About Jeannette Bordeau

Jeannette Bordeau is public relations assistant at Kimball Communications and looks to write on the agency's best practices, as well as comprehensive insights to the PR industry.

You’re the One that I Want

With the introduction of Vine in January, business owners and managers have all the more reason to ask, “What do I want out of my business’ online relationships?” Take Valentine’s Day as a reminder to think about what social media outlets and features are the best matches for your business.

Admiralspalast Berlin / Foter / CC BY-ND

Here are five points to follow to keep successful relationships with your customers or clients on social media:

1. Social is Seductive, so be Selective

Social media can be seductive with the amount of platforms out there, and all of the various tactics one can use to reach a customer – from hashtags to video. We only see this increasing in 2013 and beyond. But, this means businesses – both B2C and B2B – need to be more and more selective about what social networks and services they include in their social media strategy.

Businesses should also focus their social strategy because users will more often pick and choose which social networks they want to pay to join. As seen with YouTube, social media will continue to be monetized. Developing the verbal and visual content that make the relationship between a business and its followers work takes time – and money. So, choose your accounts carefully.

2. Find your Social Media Sweetheart

Just like magazines and newspapers have varied demographics for readership, so do social media channels. In the crowd of companies and organizations online, you have to choose the best ways to reach your audience.

Plus, businesses don’t want just any number of followers – they want the right ones. Social media is just another powerful tool to engage the important customers and decision makers that affect your business. Don’t waste your time on Facebook if all of your potential fans have moved their attention to Twitter. To find where you want to attract followers, and what to expect from some social media outlets throughout the year, here are a few insights. Forbes shares specific stats for B2B businesses.

3. Ask, What are you Willing to Share?

In 2013, consider sharing content that is visual. More than ever, online users don’t just appreciate visual content, they expect it. Social media speaker and author Mari Smith called 2013 the “year of the video.” Before the New Year even began, we also saw social media becoming increasingly visual.

Now you have a surplus of options for visual content strategies – from quarterly infographics to a monthly Google+ Hangout video series or weekly original photos. If Vine is any indication, developers will continue to expand the multimedia possibilities that businesses can take advantage of online.

4. Fine Dining is Better than Fast Food

Image aside, be sure that any content you produce is original with substance. Consistently allotting time to develop quality content on one or two social outlets can pay off more than publishing watered-down content over eight platforms.

As Social Media Strategist Jason Miller writes, “The cookie-cutter SEO driven, keyword stuffed, generic regurgitated content is becoming a sort of white noise that blocks all of the real quality stuff from surfacing.” Remember to also give time for accuracy, grammar and punctuation (“If Your Writing Sucks, So Will Your Content”).

5. Be a Matchmaker

When pursuing your social media outlets, always integrate them with one another to ensure you’ve hit all of your target audiences. And, keep in mind how your social media sites will appear on all forms of mobile devices, as this is where your readers will live, more and more. According to the Nielson State of the Media report, consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile devices increased 63 percent in 2012.

The Social Media Examiner predicts that a new social media platform that “no one saw coming” will surface in 2013 (#16 on this list). If this does transpire, just consider if the social media site will marry well with your business plan before you start yet another online relationship.

Photo credit: Admiralspalast Berlin / Foter / CC BY-ND


The 2013 Communications Intern

While we recently posted on the current meaning of social media, we’ve also got a new perspective on the 2013 intern. In the coming year, interns – from public relations to social media and graphic design positions – should look at their internship search and their experience in a new light.

1. Change your way of thinking.

After completing two communications internships, one of which turned into my current public relations assistant position at Kimball Communications, I suggest a new way of looking at internships.

Think of an internship as a highly important class in college or as the new “grad school.” Communications majors do not often go to grad school after college – they go to work. But, first, you have to pay your dues. If you think of completing an internship as taking an educational course that will help your career, and you plan for the investment accordingly, it won’t seem like just an extra “thing” that you have to do on top of your undergraduate classes. Internships are unfortunately added expenses, but they are necessary in today’s job market.

And, don’t just think of internships as resume builders; they give you an opportunity to start building the skills to break into the communications industry. It’s up to you to take advantage of this. Ragan’s PR Daily suggests ways to do so in these 50 tips.

2. Understand what you’re searching for.

When I was pursuing internships in undergraduate school, I discovered two types of internships: 1) Those that offer a-part-of-the-team experience and 2) Those that hire interns to work from the bottom up – which isn’t necessarily negative.

If you know your top goal is to work in a highly competitive corporation or industry, then running errands or faxing media alerts is sometimes just a stepping stone in that particular job. You have to start somewhere if that you want to go into a specific field.

However, if you have no preference for an industry and are looking for a general communications internship, then search for one in which you will gain quality experience. Don’t settle for an internship where all you do is get coffee if you don’t want to be sitting at the receiving end one day.

Simply put, decide where you want to end up and search for the appropriate internships, with the right people, to lead you to that goal. Also – be prepared to change your end goal on the way. As many have said, internships are sometimes more about what you don’t want to do than what you want to do. For specifics on landing an internship, Ron Culp, PR expert and professional director of the graduate PR and advertising program at DePaul University, offers advice in his blog.

