Marching Out On a Social Media Note

It’s been a social-media kind of day here at Inside Edge PR international headquarters.

Walked a block down the street to Marion Street Cheese Market, where I shared some pointers on how to navigate on Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, at “Social Networking Sites–Are You Connected?”

Shared photos and some text with,as well as with Helen Karakoudas at the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest.

Later in the day, I learned from my social-media mentor, Sherri Lasko, that creating a Facebook Fan page is a piece of cake.

So now, as of 11 p.m., the Inside Edge PR fan base tally is on the verge of breaking into double-digits. For those scoring at home, that means seven people other than me and my wife have taken the plunge.

By the way, if you’re curious, or even interested, in becoming a fan, the best suggestion I can give for finding the Inside Edge PR fan page is to log into Facebook and type “Inside Edge PR” into the search box.

I am confident that within a few days, I’ll have learned another, much more efficient route. And that brings to mind one of the inelegant messages I shared with those who jammed inside MSCM this morning: this social-media world is a continual journey of learning something, trying it out, seeing if it works, then moving on to the next thing.

Stay tuned for what tomorrow brings.

A Bounce-Back PR Tale, In More Ways Than One

Whenever I agree to represent a business, it must pass my “newsroom vet litmus test.”

In other words, if I were writing for a newspaper or magazine and someone pitched the story to me, would I be genuinely interested in at least digging into story suggestions about this company?

In September, after a client, Robust Promotions of Villa Park, found me via my LinkedIn account, I knew in short order that the answer, in terms of its news potential, was a resounding “yes!”

So I was more than a little baffled by the media’s luke-warm response to the firm’s story, which teems with relevance and newsworthiness.

Over the past few years, Robust Promotions has helped nearly 100 restaurant chains boost sales via repeat business by creating innovative scratch-to-win cards.

Talk about a local small business making good–and playing a key role in helping numerous other businesses survive and even thrive amid these trying times. Fortunately, the Chicago Tribune’s online user-generated adjunct website, Triblocal has emerged with a weekly print edition in 10 zones spanning 50 communities throughout the region.

This development has given more than a few of my releases a second bite at the media-coverage apple. This time around, the story got picked up. You can read about the piece on Triblocal’s Villa Park community page. As of this writing, some 80 people have clicked on the story.

Or, if you are one of the roughly 13,000 Trib print edition subscribers in Elmhurst, Lombard or Villa Park, it’s on page 5 of the March 19-25 Triblocal print edition.

Any Chicago-area business or group that is not factoring in the increasingly aggressive Triblocal into its media-outreach strategy, both online and in print, is squandering its external communications potential.

Related Posts:
Desperation, The Mother of Determined Creativity, Can Spark PR Success
From PR Snooze to Breaking News: Sleepy’s Quietly Comes to Oak Park

The Missing LinkedIn: Personalization

I’ve written about LinkedIn a time or two.

Here’s another ditty, which dates back to two weeks ago, when a woman asked me to connect via LinkedIn. Problem is, I had no idea who she was. Then I did some cursory searching online and discovered that she and I share an alma mater.

One would think that would have been a relevant shred of information for her to mention when she tendered the invitation. Wait a second–scratch that. She didn’t do anything that resembles a legitimate invitation. Instead, she clicked on a few buttons and triggered an automated message.

She’s yet to follow up with me, and I’ve yet to respond to her.

So, here’s a tip for anyone looking to add value to your LinkedIn experience: take a few moments and actually personalize the greeting. Maybe you can indicate why you think the linkage would be mutually beneficial. Or perhaps you can simply refer to some common ground. Or the weather.

Or anything, so long as it shows you are investing some thought into the process.

It’s a nice start to the LinkedIn liaison, and it shows professionalism and personability.

I do it every time I make a LinkedIn invitation–even with people I know very well and interact with daily. Heck, I did it when I invited my own brother into my LinkedIn network. (Of course, he’s not yet approved the invitation. “Yo, Andy, it’s me, your brother!”)

One final note: A recent LinkedIn partner of mine has some other worthwhile remarks you may want to check out.

Show Your Value, Don’t Just Talk About It

In story-telling, a key principle is showing, not telling.

In other words, rather than say someone was nervous, you would want to convey, via telling details, behaviors that illustrated the nervousness.

When it comes to offering a glimpse at my business value, I like to take the same approach: show it, don’t just talk about it. That’s why, typically, I prepare at least 10 tailored questions before meeting with a prospective client–and supply it to him/her/them before we meet.

By doing this advance work, I heighten the likelihood of a mutually beneficial initial meeting. This proactive bent has also given me an edge over competitors, many of whom, I am sure, focus on telling their own wonderful story rather than drawing out the prospective client.

On a related note, yesterday I invested about a half-hour to take it upon myself to edit a top business consultant’s biography.

We know each other, and are LinkedIn with one another. But we’re not especially close and he is not very familiar with my work. So I figured the best way to bring him up to speed was by simply doing something constructive, rather than merely talking about it.

Who knows where it will lead, but at least one thing is certain: his new bio, should he implement even only a few of my suggestions, will be markedly more compelling than the one that’s been online for more than a year now.

What about you? What kind of service can you provide to someone else today–without asking, or even expecting, anything in return? What can you show someone?

Anatomy of A LinkedIn Recommendation

In a recent Inside Edge PR post, I outlined my philosophy of why I write recommendations for as many of my LinkedIn contacts as possible.

In this post, I share some of the how.

My approach to writing recommendations:

1. I do it whenever I feel I have enough knowledge and interaction with someone to write an endorsement with conviction and authenticity.

2. Periodically, I review the list to see if there is anyone whom I’ve not yet recommended but whose horn I could toot without thinking twice.

3. I try to do it in batches, getting myself in a recommendation-writing mode.

4. I try to provide enough detail that will be useful to both the person I’m writing about as well as those who are seeking to learn more about them.

5. I try, sometimes less successfully than others, to avoid cliches, fawning praise, and long-winded opuses.

6. Where and when appropriate, I like to interject some humor.

7. Here’s a new step: I just began to offer to put my words in writing, on my company letterhead, if someone wants it. I also ask if there’s anything they’d like me to revise, or add, that may be of particular help (as long as I believe in the change).

8. I do it without asking for a recommendation in return. If someone decides to reciprocate, I appreciate it. But this isn’t about obligating others to gush about how wonderful I am.

For a look at the recommendations I’ve made on LinkedIn, go here.