6 ways to add fireworks to your networking | eNews from OWC

Networking is an art that takes practice to master.  The wider the network, the greater reach your message and your brand will have.  After all, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So how do you start to make these connections?  A new contact can provide new viewpoints and new opportunities.  Here are six tips to network like a pro.

Download PDF version of this issue: 6 ways to add fireworks to your networking

  • Develop a roadmap.  The first step to successful networking is to figure out where you should be headed and what stops to make along the way.  Before the year ends, create an events calendar with dates for all major industry conferences and meetings.  Start local and go from there.  Make it your mission to attend at least 10 events each year.  Conferences like Fortune Brainstorm TECH and Thrive are popular for business leaders and key influencers.  Watch for speaking and panel opportunities.
  • Do your research.  Before an event, pinpoint who will be there.  Look at speakers’ social media activity and browse through recent media coverage of them.  Subscribe to newsletters and news alerts from major outlets like The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal and business trades such as Inc., Forbes and Entrepreneur.  Collect information so that, when an introduction occurs, you can work what you have learned into the conversation.  It only takes one tidbit to strike a connection.
  • Step outside your comfort zone.  Make a point to talk to new people.  If you’re an introvert, start a conversation with someone who is standing alone.  They may appreciate that you were the initiator.  For the more socially confident, stake out a high-traffic location like the bar or near the check-in table.  This will give you access to many potential connections.
  • Be a giver.  Start with your business card.  Make this exchange more memorable by handwriting additional contact information or a keyword relating to your conversation on it.   Introduce your new connections to the people you’ve already met, especially when you see a reason why they should meet.
  • Be smart about social.  The number of Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter continues to rise.  Social media allows you to network at the palm of your hands.  Conferences always have a hashtag – use it for your posts and to see what other attendees have shared.  Join the conversation, ask questions and jump in when you see an opening.  This will be the easiest way to network.
  • Stay connected.  After a conference or a business lunch, don’t stop networking.  Keep in touch.  Connect with new contacts on LinkedIn, and while you’re at it, publish a post about the event, its value and your key takeaways.  Don’t just build your network, stay engaged with your network.

It’s crucial to meet new people to grow a business or build a brand.  You’re not trying to become fast friends, but rather establish a professional relationship that will benefit both parties.  The more opportunities for growth and exposure, the better.  With the rise of social media, the world has become more connected than ever.  Take advantage of the tools that are already at your disposal.

 

Send the invite, pick up the phone. Practice these tips at your next summer party.

 

On June 23, 2017, OWC CEO and Founder Tracy Williams (far right) moderated the “Scale Your Business, Build Your Future” panel at the 2017 Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Summit. The event hosted hundreds of thriving women entrepreneurs.

July 6th, 2017|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , |

#twitterforbusiness from PR pros | eNews from OWC

The first step in perfecting the art of Twitter is to make sure to share the most topical and genuinely informative tweets. Maybe that’s you already, and the feedback is great. But are you really enhancing your reputation with the target audience? Are your competitors tweeting even better? Twitter isn’t a private bubble, it’s a fish bowl. We’re on display, so we need to know how we’re doing.

There are plenty of analytics tools to gauge the value of social media efforts, but with so many options finding the best one for your brand is daunting. What’s the set industry standard for success? There isn’t one. We’re on our own in judging key measurements like engagement rate. We’re both the product and test laboratory.

Download PDF version of this issue: #businessfortwitter from PR pros

OWC advocates the following tactics, which we work hard to apply to our own Twitter account, @owcpr.