3. Prepare to be well-rounded.

While some communications internships may have a title, not all internships are specific to that title. Interns today can specialize in a certain area, but are still asked and expected to fulfill other projects. So, be prepared to schedule social media posts as an event planner or edit a video in between drafting an article.

Also, get used to the idea that PR agencies are going partially or fully virtual, and so are internships. The renowned Internship Queen Lauren Berger gives the positives of virtual internships in this article.

More importantly than the work itself – students or post-grads need to absorb their overall time in the office. These experiences introduce the language used in the field and the different types of office atmospheres (we prefer a casual environment here.) This understanding of office cultures is all a part of being a communications professional, and it will help prepare you for any type of job you go after post-internship in the 2013 PR and social media world.

Here at Kimball Communications, we’re looking for our 2013 graphic design intern and we look forward to your applications.

Small Business Saturday

Thanksgiving has always meant turkey, stuffing, gravy and family, but what about and credit cards, shopping bags and cash registers opening at midnight? Although Black Friday has been creeping into Thanksgiving, some consumers have been generating more interest in the shopping day that includes a full day’s break after the feast: Small Business Saturday.

Historic Third Ward Milwaukee / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

More than ever, this two-year-old shopping event calls for small businesses to undertake special public relations and social media efforts. The Shop Small organization has completed a lot of the leg-work as far as social media, with more than 3.1 million supporters on Facebook.  Plus, the American Express-sponsored event has advertised a $25 gift card offer to cardholders who purchase at small businesses on Saturday, November 24.

However, small businesses should develop a social media plan, tailored to their own shops. By participating in the event through social networking efforts, you can contribute to the community-based “buy local” efforts in your area—as well as help drive your sales. According to the “Shop Small” infographic, independent retailers that are in communities with a “buy local” initiative reported revenue growth of 5.6% on average in 2010, compared to 2.1% for those elsewhere.

The Shop Small website provides pre-made, editable email messages and posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for the convenience of small businesses. Whether your business follows these outlines or creates your own messages, we’re offering a few tips in spreading the word:

  1. Stick to your usual platforms Now is not the time to open a social media account to promote this weekend’s event. Continue posting where you have already built your fan base, whether this be through your Facebook page, an email account, or simply the window of your store (you can download free “Shop Small” signage.)
  2. Control your posts – Avoid posting too little so that the message does not go out, but do not post so much that you bother customers. Post enough so that you show your involvement and share how you are participating,
  3. Thank your customers – Do more than just announce the event; give your customers a reason to come out with any special offers or rewards. Then, thank the customers for their support through your original communications channels.

As a small business, we appreciate the efforts of this day in supporting small businesses, as it proved last year with these shops.

As PR professionals, we also applaud American Express for conceiving the idea for the event and setting an example for an increasingly successful – and smart – integrated public relations, marketing and social media campaign for their own business.

We’ll be shopping small and local at the Easton, PA Farmers Market. Who are you supporting this Small Business Saturday?

Photo credit: Historic Third Ward Milwaukee / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Sandy, Superstorm, Frankenstorm—How Agencies Should Handle Any Storm

Solitude / Foter / CC BY-SA

Like many fellow communications professionals, hearing the words “Frankenstorm” didn’t scare us away from our workdays this week. Some of us may have faced the effects of Hurricane Sandy head-on like one Philadelphia editor, but, for many of us, we could sit at home and work right from our smartphones and laptops without having to feel a raindrop (hopefully.)

So, when the business world is taking a “hurricane day,” what do you do? The answer to this is something agencies hopefully had prepared yesterday.

PR agencies can’t put a “Closed” sign on their email accounts or turn off their smartphones just because they can’t drive to work. Unless major wires are destructed or phones lose the last of their battery life, PR agencies can remain open for business.

Employees need to be prepared to deliver to their clients, communicate effectively with one another and, most importantly, protect themselves, whether a record-breaking hurricane hits or the power just happens to blow out on a perfectly sunny day.

The Quiet Before the Storm

Just as you would prepare for a client—prepare your own crisis communications plan before the event of a crisis. The news and National Weather Service prepared us for a worst case scenario for this #Superstorm, so agencies should be just as ready for their clients and themselves.

As Entrepreneur.com suggests, assess any possible risks your company may face, including weather events and property damage. Moreover, consider what to do if key employees are absent or unavailable; keep contact lists and passwords in a safe, accessible place.

Make the communications plan known to employees throughout the year so your team can navigate as smoothly as possible through a workday with turbulent weather.

On the Big Day

Just like any regular morning meeting, the first step in tackling a storm is to set up a virtual team meeting and prioritize. Over a conference line or chat room, discuss top deliverables that must be completed.

Next to consider is your clients. Alert your clients via email, Twitter—any channel necessary to inform them that you are available to fulfill their needs.

Throughout the day of a disaster, keep your co-workers and clients continually updated on work progress, as well as your safety, and follow these tips from PR News to work from home most successfully.

Finally, keep yourself safe and pass work onto others if you begin lose access to forms of communication. And, if you find yourself sitting in the dark, pull out your nearest candle, take out the old ereader—I mean book—and just wait until the storm passes.

Photo credit: Solitude / Foter / CC BY-SA