Why Social Media is Important to Businesses Today

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Social media has caused a monumental paradigm shift in the way businesses communicate with customers, employees, partners, vendors and other stakeholders.  The communications infrastructure of Social Media allows for conversations 24/7, giving companies the ability to react, influence and create meaningful dialogue with customers.  Social Media, when done right can turn naysayers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into evangelists or brand influencers.

Social Network Social Media Business People Outdoors ConceptSocial Media also allows a company to be quickly responsive to industry news, market shifts, customer service and social issues demonstrating that the company is engaged and cares. Case in point: A client was at a major trade show and an attendee tweeted that they went to the client’s booth; however no one would acknowledge him.  The client immediately apologized on Twitter and invited him to come back by the booth. The prospect went back and quickly tweeted how nice the client was and what interesting technology they had. If the client was not paying attention, this person could have turned into a negative influencer. The ability for companies to dialogue and influence prospects quickly can make a significant difference in sales.

Serving Up Fresh, Tasty Editorial Content on Time, Every Time

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Journalism_1 - CopyA public relations agency’s role can be likened to that of a sous-chef who must please two distinctive yet equally important types of people. The chef must prepare and/or supervise the preparation of delectable meals to delight the restaurant’s customers. At the same time,  he/she must satisfy the requirements of the boss – likely the restaurant owner. For example, the food must look and taste delicious – both the customer and restaurant owner insist on those qualities. At the same time, the chef must not spend too much time preparing any one particular dish or spend too much money on the ingredients to make the entrée. After all, the restaurant owner has a budget to meet and a profit to make.

In public relations, the first important person or customer is our client, whom we must satisfy completely by promoting his/her product, technology or service via various outlets such as online and print publications, social media channels as well as at trade shows, forums and symposia. Because a most effective way to promote products and services is still via trade or business magazines and newspapers, we have another customer to serve.
That customer is the editor/journalist/industry analyst of the publication, blog or research report. Trusted relationships with editors/reporters/producers/analysts are key in public relations. Over the years, we’ve developed excellent contacts and continue to nurture these relationships daily. It’s these media professionals – aka industry influencers – whom we approach for thought-leadership coverage. With our high-level focus and strategy, we are skilled at appealing to the editor’s needs for relevant content that readers/viewers learn from and enjoy. At the same time, we are highlighting our clients’ products and services without being overtly commercial. This is a delicate balance, and a recipe for success in managing media relations and meeting or exceeding client expectations.

Editors/journalists/analysts need credible resources for their articles, blogs and research reports. They need to quote experts on the subject matter they are covering. They also need complex technology explained to them so that they can understand it and then write about it for their readers to assimilate. All this researching, writing, and information dissemination takes time. No matter how efficient or effective they may be, these media professionals depend on knowledgeable, trustworthy sources for their material. Fortunately, J&A is there to provide them with the latest technology news and trends from our clients in a timely manner.

In other words, we whet the editor’s appetite for “gourmet” content. We then satisfy that need with our client’s desire for top-tier media exposure. This visibility ultimately leads to increased sales and market share. We serve our client by securing opportunities in top-tier media outlets. We serve our editor by meeting his/her deadlines and providing fresh, informative content. If the timing does not always work out perfectly, we use businesslike diplomacy and, OK, occasional pleading to achieve our goal.

We’ve been successful for over 26 years, so serving two distinct yet equally important persons seems to be working. We trust that our track record will continue, serving up fresh, relevant content to delight the “palates” of clients and editors on time and on budget.

 

Why I love what we do!

