Hands up if you have sat in a new client kick off or creds meeting and asked the contact opposite you who they consider to be their competitors and heard, “what we do is so unique that we don’t really have any competitors”. I despair at the amount of times I have heard this.
Companies may not be an equal but there is always a competitor out there otherwise companies would have a monopoly of the market…..and they probably wouldn’t need a PR company to raise its profile.
The simple question I now ask when I hear this is: What are the key words that you are using for SEO? If a company appears on the first page of Google alongside a client when you type this term in, then it is a competitor regardless of what they may think.
It also suggests that the potential competitor is targeting a share of its business so you need to be aware of them. What are they saying, who are they talking to and where are they doing it? All of these can be found out quickly and should become the corner stone of any good rapid response/press office function within your future PR campaigns.
Why we buy
Following a conversation with the impressive Andy Budd at Clearleft I recently purchased Why we buy by Paco Underhill. Increasingly this science is being applied to the online retail world and I want to apply the methodology to the PR industry. Understanding customers is essential if you want to communicate with them.
I was talking to a friend of mine who has just gone through the pitch process on the client side (God I wish I could do that) and they told me that all of the PR agencies spoke about Twitter and Facebook as a way of communicating with their audience but there was no intelligence behind it. They all said they should run a Twitter campaign and set up a Facebook fan page but none had an answer, when pushed, about why either was the correct tool to speak to their customers.
Ultimately, the question that should be asked is which tool best allows you to speak to your target audience? I sometimes feel that social media tools are just buzz words in our industry and people throw them around without remotely understanding them.
I read an interesting piece of research from Com Score which looked at how the advent of social networking sites has seen an increase in eCommerce opportunities. According to the research, users of Twitter are more likely to purchase online than people from facebook. I wonder how many people review research such as this or the demographics of networking sites before asking clients to part with vast sums of money on campaigns?
This would be invaluable to companies such as voucher code companies or sellers of personalised gifts but I wonder how many of their PR agencies understand this or are aware of it? Surely, if this is the tool that will allow you to drive more sales then this is where the greater percentage of your communications campaign should be emphasised on?
Google page rank
I read a very interesting post on Andrew Bruce Smith‘s blog about how most people don’t realise that they have a home page with a high page rank. I have been working on this blog for almost two years now and have spent many hours writing and sharing some of my thoughts.
I also have a Twitter account which I also love but spend far less time populating. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Andrew highlighted that the page rank for your Twitter page could be higher than your blog. Surely not but upon investigation I found that this was actually true.
As he says in his blog, most people will have achieved this without even thinking about it. I certainly did.
Worth thinking about the next time a client asks you about the merits of starting a Twitter account. If you can build up a high page rank to your Twitter page you potentially have a powerful SEO tool for providing backlinks.
Facebook election page: Democracy UK
I wrote a letter today for PR Week about an article I read by Peter Hay looking at how the Conservatives were using Facebook the most out of the three top parties. In it, I tried to make the point that I believe Facebook is a great tool for trying to engage with the general public, especially with its 33 million plus users in the UK, as it clearly represents an ideal platform to communicate and canvas the voting population.
Then this evening, I saw a piece of research by Morpace which states that not only are consumers joining Facebook fan pages that are managed by businesses, but they use Facebook as a means to offer and receive product recommendations.
Among the primary reasons consumers join a Facebook fan page are: “To let my friends know what products I support,” (41 percent) and “To receive coupons and discount offers,” (37 percent). More than 36 percent of consumers consider Facebook to be a useful tool for researching products.
Nearly 68 percent of consumers say that a “positive referral from a Facebook friend makes them more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer.”
These findings interested me as rather than list how many people are on Facebook it actually gives some insight into how a consumer may use the platform. For those of us who work in PR who need to communicate with potential customers to drive sales or interest in our clients the ability to understand consumers Facebook is essential. There is no point just being on facebook for the sake of it. You need to be clear about what you are communicating and why it would be of interest to prospects otherwise you are simply wasting your clients time and money.
I found the following stunt by Heineken on Twitter this morning and absolutely love it.