Mobile Social Communications

I recently attended a social communications conference with an interesting mix of speakers from consumer focused companies to high-tech through and through.  What they had in common was this:  To attract new consumers, and B2B customers you need to utilize some form of social communication.  As always target market is a key component to what you do, what you say and how you do it.  According to Laura Fink from American Express OPEN: The number one need of small businesses is getting customers and social media can help them get them.

Key Insights I took away from this conference:

1) Mobile Social media such as “tips” put on Fourquare or Twitter can help associate a company with neighborhoods, food, and shopping expertise – extending it’s identity as a real estate firm (Corcoran) or it’s identity in a host of industries – tech, shopping, trend spotter.

2) Current application market is inefficient and can be much improved (attributed to Jim Shilale of  Moco)  There was consensus that current mobile apps do not perform the same way on every Smartphone.  I-phones seem to have more consistency with apps.  Android market can use better organization with lists, kinds of apps and performance.  HTML5 which is being developed now with the hopes of having it solve the challenges and make a better usability experience.

3) Using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, can help you and your business.  Many professionals separate professional profiles from personal.  Some combine them depending on their needs and professions.  Facebooks new features make it easier to display messages to certain audiences and therefore you can tailor one message for different audiences.

4) Even in the most restrictive of industries, pharma and financial for instance, you can cultivate certain messages and make them immediate especially in times of crisis, new product introduction, and major corporate announcements.  Mobile enables instant messaging and it can easily be followed up with a formal announcement in print, on-line, that is more in detail.  Once that is done, broadcast a link so those who are interested can follow up.

5) Lastly, as I’ve stated before, social media is communication.  Take the same care as you would with a press release or formal announcement from one of the executives in your company.  Someone needs to monitor outgoing as well as incoming messages to make sure they are accurate and in-line with corporate messaging policies.

It’s easy to correct misinformation if you know it is being broadcast to certain audiences.  Social media isn’t all things to all people or companies, but can certainly enhance your presence, news following ability, and identity and branding with your consumer or BtoB customer base.

More to come…

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Back To School

It’s September and all thoughts move to going back to school.  Even though you may not have kids in school, or college, the change of weather and advertising bring your mind to this time of change.  Going back to school for some may mean picking up some new courses or taking a class on something that you’ve wanted to learn for a while.  For others it may mean new job opportunities, such as substitute teaching.  I’ve already been called a couple of times for this – teachers get sick too.

It could also be signing up and, or finishing, that extension course, or new Webinar you’ve heard about and hadn’t had time to do over the summer with all the beach going, riding bikes, kayaking, ho-hum.  I’m back on the saddle for another social communications conference this week focusing on the mobile front.  Having a new Android phone makes the idea of mobile social communications all the more interesting. Of course you’ve got the mobile Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and apps du jour!  So many apps, you need an app to tell you what apps you should have.  Everything from music and games, to encyclopedias, organic gardening, GREEN galore,  distress alerts, various messaging options, and those incoming advertisers!  One thing I didn’t think of having to deal with on the new phone!  So, surely I will update all on the conference in a few days.  Maybe they can even help me use my new phone better!  You are never too old to learn something new.

New Moon, Lights Out, Social Media

With the new moon last Sunday in Virgo here on the east coast it came along side hurricane Irene.  Very intense earthly action was going on.  For me and many others it triggered lots of stress in the form on insomnia, which ends up causing other stress related issues.  Most were inconvenienced by no electricity, some had no running water, hot water, and something to cook by.  It did seem LIPA who runs the electric on Long Island took an inordinant amount of time to get everything up and running. They should have demanded 16 plus hour shifts in the beginning of the week, not just over the Labor day weekend to insure overtime pay.  How does one these days get their messages out to the people and the powers that be? Social media.

I tweeted that to LIPA and looked up other hashtags (#) words to see what others were tweeting. Sure enough I came up with someone who was updating LIPA outages.  I was also retweeted by WBLI and couple of other people insuring that my message got out to over 3000 people.  I actually did get a response and ironically, no sooner than I did, the electricity came back on in my house.  Hmm?  Makes you think doesn’t it?  As a public relations professional I know the power of the written, and spoken word and how contacting the right person, or  persons, can make all the difference in the world in getting the message you want out across the mainstream and more.  Two days later when there was a brief outage again, what did I do?  Of course, I tweeted it.  Almost immediately I got a response back too.  Power was only out about twenty minutes but after four days of none, I wasn’t going to wait another moment to find out what was going on.

LIPA in comparison to the old LILCO needs to step up their repair process.  1985 was Hurricane Gloria and we were without lights then, but I do remember the repair trucks out in less than 12 hours after it hit, working through the night and days to get people up and running.  The towns are responsible in part too by not cutting down dangerous trees with wires going through them.  On a good stormy day, forget about hurricane force winds, those trees come down, take the wires with them and then everyone pays the price.  The highway departments are responsible as is LIPA for storm damage if they don’t do their part in preventing certain calamities.  My bills are ready to be reimbursed – just tell me which official to send them to.  That should be the next step.  Better safe than sorry next time.