Firstly, I’ll fess up to taking a break from writing over the holidays. Pretty much dead air, I know. As much as one tries to stay inspired at this time of year, it’s hard to focus when every other email in my inbox is announcing a “one-day sale at XXXX.” But was that yesterday that the sale ended? Or is it today? Have I taken advantage of every possible opportunity to buy, buy, buy?! You get the picture.
Here we are at the beginning of the first full week of 2015, and I’ve been reflecting over the past year and what has been working in the world of pr and marketing and what hasn’t. Things in the communications world continue to change as the now established forms of social media technology try to remain on top and monetize absolutely everything to keep their shareholders happy. Newer forms also jockey for position, attempting to attract the tween and teen demographics, hoping to hook on for the generational long haul that Facebook has been managing to keep up to this point. With all the swirling forms of media and methods out there for getting your point across, it’s as hard to figure out what to put your time and energy into as it is to figure out what sale day you have (or have missed) during the holiday rush.
I am going to share what I think are the most important things any author, spokesperson, or company seeking to create brand awareness should be considering right now. Call these resolutions or thoughts for the New Year or don’t subscribe to any-it’s totally up to you and your comfort level with technology. But in general, I think that “old” methods need not be completely disregarded and “new” ones need to be used strategically and efficiently so as not to take over your life, as follows:
1. Make a business card and circulate it. Literally carry these things everywhere including your child’s soccer games and on vacation.
2. Research your field, your competitors, and your target market. Know your audience and find out what is important to the people in it.
3. Tumblr is still cool so check it out and play around with it. Tumblr has managed to stay through all of the changes that have happened, and for the right person or brand it is an excellent way to create a valuable destination and community. This is one of my resolutions for 2015.
4. When posting on Facebook limit text to a few lines maximum and share a picture or video. Also consider that Facebook is primarily reaching a 35+ demographic these days and that recent articles (and I can’t find the link to the one I read last week, so if you do, please tweet me) have noted that in order to get advertising dollars, Facebook is or may be considering charging people for prominence in the News Feed. Also, not all of your posts are being listed in everyone’s feed on your list. We’ve known for a while that Facebook is falling out of favor as a marketing tool. It is at the point where the ability to hone in on a community is going to cost you and the days of the “free” online marketing/social media are dwindling for this outlet.
5. LinkedIn is great for businesses and related topics, so post your blogs and other content you find relevant on a weekly basis.
6. Twitter is for tweets, but don’t just use it as a curating tool. People who read Twitter like links/pics/video that is informative, interesting, unique, helpful, and important, unless you are a celebrity and can give us a blow by blow account of what you ate for breakfast. Most people don’t like having a single person blowing up in their Twitter feed with 10 tweets in a row. Space out what you have to say as not to annoy someone so much they’ll press the “unfollow” button on your profile. Also, in order to generate followers it will be helpful to you to create your own content that can be distributed and you should share your opinions about what you are sending out.
7. Instagram is becoming more popular every day, especially with teens and young adults. Everyone loves pictures, and Instagram allows an easy and straightforward way to share your life with followers: post a picture, and add a caption if you’d like. You can get creative with your photos and the filters that come with it: a cute photo of your cat in black-and-white, a photo of someone reading your book in a coffee shop, an iPhone screenshot of someone’s Tweet complimenting your writing, etc.
8. Write original blogs that are useful to your target audience twice a month. Content marketing is all the rage, and truly I know it works from experience. Tweet or share your blog posts on Facebook and LinkedIn—you never know who might find your information valuable.
9. Meet people in person. Consider looking into public speaking, go to conventions where you’ll find like-minded people, visit bookstores if you have written a book, shake the hand of your local librarian, become a member of the local chamber of commerce, and any other way you can put faces to names and make a lasting impression.
Pick two or three of these or even one for the first few months if this seems overwhelming. They are listed in order of simplest to most time consuming, so go for it!