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So Long, Social Media Mediocrity Part 1: Paid and Organic Social Media Strategy

September 4, 2015 | by Jordan Overton

Today, upwards of 1 billion people will log into Facebook, which means that at least one in seven people across the entire globe will be using social media at some point throughout the day.

So, how can we increase our chances of both reaching and impacting such a large potential audience?

During this four-part series, Muriel Cross and I will help you say “so long” to social media mediocrity by diving into planning and content generation; effective and efficient implementation of digital strategies; as well as evaluation through analytics for great social media campaigns.

Social media advertising has become essential in the last few years, so I want to start us there and answer four big questions that often come up when deciding if a paid campaign is worth the investment for any organization.

What does a paid campaign actually cost?

Social media ads tend to be significantly cheaper than their traditional counterparts. You can do a quick $20 campaign over a couple of days or spend a few thousand across several months depending on your goal. Luckily, the advantages don’t stop at tailor-made budget options. Social ads are also highly targeted, easily customizable and flexible in their implementation.

The design and format of each campaign can easily be decided based on your individual goal. Are you trying to drive traffic to an external site? Promoting a new brick-and-mortar location? Or are you looking for increased engagement such as likes, retweets, etc?

The appearance, messaging and call-to-action buttons will shift depending on your desired outcome. You can also target very specific audiences. In the case of brick-and-mortar promotions you are able to target the ad based on location, whereas when you want to promote a new product you may target based on an audience’s interests. You can also pause a campaign if you reach your goal earlier than expected, or edit the budget as you go if you feel your ad is not reaching the proper audience.

When have you ever heard of a TV station or newspaper giving you that kind of control?

Can paid campaigns supplement what I am currently doing?

Anytime you have an upcoming event, great downloadable content or a high profile media hit, a paid campaign can increase the chance these items will reach your target audience.

In an oversaturated world, normal social outreach can often get lost in the shuffle. By adding promoted posts to your repertoire, you increase the prevalence of your outreach on the site. Lets say you have an event coming up and the local paper covers the story. Now you can boost the post or tweet to people in the area to share that coverage, putting it in front of more people who would have relevant interests.

As people begin to interact with your post, you will be able to engage with each of them in an organic way while additionally reaching out to the reporters’ or paper’s pages or handles to thank them. Paid is most effective when working in tandem with organic.

What can paid campaigns really accomplish?

The biggest advantage of paid outreach is its ability to segment and target your desired audiences. Organic is not guaranteed to reach your audience and even the members you have may not be interested in every aspect of your outreach. Due to Twitter’s real-time process and Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms, reaching your target audience is becoming more difficult than ever.

By targeting your audiences with a paid campaign, you are able to provide specific segments of the population with relevant content and draw in more engaged users.

Below is a summary of paid reach versus organic for a client’s ad. This shows that paid has a substantially higher impact in initial reach, but without organic interaction for support that reach will not maintain growth.

So, is it better to do paid or organic?

It is essential to define your goals first, but once you have a strategy in place, using both paid and organic outreach can substantially increase and enhance your online presence. Paid can help reach new people, but in order to retain that audience, regular organic outreach and authentic engagement are essential.

I hope this was a helpful introduction to improving your social media outreach and we look forward to teaching you much more in the coming weeks.

If you have questions, feel free to tweet me (@jordanoverton) or email me directly at joverton@bohlsengroup.com.

Suzanne Grossman

INTERN WEEK: FIVE LESSONS I’M TAKING AWAY FROM A SUMMER FULL OF WRITING

August 14, 2015 | by Bohlsen Group

by Suzanne Grossman

I’m an Indiana University journalism senior who for the past summer has had the pleasure of interning with some talented public relations professionals at Bohlsen Group in Indianapolis. They were brave enough to let me do some real writing, and here’s what I learned.

AP is still important – In my public relations courses at IU almost every professor emphasized that AP style is needed and necessary for any PR professional. However, since I’m the 20-something-year-old who knows better I didn’t believe them. I figured sure there may be a few useful AP style things to remember like datelines, but the rest probably isn’t a big deal. I was wrong. There are just as many, if not more, AP style books sitting around Bohlsen Group as there are at my student paper and people are always looking things up. So my advice: learn it now and make it stick with you.

Know your audience – While interning with Bohlsen I’ve had several opportunities to pitch story ideas to several different media genres and mediums. In doing this, I’ve learned I can’t just stick to a formula with writing press releases and pitch emails. I have to be a different kind of writer for each audience. Sure, a lifestyle magazine or blog might enjoy my cheesy pun or the dad humor I pride myself on, but a business outlet probably prefers a straightforward headline.