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TechnologyIn this time of celebrating our nation’s formation and accomplishments,  it makes me think about how much I’ve learned and how lucky I am to be working with some of the brightest minds and companies that have, in part, helped changed the way we do business. In our marketing communications capacity here at J&A, we oftentimes get an inside view of designers’ and engineers’ work on the next evolution of products and solutions. Over the past 26 years, I have been able to experience great leaps in technology. Fast forward to today, and we have private companies sending rockets to space stations and we can talk/video/chat to anyone around the world for mere pennies. It’s hard for me to conceive of a world without the Internet. Our client’s products and technologies are all instrumental in their varying industries – from protecting vital healthcare and data center systems against the damaging effects of power interruptions, to helping remote oil field workers communicate quickly through wireless networks, enabling greater degrees of safety and efficiencies. We also have clients that provide the technology behind powering LED lighting, and critical medical devices as well as embedded electronics that increase the reliability of UAVs.  The world is changing, and it’s so exciting to be a part of all of this. We love our clients, not just because they are our clients, but for making our world safer, more efficient and even fun! By the way, the next time you’re in an airport and your mobile phone or tablet is running on empty, find a FuelRod kiosk and purchase a FuelRod mobile charger for just $20. Use it up and exchange it for free! Anyone travelling and on a deadline will especially appreciate this new convenience. I know I do.

Until next time,

PJ Jennings

Reports of the Death of Grammar are Greatly Exaggerated

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Grammar_4Paraphrasing the famous quote by Mark Twain on his reported death is an appropriate way to begin this blog. With tweeting and texting often considered the new-normal way of communicating quickly, you may wonder why anyone still cares about proper grammar, correct spelling, punctuation and syntax. Despite the shorthand uses of words and phrases, however, it is still important to use proper grammar and punctuation when writing and speaking. Why?  To begin with, proper grammar captures your readers or listeners’ attention as they concentrate on what you have to say and not your mistakes.

No matter what language you use to speak or write, using correct grammar not only helps you communicate more effectively and precisely, but also helps you avoid embarrassment. Globally, the proper use of grammar shows that the speaker or writer is an educated person who understands the subtleties of the language. Conversely, grammatical errors can indicate that you are not focusing on your words or, that perhaps you do not understand the mechanics of your own language.

Some grammar errors lead to sentences that mean something, just not what you intended. For example, misplacing the modifier “only” could lead to this sentence: “I only drive to work and back.” If you meant that you never walk to work, nor take a subway, great. However, if you meant that the only route you ever drive is the one between your house and your company headquarters, and you never drive anywhere else, then you should have said, “I drive only to work and back.”

Even if your grammar is good enough to make others understand what you mean, constant errors might give them the impression that you are not paying attention to what you are saying or writing. Even if they otherwise would think highly of your words, your errors might simply distract them. Good grammar keeps your readers or listeners focused on what you have to say.

Perhaps most importantly of all, in formal communications, such as a company’s annual report, one or more of your shareholders may be a retired English teacher who still remembers the explicit rules as well as the nuances of English grammar.  Offend her, and she may sell her stock and make a fuss at your annual shareholders’ meeting. Please her, and she may buy hundreds more of your shares and tweet about your company’s attention to detail to her 985,302 Twitter followers.

This post written by J&A account executive, Pat Rarus.

Public Relations and Social Media – Not mutually exclusive!

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Lately, in the B2B world, I’ve run across folks who think that PR and social media are two distinctly different activities. While metrics and particular mechanics can be different i.e., posting a YouTube video instead of pitching a journalist, the goal is the same – get people talking favorably about your company, product or service.

I compare social media much like going to a party where you don’t know many people. You walk in, introduce yourself (remember your first Tweet?) and engage in conversation. Invariably, the conversation gets to the discussion of what you do for a living, family, sports, church, etc. As the conversation progresses, you find that you have a common interest, and the person you’re speaking to knows three other people with the same likes. And there you go.

Social media has been around for millennia (cave paintings, anyone?) we just didn’t realize it. In its simplest form, social media comes down to communicating – telling your story. When you need help publicizing your story, that’s where Jennings & Associates come in. Whether you want to be on the front cover of a top-tier industry publication or need to publicize your company’s blood drive to support a neighbor’s ailing child, we use all the tools in our publicity arsenal to create awareness, impact and loyalty.

PR and social media have become one.

Happy Marketing!

PJ Jennings, President

Jennings & Associates Communications

www.JandAcommunications.com

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