7 Ways To Fine-Tune Your Communications Strategies

While it's still August, fall will be here before you know it. To end this year on a high note, take some time to fine-tune your PR and social media strategies. Here are 7 important things to make sure your organization is maximizing the effectiveness of its online presence:

 

1. Reevaluate your audience

If you don't know your true audience, you won't be able to reach them with the most effective communications tools. Rediscover their demographics, when they are most likely to be online, what kinds of posts have gained the most attention in the past, etc. Even if you think you know your audience well, it is always a good idea to periodically take a step back and take a deeper look at things to make sure your efforts are as efficient as they can be. Many businesses will find that past initiatives which weren't truly effective, didn't work because they didn't use the right communications tools for their true audience.

 

2. Engage, Engage, Engage

Engagement is one of the most important parts of using social media. It is not enough to just post content, you also need to interact with your audience and connect with the right influencers to achieve your goals. No one wants to be “that person” who only talks about themselves all night at a party, don’t be “that person” on social media either. Ask questions, respond to comments, post materials that aren't always about your company, and both retweet and tag industry influencers.

 

3. When it comes to content, think 70/20/10

Try breaking down your social media content into this ratio: 70 percent of your posts should be interesting to your audience and relevant to your field, 20 percent should be engaging your audience, and only 10 percent should be directly about your business. You are more likely to keep your followers’ attention and interest long-term if you keep your accounts active with content that is consistently relevant to them!

 

4. Keep writing concise and clear

Less is more - don't use too many words just for the sake of using them! While you’re given 140 on Twitter, try to keep posts to 120 characters or less. Facebook posts shouldn't be much longer. Short posts with multimedia elements attached are the posts that will receive the highest level of engagement.

 

5. Consistency is key

With so many different platforms out there, be sure that you are being consistent in your messaging. Also make sure that what you post matches your brand's values and feel. Whatever you post will be assumed to be in alignment with your business.

 

6. Don't be afraid to have a little personality behind your posts

Being able to relate to your audience will play a large role in your engagement levels. Remember, sometimes casual language can be more attractive to your audience, so don’t be too serious all the time! Show a sense of humor, or a fun, easy going tone when appropriate.

 

7. Reflect on the past year

Take a look back over the past year: what has worked and what hasn't? Now, start thinking outside the box for what else you could do to effectively reach your audience!

9 Facts About Social Media that Every Business Should Know

We frequently hear business leaders asking why social media is important, and how it impacts their overall PR goals. Here are some quick facts to consider about social media.

1. 74% of consumers cited relying on social media to make purchasing decisions

2. Approximately 53% of people recommend companies and products on Twitter

3. 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online

4. More than 189 million of Facebook’s users are “mobile only”

5. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-34 than any cable network

6. 93% of social marketers use social media for business

7. Facebook’s users are getting older. 45% of Internet users aged 65+ use Facebook

8. Pinterest and LinkedIn users are wealthier than the other networks with a high percentage earning over $75000

9. The numbers:

·      72% of all Internet users are now active on social media

·      89% of those between 18 and 29 years old are social media users

·      72% of individuals aged 30 to 49 are engaged in social media

·      60% of people between 50 to 60 years old are active on social media

·      43% of those 65 years old and above are engaged in social media

·      71% of users access social media from a mobile device

 

Carney Communication Named Agency of Record for the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine

Carney Communications has been named the public relations, social media and public affairs agency of record for the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine (http://sfrbm.org). The Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine is an international organization of 1,600 scientists and researchers with an interest in the research and medical applications of free radical chemistry, redox biology and antioxidants.

“The scientists and researchers who are members of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine are changing lives through their groundbreaking and innovative research,” said Brent Carney, CEO of Carney Communications. “I am thrilled to be working with such an impactful organization, and we look forward to helping share the stories about their amazing work.”

“We believe that our partnership with Carney Communications will help SFRBM proactively communicate the importance of redox research and exciting advances in our field within the scientific community, to the public and, most importantly, to those that fund this research, “ stated Kent Lindeman, CMP, SFRBM’s Executive Director.

