Small Businesses Take Heed: Social Media Basics Bring Big Business Opportunities!

February 29, 2012
by Rishika Luthra, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Toronto
Rishika Luthra

Rishika Luthra

In a very short span of time, the social media landscape has undergone a sea-change.  For example, Twitter — a platform which was, until recently, attracting audiences who wanted to know what their favourite celebrities are doing in real-time — now boasts of an eclectic community of enthusiasts who are more aware, involved and engaged. What’s more, we even witnessed Canada’s first “social media election” in 2011!

There have been inevitable changes on the economic front as well. Canada’s growth in 2012 will be slightly below average, according to Deputy Chief Economist Doug Porter, BMO. That said, there is no denying that, at present, Canada is a relative safe haven compared to other economies, running the lowest inflation rates internationally.

So how do you accelerate small business growth in our economic times? The first question you need to ask yourself as a small business is which area of your business do you want to be successful in? Is it lead-generation and sales? Or is it customer service? Doing a goal-definition up front is crucial because social media may be free, but your resources and time are not!

In short, defining success is the key point of measuring it, suggests a panel of social media experts who recently participated in a Social Media Week Toronto 2012 session, hosted by BMO (Bank of Montreal), in a room teeming with Canadian entrepreneurs.

Start with your customers

“Being able to identify your key customer helps determine where your message will resonate best,” suggests Julie Howlett, Account Director of Global Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn Canada.

Chris Eben, a partner at The Working Group,  believes in starting small, connecting with customers and doing it in a real, genuine way.

Set social media policy and guidelines

Liz Strauss, Founder of Inside-Out Thinking, strongly suggests looking to build a social media policy, regardless of the size of your business.

Identifying who is going to respond to the information you share is just as essential.

“Using Social Media platforms sans specific guidelines is another way of ensuring that things could go well out of control,” warns Chris Eben.

One of the best examples of a small business that gets social media right is two-year-old Toronto-based Sprouter, a company that provides entrepreneurs everywhere with a platform to connect and engage for commentaries on small business issues, emerging technology trends and startup-related enquiries. Erin Bury, Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter, recently participated in a Social Media Week Breakfast session hosted by Business Wire Canada.

Mitigate negative publicity by being open to feedback

If you are social, you’ve got to be open to feedback, which could be positive or negative. Lack of answering or being “present” within your community is going to be harmful.

Remember that negative comments come from someone who wants to argue or someone who wants to be heard. The idea is to disengage with the former while genuinely engaging with the latter. The power to turn negative into positive rests in your hands.

Social media is all about engagement and the coolest tip for you is to attend events like Startup Weekend, one of the best examples of validating an idea with a relevant customer base, according to Chris.

Now that you have the mantra to bring your business up to speed, remember that being good at social media does not guarantee success. Being good at service does!


Friday Fast Links: Agencies, redundancies and more

April 15, 2011


Friday Fast Links: Fifth calls, CSR, name changes and more

April 8, 2011


Have a great weekend!


Friday Fast Links for April 1: Why consumers use SM, defining marketing, and more

April 1, 2011


Friday Fast Links: LinkedIn Tips, Social CMOs, Measurement and more

March 25, 2011


Friday Fast Links: March Madness, Wire Service SEO and More

March 18, 2011

What do you know about your wire service’s SEO practices?

How big are the opportunities for brands and social media during March Madness? (A Google search for “March Madness” + “social media” returns nearly 2 million results.)

On the off chance you missed Rebecca Black blowing up the internet this week, you missed a great lesson on how to turn bad PR into good PR.

Eight tips for writing press releases that journalists will read. I think they’re just about in the right order, too.

The Canadian Investor Relations Institute reinforces the widely disseminated press release as the anchor of successful IR. Are they ahead of the US in setting standards?

If you need help building your online newsroom, register for our free webinar.

Do you or your company have a blog? A recent Minnesota court case has some interesting free speech implications for bloggers.

There are a lot of ways to sell jeans. Is this one of them? Takes edgy ads to a whole new level.

Have a great weekend!


Dos and Don’ts of Pitching a Features Editor

March 8, 2011
by Cecile Oreste, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/DC

Business Wire’s Features National circuit and Feature Topic Series can help distribute your press releases, but how do you create an effective story that will appeal to a features editor? I reached out to Katie Aberbach of the Washington Post Express and Katy De Luca of the Washington Examiner to find out the dos and don’ts of pitching a feature editor.

Katie Aberbach

Katie Aberbach is a feature editor for the Washington Post Express‘ Lookout, Weekend Pass and Digs sections. According to Aberbach, a good feature is “a human interest story, something the average reader can relate to.” The best feature stories are when you become invested in what you’re reading or when you can tell that the reporter truly enjoys what he or she is writing about. When it comes to getting ideas for feature stories, “press releases do help out a lot because there is no way you can know everything new that’s coming out,” she said. “Tell me about your new product, television show and book and offer a source to comment on it.”

When it comes to writing your press release, she suggests the following:

  • Do break up the story and summarize key information into bullet points.
  • Do include links to other trend stories and think of what visuals would work for your story.
  • Don’t forget the hook. Even though you’re pitching a feature story, a hard news hook is still valuable. Say why I should care right away. Naming the names is really important.

Katy De Luca

Katy De Luca is the features editor of the Washington Examiner. For De Luca, the best feature stories are ones that appeal to the Examiner audience. “I look at all pitches and think about what will be most interesting to our readers. I think about what they would want to read and what is the best way to get the information to them,” she said. Most of the story ideas come from the writers De Luca works with. She also reads a variety of media and if a topic grabs her attention, she’ll forward the lead to one of her freelancers.

When pitching a feature reporter or editor, De Luca recommends these points:

  • Do include as much information as possible in the subject line and personalize your pitch. Provide all basic details. Simple is better.
  • Do periodically ask the person you are pitching to what sort of things they are looking for. Communication is a key part of the process.
  • Don’t send long-winded e-mails with attachments.

For more suggestions on how to help get your feature news noticed by the media, check out these Features News Tips. You can also contact our features department at features@businesswire.com for additional writing tips and story suggestions.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39,436 other followers

%d bloggers like this: