Evolve CommunicationsArticles by: Daniel

Posts By: Daniel

Finding Time to Manage Social Media

eggtimer

One of the most common issues facing marketers—particularly at smaller organizations—is finding time to do everything that’s on their plate. This is particularly true of managing social media. Most organizations have at least a Facebook and Twitter account, which in and of themselves can be particularly time consuming.

Some clients come to Evolve Communications looking for a social media strategy. They want all the big ideas and all bells and whistles, and we’re happy to work with them to develop a solid action plan. Some want to execute the strategy themselves, but they often lack the resources to properly manage them. A common part of our planning now includes resource management.

Here are a few tips and tricks we have learned through the years that can help you be more efficient in your time.

Only do what you can

There’s no need to take on more than what you can handle. You don’t necessarily have to blog (we generally recommend blogs for organizations that want to document their progress). There’s also no need to have a presence on every single social network. There are just too many to keep up with!

Instead, choose the activities that will have the most impact. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised. Too often, organizations feel they need to be doing an activity just because their competitors are doing them. Evaluate each channel independently and determine if your audience is using those channels. For each channel, develop a rational and an independent objective (inform our audiences, engage new customers, etc.).

If you’re organization has a lot of people doing a wide variety of tasks, ask them on a regular basis to update you on what they’re working on and see if there’s anything that might be interesting. You might also take a moment to briefly highlight your coworkers on what’s been happening online. This might be on a weekly basis, or less frequent; experiment with what works and see if you can find a balance between helpful and annoying.

Once you do this, it’ll be much easier to see what’s worth your time and energy—and what isn’t.

Set up your sources

Social media is a long-term effort. Therefore, it’s essential to set up the sources for where you’ll get your content in advance. Do some Google news searches for relevant topics and set up Google alerts. Set up some preliminary Twitter lists and keyword searches and save them in your Twitter client of choice (ours is Hootsuite, by the way). Set up an RSS feed reader (Feedly is our weapon of choice here) and subscribe to the RSS feeds of all the relevant websites and blogs.

Carve out the time

There’s no way around this one. If you want to seriously use social media to advance your organization’s goals, then you need to carve out the time. Even when you have many, many other things on your to do list.

How much time? We often make the following recommendation for how to make sure you get what you need out of your time spent managing social media:

Monthly Social Media Management Implementation Schedule
Frequency Time Spent Activities
4x/week 15 minutes Post timely content from current events/newsfeeds/saved keyword searches; Engage 2 people with replies or RTs; Follow 1 new person; respond to any replies or comments;
1x/week 30 minutes Schedule weekly evergreen content; Engage 5 people; Follow 3 new people; send all-staff social media update
2x/month 45 minutes Review and update Twitter lists; Engage 10 people; Follow 10 new people
1x/month 60 minutes Review analytics; optimize content; source new content

Stay focused

It’s easy to lose focus when you’re doing social media. You go onto Facebook to post an update and you think, “I’ll just take a quick peak at what my friends are doing.” Next thing you know, you’ve been sucked into a vortex of likes, comments on other people’s statuses. It happens to the best of us.

Our recommendation here is a little old fashioned: Get an egg timer. Hold yourself to getting as much done in the 15, 30, 45 or 60 minute increments we mention above. You’ll be amazed at how much you will get done in these short bursts.

Of course, there are plenty of other things you can do to ensure that you keep your social media content fresh and your presences lively. If you need help thinking of things, we love to brainstorm. Feel free to reach out on our Facebook page or connect with us in any way you’d like.

 


Top 5 Questions Startups Ask about PR

newspaper

This last weekend, we led a workshop called BrandHack for Startups at the new Betamore in Baltimore. We invited a variety of speakers to come and give talks about their areas of marketing expertise, and of course, we gave a talk about PR. Rather than flip through a boring deck (does the world really need one more PowerPoint presentation?), we chose to have an open talk about what startups really need to know about PR. Here’s what we talked about.

What is PR??

First, it’s not advertising. A client once showed us a copy of an ad they ran in a magazine and said, “We’ve gotten great PR out of this.” (To this day, we’re still not sure what the client meant.) Instead, it’s a deep focus on building relationships, whether that’s directly through social media or, more traditionally, indirectly through media. It can also include other aspects such as government relations, investor relations, crisis management, and community relations. The common theme: Relations.

When should I launch my product?

The key thing to focus on here is to launch is when your product does exactly it promises to do. Don’t worry about all the bells and whistles. Don’t worry if some features aren’t ready to be implemented or are in the works. Focus on the one core feature and make sure it works. Then launch and build from there.

When do I need PR?

Here’s a pretty standard laundry list of times when you need to engage in public relations activities:

  • Launches
  • Establish/grow userbase
  • Attract investment
  • Earn credibility/recognition for a new technology
  • Enter a new market
  • Position company for purchase
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Mitigate negative perceptions

Do I need to be in TechCrunch?

500 Startups founder Dave McClure once Tweeted, “TechCrunch doesn’t pay the bills.” (Sorry, the tweet’s too old and isn’t publicly available any more.) The answer, of course, is NO! The bottom line is that you need to be in the media outlets that your audiences consume.

How do I get the media to pay attention to me? 

There are a lot of ways that a startup can get some media attention, but the first and most important one is to simply be awesome. Startups achieve that by focusing on what sets them apart, what differentiates them. That, and focusing on the problem that the company is trying to solve. Failing that, do something outrageous, like getting a pie thrown in your face.

Most importantly, always remember to answer the question: So What? If you’re not telling a journalist why what your company does matters, then you’ll never get the media attention you deserve!


What to look for in a CMO

cmo_chief_marketing_officer_tshirt

The other day, a prospective client asked us what they should look for in a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). This prospective client is a very early-stage startup, but one with very big and ambitious plans. They have a fairly detailed business plan, and the founder/CEO only recently pulled the trigger and quit a full-time gig to run his startup. They’re pre-revenue, only have a rudimentary version of their product, and they are on the hunt for investors to help get them off the ground.

This startup is clearly planning as much as they can, and working to move forward methodically. And at some point, they’re going to need a CMO, and the CEO asked what he should look for. Here’s how we suggest he- and other early-stage startups approach it:

  • Figure out when the time is truly right. You don’t necessarily need a CMO before you’ve developed a product that’s worth selling. You will DEFINITELY most need a CMO when it’s time to scale. Which means you need a solid product, not just an MVP. Hiring too soon might be a waste of precious resources, while hiring too late could be a grave misstep.
  • Look for someone who understands technology. Marketing has become as much about the technology we use as it is about the strategy and the creative. CMOs need to be able to talk to your company’s CTO; they need to understand how your customers are using technology, and then find ways to use those technologies to spread your company’s message. They also need to understand reporting technology. So much is trackable today–there’s so much data available. CMOs don’t necessarily need to know every aspect of every technology, but they do need to have enough understanding to know how to pull things together in order to master all of these facets.
  • Look for someone who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty. Marketing is a team sport. There’s no one person who can possibly do everything, nor are there enough hours in the day. The result is that it’s not uncommon for CMOs to be master delegators. There’s nothing wrong with that–when you’re in a larger organization and your CMO is commanding a large team. When you’re in a startup, though, everyone needs to pitch in and do their part. The CMO who knows how to get stuff done–either individually or through other people–is indeed a rare, valuable find.

NOTE: Even if you’re not ready to hire a CMO, you still need to promote your company! Check out our Rocket Packs for Startups to see how we can help.

Image above of the CMO T-shirt, available for purchase here