Carney Communication Named Agency of Record for Orangetheory Fitness’ Northern New England Expansion

(Lowell, MA) - Today, Carney Communications was named the public relations, social media and digital marketing agency of record for Orangetheory Fitness’ expansion into northern New England. Orangetheory Fitness offers high-intensity interval training, a program which was recently ranked the number one fitness trend of 2014 by the American College of Sports Medicine.

“We are excited to be working with such an exciting national brand,” said Brent Carney, CEO of Carney Communications. “Orangetheory Fitness is about changing lives, and their holistic approach to fitness and healthy living is second to none, and a large reason why they continue to grow across the U.S.”

“Orangetheory will provide people of all backgrounds and abilities a new and unique way to improve their health and fitness level. This isn’t like any other workout facility we have around here,” said Dwayne Duprey, owner of Orangetheory Fitness in New Hampshire. “Carney Communications understand this, and because of their deep expertise and understanding of public relations, social media and digital advertising, we are excited to be working with them.”

About Carney Communications

Carney Communications is a full-service communications agency providing cutting edge, analysis driven strategies for companies, institutions, academic centers, non-profits and associations. The agency’s strategies and campaigns challenge leading brands, influence legislation, reach new audiences, drive results and engage in thought leadership.

Carney Communications is a national agency based in Lowell, Massachusetts, and can be found on the web at http://carneycommunications.com. You can also follow Carney Communications on Twitter. Click here to learn more about the full range of services offered.

About Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness is a one-of-a-kind group personal training workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. Backed by the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, Orangetheory Fitness’ heart-rate-monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. Led by skilled instructors, participants use a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, SBT Suspension Training and free weights, burning an average of 900 calories per class. The result is the Orange Effect –more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-workout.

 

Why Thought Leadership Matters

Forbes Magazine describes it quite nicely in their article What Is  A Thought Leader?:

It’s a truism that thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals or firms in their respective fields. Furthermore, in the research literature, there’s a general consensus that being a thought leader whether you’re an individual or employed at an organization and you want to grow the business, or even an association seeking new members as well as more generous sponsors, being a thought leader can make a very significant and positive difference.

 

Take our quick survey, and receive confidential results about how you stack up to others when it coms to thought leadership.

 As social media continues to evolve and newsrooms around the country change with it, those who are most successful at marketing themselves are those who embrace thought leadership as a necessary tactic. You don’t become a thought leader overnight, but once you have developed yourself, or your company, as a thought leader, it is a powerful and lasting tool that can be utilized to drive results with your target audiences.

 A June 27, 2013 Huffington Post article notes,

 In this new era of marketing, the technology infrastructure of social media and the ability it gives us to search anything--instantly--online, has made it easier for thought-followers to find what they need when they need it. And it has also given new meaning and significance to the need for thought leaders and the development of thought leadership marketing…

 What this Huffington Post quote highlights is the need to engage in thought leadership, utilizing social media engagement now. If you haven’t already started to move your public relations and marketing efforts in this direction, you risk falling behind your competition.

Thought leadership also matters when it comes to working with the media. When you are seen as an expert in your field, you are able to insert your brand into new stories that you otherwise would not have been a part of. You have a limited number of opportunities to speak about yourself and your company. Give yourself more opportunities to be in the media by talking about issues facing your field, giving tips or advice about industry trends or providing analysis to news of the day stories. This sends a powerful message about you and your company – it lets influencers know you are an expert, and people should find out more about what you are doing. All of this drives results and can bring you new sales, new clients and an increased awareness of all you do.


Is the Healthcare Industry Doing Enough to Meet Online Demands?

72% - That’s the percent of internet users who say they have gone online for health information within the past year (according to Pew Internet Project’s research related to health and health care).  One in three American adults have gone online specifically to figure out a medical condition (PEW Health Online 2013).

Program Launched to Help Non-Profits with Strategic Engagement and Thought Leadership

Today, Carney Communications announced the launch of a new program to help non-profit organizations strengthen their brand, expand their presence, and create new funding opportunities through strategic engagement and thought leadership.