Make it relatable/timely – No matter what you are trying to get media attention for I firmly believe there is always a way to make it timely and relatable. While at Bohlsen Group, I’ve worked on press releases and pitches for several author publicity campaigns, and there’s always a time hook. Got a book about capitalism? Well the Supreme Court just ruled on Obamacare, which ties right in. Need to promote a novel about flawed people? You better believe I’m using Josh Duggar’s summer scandal. There is always new research happening, every day is the anniversary of something and news never stops. So stay up on those current events because journalists need relevance.

Rewriting is essential – The first draft is never enough. If you write a pitch and it fails it could just be one line that lost readers attention. Before I sent out anything to the media during this internship I sent it to a Bohlsen publicist to read over and get approval. Getting feedback from several different writers helped me expand my personal style. I used to be shy about sending my writing to my peers, but now I’ll always have at least one go-to critic.

You learn as you do – I’ve always struggled to view myself as a writer. Writers were always those creative types who in art class could magically craft clay vases as I struggled to doodle a dog. I’m the kind of person who loves routine. I’ll make the same meal for months straight to be more efficient, and I wake up three hours before my first class to make sure I didn’t forget to do any homework. I pride myself on being boring because at least I’m steady. Creativity scares me because it doesn’t come naturally to me. I always viewed it as an inborn gift. You either have it, or you don’t. But here at Bohlsen I’ve learned the more you practice writing, the better you get. You can foster creativity, you just can’t be afraid to try.

The overall lesson here is that you will never learn or improve your craft without trying new things. As I stated, I was nervous about some of my writing skills, but by not being afraid to ask for advice and really allowing myself to be tested I have improved greatly. Don’t be afraid to take a chance!

Suzanne Grossman spent her summer at Bohlsen Group as a marketing and public relations intern.  She is a Senior at Indiana University majoring in Journalism with a specialization in PR and Advertising.

Joshua Heath

INTERN WEEK: Quality through comfort

August 13, 2015 | by Bohlsen Group

By Joshua Heath

A mentor once told me, “A true PR professional will not only adapt to his or her environment, but they’ll be able to brand themselves with their true personality.”

On my first day, after talking and introducing myself to Bohlsen team members, it was obvious that this agency was full of individuals with different ideas and personalities. However, this melting pot produces a creative and comfortable environment that makes it a privilege to work here.

To provide future Bohlsen employees or interns with a reference point, the agency specifically tells employees that this is meant to be a fun and easygoing environment, and as advertised, it’s just that. As you tour around the office, it’s obvious that comfort is a significant part of the culture. The clothing policy is not only designed to allow employees to express themselves but to make sure they’re able to create a relaxing experience. Similarly, there are areas around the office that are specifically made for this. Whether it be the brainstorming room or the corner of comfortable couches and chairs, there’s something to relieve stress even on those manic days.

As I’m sure many interns before me have stated, you’re given the freedom to work creatively and independently. With proper training and guidance from co-workers, I was able to assist them by creating social media content for different organizations. I was also given the opportunity to develop a communications plan for a real client by using my opinions and knowledge of the subject at hand. To say that these projects improved my quality of work would be an understatement.

At a young age, I was always told to surround myself with people that know and care about what they’re doing. With that being said, I had a great time working alongside Karen. Although her schedule is quite hectic and busy, she’s able to take time out of her day to schedule meetings just to go over any questions I may have. She has given me the opportunity to build my portfolio while making sure that I’m challenging myself with the work that I’m doing.

Before I started here, I always told myself that I’d like to work somewhere that allowed me to contribute right away – Bohlsen did. As I mentioned earlier, not only did they let me, but they trusted me to do so. We have to understand that as PR pros, we’re eventually expected to work independently. It should also be mentioned that although we’re all different, each and every person here approaches their work with pride and sincerity.

As I analyze these last few months, I see a period of substantial growth and satisfaction. Furthermore, my experience has left me humbled, but more importantly, with a sense of gratitude for being selected to work in such an amazing and comfortable environment.

Joshua Heath spent his summer at Bohlsen Group as an intern in our nonprofit division.  He is a graduate of IUPUI.

 

Joseph Olivieri

INTERN WEEK: Social Media Marketing

August 12, 2015 | by Bohlsen Group

By Joseph Olivieri, Events and Entertainment Intern

Throughout my internship at Bohlsen Group, I was fortunate enough to work closely with clients’ social media accounts to help generate publicity for their events and businesses. It was an experience that I really enjoyed because I consider executing a successful marketing campaign to be fun, and at times even exhilarating.

