pragmatics.” Page analyzed both corporate and individual apologies and made observations about both.

Brustein notes that sincerity is missing from brands’ apologies,

Apologetic social-media messages from brands are often stilted and mealy-mouthed. Companies rarely restate what they’re apologizing for, which Page interpreted as a way to obscure the initial offense, and are likely to stop short of accepting blame. Companies often pointed out someone else who was at fault or used “adverbial constructions” to avoid taking full responsibility, bending their regret into strange sentences. (Incidentally, companies also used apologetic emoticons at one-fifth the rate of individuals, with frowny-faced 🙁 being the most popular choice by far.)

In place of sincerity, companies offered action. While only 10 percent of apologies from individuals included an offer to right the wrong, the study found that 30 percent of corporate apologies did so.

Accepting responsibility

If I hurt you, it’s expected that I offer soothing words and try to rectify the wrong, but regaining trust and respect come with acceptance of full responsibility for the injury.

Making an apology not only includes saying you’re sorry, but admitting that your judgment was flawed or your understanding of the consequences of your actions was short-sighted: that you hurt someone. You must demonstrate sympathy for those injured. You must not hedge your words. And you must provide evidence of how you will avoid all such future damage.

Preventing the need for apologies

Brustein continues his article by noting the volume of apologies issued by brands via Twitter might be due to the use of Twitter by consumers as a place to air customer grievances. However, he also observes that corporate Twitter accounts might just tweet more than they need to or make comments that invoke the need to apologize.

Corporations tend to spend so much time apologizing on social media because that’s where people go to complain. But the rate at which they seem to stir up trouble is also striking, and it’s pretty much because brands don’t know what they’re doing.

If you are engaging in social media and interacting with your brand’s customers, you may say something that is taken the wrong way. When you do, accept responsibility, apologize with appropriate actions and words and make them sincere.

And let’s hope that your customers, like humankind’s best friends, have short memories and are long on affection, accepting your admissions of guilt and remorse as well as your repairs.

If you find your firm in the doghouse because of something you said, did or failed to do, and which is now or could in the future create a crisis, call us. Our crisis communications and crisis management consultation may help you avoid future injuries.

Marketing and Public Relations Recommendations for Every Business

Business owners frequently ask what we recommend that they do to market and promote their business. While we cannot suggest strategy for your business without consultation, we can recommend the six tactics we outline here as critical to developing a strong presence and attracting new business.

Recommended Public Relations and Marketing Activities

Marketing and Public Relations Recommendations

  1. Add social media advertising to your plan—Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or LinkedIn, you must begin to allocate advertising dollars to promoting posts and your firm. Many people were lured into thinking that social media were free to use to promote their businesses. We have all discovered that free is not free. It takes time and energy. Changes to all social media channels have caused it to be increasingly difficult to stand out and connect. Now every platform allows you to use ad dollars to reach target customers. Don’t fight this. Just do it.
  2. Create a content marketing plan—If you are using your owned media channels to distribute content, you must have a coherent content marketing plan. Without a plan, you will drift into poor habits and unfocused posting and sharing. Focus on your core business and anchor customers.
  3. Create a content driven website that gets updated on a regular basis—If you have been too focused on your business this last year perhaps you missed the news that Google has drastically changed their algorithms in the last 18 months. Firms who need to be found are beating you in search results pages because they are using their website to author new, consumer / customer focused information which supports marketing and SEO goals. A content managed website allows you to easily add content to your website.
  4. Use email marketing to keep in contact with your customers—You can say thank you, share news about customers, congratulate them and at the same time, remind them of the solutions offered by your products. If you are smart, #2 and #3 above will be designed to work hand in glove with this initiative. E-mail marketing to current and past customers is a must-do. Not a want-to-do.
  5. Create a crisis communications response plan—Neglect this recommendation at your peril. Every business will face a crisis and you have no way of knowing when. Whether a disgruntled customer who takes to Twitter to vent or an employee who commits fraud or embezzles from your business. You are vulnerable. A crisis communication plan allows you to prepare in advance by understanding and evaluating the risks and threats. And it allows you to have first line responses composed and a plan of action. Don’t wake up one morning to find that you are being skewered in social media and you have no way of knowing in which direction to turn.
  6. Think and act like your customers—Of all the recommendations I have to make, this one is essential to your continued success and the success of all my other recommendations. If you get out of the self-promotional mindset, you will discover new perspectives. These new perspectives will help you do better work, offer better, more customer-centric products.

It is up to you to make sure your marketing fits your customer and supports your business goals. Don’t neglect doing something now that will win you new business in the future.