“Many non-profits have built a solid foundation of followers on social media,” said Brent Carney, CEO of Carney Communications. “The critical component that is missing for too many of these organizations is being able turn that foundation into an engagement program that builds an audience of key influencers who will help raise funds and achieve mission goals.”

According to one media report, donations through social media continue to grow year over year. This same report highlights that by incorporating Twitter into fundraising strategies, non-profit organizations raised almost 10 times more money.

As part of their program for non-profit agencies, Carney Communications offers an independent competitive analysis of any organization’s current communications program, strategies for improving efficiencies, and comprehensive plans to maximize assets while building for the future through social and tradition media.

Organizations looking for more information, or to receive an initial social media evaluation, should contact Carney Communications at info@carneycommunications.com or by phone at (617) 340-9337.

The Political World Takes to Twitter After Decisions

No matter where you fall on these specific issues, today's two decisions and yesterday's Voting Rights Act decision by the US Supreme Court highlight how prevalent social media has become on Capitol Hill.

As soon as the decisions came down, politicians and thousands of others took to Twitter to voice their support, objection, or disapproval.

 

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According to Andrew Springer of ABC News, “as of 1 p.m. ET (6/25/13), over 79,000 tweets have been sent containing #SCOTUS or “Supreme Court,” according to Topsy Pro. (Which as a certified partner of Twitter has full access to Twitter’s fire hose.) Over 57,000 tweets in the same amount of time have included “voting rights” or #VRA.”

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What this all clearly demonstrates is how much a part of the political culture Twitter and other forms of social media have become in Washington. Politicians, their staff, and the reporters who cover them are all using these sites to engage with and listen to constituents, businesses, and influencers.

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Having a clear strategy for reaching policy makers in the spaces where they are listening is a critical component for any business, non-profit, or institution that is looking to move their viewpoints forward in Washington. Those who ignore these mediums are falling behind competing voices. Those who embrace these mediums have a more influential voice than ever before.

 

One School - One Voice Program Launched To Help Educational Institutions Maintain Message Consistency

With educational institutions continuing to expand their online social presence, many often struggle to maintain the consistent messaging they need. The One School - One Voice Program helps institutions to harness the individual creativity of different departments, schools, and programs, while maintaining one consistent voice to highlight academic achievement, attract new students, engage alumni, recruit top faculty, and meet the goals of capital campaigns.

“Schools might have 3, 5, or even 10 Facebook pages and possibly even more Twitter handles,” said Brent Carney, CEO of Carney Communications. “This program helps academic institutions of all sizes harness the power of these pages while maintaining each important and unique voice.”

“Balancing academic independence while still meeting overall unified goals is a difficult and complex task,” said Jessie Hughes O’Leary, Dir. of Strategic Education Consulting. “What might initially seem like competing interest among departments, when brought together, can attract new families and faculty all while reaching the important goals which strengthen the school’s foundation.”

A recent study by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education indicates that social media platforms are more popular than ever at educational institutions.  96% of institutions taking part in the study are currently using Facebook and 82% are using Twitter. Platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Blogs, and Flickr are also in regular use.

The One School – One Voice Program is a two-phase program. During the first phase Carney Communications works with the academic institution staff to analyze the school’s current capabilities and liabilities.  The second phase includes the development and implementation of an ongoing strategic plan that ensures consistent messaging across all channels while preserving the independence each department needs.

Who is using the internet

When businesses start thinking about using online media to reach their key audiences, a natural question to ask is “are the people or businesses I’m looking to reach online?”  More so than ever, that answer is an emphatic yes. 

According to a new Pew Research Center Internet Project poll, 85% of Americans over the age of 18 are now using the internet at least occasionally.  That number is up 12% over the last 5 years, and up 22% from ten years ago.  Below are some of the key figures to consider.  Also, in this chart PEW breaks down all the stats by demographic and by household income.

The bottom line is that your audiences are using the internet and key social media like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.  For you to build an engaged community it is critical for your business to be there as well.

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