I started my social media journey the first day of the internship, when I was assigned to assist on a few different accounts. It was an extremely rewarding experience not only in that I was able to build their networks, but also that I was able to see firsthand how the organizations had a positive impact on their communities. As the summer continued, I was given more responsibility and was able to assist with the social media accounts for different organizations across the U.S.

When I first started the internship, I was familiar with social media marketing on a basic level; mainly using Facebook and Twitter to market for a band that I started my freshman year of college. However, at the time I didn’t realize that my attempts were resulting in a less than optimal increase in publicity, even though I had a marketable product. This internship has helped me strengthen my ability to properly assess whether or not a social media marketing campaign is successful. With only 2 weeks left of the internship, here are three of my most important aspects of social media marketing that I’ve gathered from my experience here at Bohlsen Group.

Language & Vision

Using a consistent language that is appropriate for the organization being marketed is key. It needs to be client approved and remain consistent so that followers can develop a relationship with the account. If you’re not using the correct language, then you can’t accurately push the client’s vision to its audience, which could eventually cause the brand to take a hit.

Connect

Arguably the main reason that social media exists is to connect with followers. Making them feel as if they are a valued part of the movement, which they are, can be very beneficial and profitable to the brand. This includes regularly responding to tweets, thanking individual followers for their involvement and always staying in touch with the organization’s partners.

Always Stay Active

It’s very important that social media accounts are always active and generating new content, as this helps to keep the organization relevant at all times. Depending on the client’s preferences, the number of tweets or posts per day can vary, but having a consistent schedule ensures that there will never be too long of a gap between them. Thankfully, programs like Hootsuite really help make this possible. Being in the office only 3 days per week, I was always able to have new content coming out Friday-Monday through the tweet scheduler.

I’ve really enjoyed being an intern at Bohlsen Group, but the past 2.5 months have gone by way too fast and I’m not yet ready to give up my social media responsibilities!

Joe Olivieri spent the summer as an Events & Entertainment intern at Bohlsen Group.  He is a Senior at Indiana University majoring in Arts Management with minors in Business and Marketing.

Meredith Reed

INTERN WEEK: Top 3 skills for being an awesome intern

August 11, 2015 | by Bohlsen Group

By Meredith Reed

Undoubtedly, many students and recent grads experience the same internships I have had in the past. You work with one person who dishes out all of your assignments. You sit in the same cubical the entire time and might experience an event or two throughout the summer. You work ad nauseam on spreadsheets of numbers and tweets. You are expected to work video editing miracles after recording the grainiest flip camera known to man. Through your unexpected experiences, building useful tools and skills puts you ahead of the pack.

After working three other internships, I was expecting Bohlsen Group to follow the same pattern. To my surprise, the internship program goes outside of the box. Meeting and working with everyone in the office is a breath of fresh air. Working with the Capstone Project is one of the coolest portions of the internship. Seeing the response to your writing from the media is an eye-opening experience.

Need a few tips? Here are three unexpected skills and observations I gained while working with Bohlsen Group:

  1. Being an Internet Creep- On many occasions, I’ve worked on a book campaign that has an eccentric theme. Staying ahead of trends and movements within topics can pose quite a challenge. To find the right podcasts, radio shows, blogs and magazines, tools like Cision can help speed the process along, but nothing is quite as thrilling as being an internet creep and finding the perfect outlet for your author. FINALLY, an internship that appreciates the dark arts!
  1. Evolving to the life of a nomad- Remember what I said about being stuck in a cubical? One of the best things about the BG internship was living the life of a nomad. Switching desks, using brainstorm spaces, taking over the big conference room not only makes you a more social intern, but it allows you to become more creative. Sometimes you need a change of space to come up with the best pitch. I do not claim to know anything about feng shui, but changing locations and living the nomadic work style might change the way you look at your work.
  1. Phone calls trump emails- Not going to lie, I know too many people who have a phobia of leaving messages on someone’s answering machine. I’ve also left my share of tongue tied messages on someone’s voice mailbox, but leaving someone a tongue-tied voicemail is infinitely better than copying and pasting a mass email. For a research project, myself and another intern contacted several companies in the Indianapolis area. Almost everyone I called reached out to me for more information. Emails get buried in cluttered inboxes, and you never know what opportunity you’re missing out on if you let unread messages pile up. If you need to reach out to someone, swallow your phobia and pick up the phone.

While these are helpful tips, make sure you ask questions, listen to constructive criticism and take every opportunity available. Take advantage of all your internship has to offer because it will prepare you for challenges later in your career.

Meredith Reed spent her summer as a Public Relations & Marketing intern at Bohlsen Group. She is a graduate of DePauw University.