  • Get comfortable with numbers. Tweeting just 10-12 times each week can be outreach enough, but the effort isn’t worthwhile if nobody communicates back to your brand. Twitter Analytics is a free tool that offers basic tracking to start measuring your audience. It tells you what you’re doing well and instantly identifies the duds.
  • Know the facts. Engagement rate is the metric that matters to social media managers and enthusiasts alike. While some analysts argue for a benchmark of 1-3 percent engagement rate per post, the reality is that there is no industry standard. Competing tools use entirely different formulas to calculate rates, which makes comparisons difficult. The simple fact is: we want engagement. If we’re not getting it, something needs to change.
  • Take charge. With no set standards, the right tool for the right objective is up to us. Taking on the challenge is the first step towards finding the right metrics for your brand. Research the analytics tools – each has its benefits and quirks. At OWC we use Simply Measured for a more detailed look at engagement. We’re also trying out Sprout Social, a lower-cost alternative that uses mainly replies, likes, mentions, re-tweets, detail expands and hashtag clicks to come up with a basic engagement rate.
  • Play smart. Keywords are social media gold. You can use them again and again. Which keywords get a reaction from your audience? Analytics will tell you. Monitor industry insiders and experts and compare your performance to theirs. Copy their success. You already know that tweets with a link and a visual element outperform all other tweets. As you weave in pictures, videos and animated GIFs, check the engagement rate. Do more of what works. Do less of what doesn’t. Always do something.

Social media for organizations is about connecting, defining and analyzing how your brand presents itself. We want to grow and engage. We want more followers, more responses, more recognition, more action. Tweets should be the sharpest tool in your daily communications kit. Finding the right analytics program – and using it – will sharpen your Twitter approach to a fine edge.

April 11th, 2017|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , |

8 tips from Crisis Boot Camp | eNews from OWC

Last week I spoke on “How to Lead Your Organization’s Social Media Messaging in a Crisis” during PRNews’ Digital Summit in Huntington Beach.  Here are some key points from my remarks and those of my fellow presenters at Crisis Management Boot Camp:

Download the PDF version here: 8 tips from Crisis Boot Camp

  • Be ready — and few are.  Only 50 percent of companies have a ready-to-go crisis plan — and only 5 percent of those have a designated response team.  A plan only helps if people are assigned and trained in advance to do the work, and there’s a lot of work to manage.
  • Assess your risk.  Measure the crisis on a scale of one to 10.  Not every crisis requires a 10 response.  Check out OWC’s Crisis Response Risk Assessment Tool. 
  • Prepare emergency “holding statements.”  A major crisis breaks fast, and a response needs to go out within an hour and a half.  A holding statement is the company position on a potential threat or foreseeable emergency.  Think it through before it happens.  “Semper paratus” (“always ready”).
  • Don’t leave your fate in the hands of outside web developers.  In a crisis, people will check your website.  Do you have a person in your office who has the access and training to upload changes to your site?  Most don’t, but you can change that today.  It’s easy with a modern content management system such as WordPress.
  • Be timely and ready to go on camera.  Are you prepared to respond with a YouTube or Facebook Live video within 90 minutes of a crisis breaking?  Especially if the source of the crisis is itself a video, you must respond through the appropriate platform and be prepped like a seasoned pro.
  • Social strategy is media strategy.  Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults get their news from social media, and 18 percent do so frequently.  So, bad news travels even faster.  Monitor social so you know immediately when you’re being discussed in blogs and on Facebook and Twitter.  Here at OWC we use Hootsuite and Google Alerts.
  • Robots aren’t just driving our cars. They’re now a part of newsrooms.  The Associated Press has a robot that takes information from SEC filings and press releases and automatically produces wire reports on earnings that are completely devoid of context and nuance. It’s now more important than ever for organizations to expand on sparse news reports with a more complete message through company-controlled platforms.
  • We’re all in the data business. What would a data breach mean to your clients, customers, employees and how quickly would the news spread and on what platforms?  In a breach, IT will be too busy to help.  Management needs a plan.

Crisis comes just when things seem to be going so well.  We all heard about the Oscars Sunday night.  We’ll see in real time how Uber deals with the self-inflicted blows to its image and brand.  Three out of five CEOs believe corporate brand and reputation represent more than 40 percent of their market capitalization which is why crisis preparation and response is a bottom-line job.

March 2nd, 2017|Categories: eNewsletter|Tags: , , , , , , |