Social PR News

How to Make the Most of Trade Shows & Live Events

Hubspot Social PR NewsOur team is gearing up for back-to-back trade shows this week and happened to come across Hubspot’s timely article, “Getting the Most From Live Events: A Guide for Attendees, Hosts & Participants.” The article reported a shocking statistic – 80% of companies don’t even follow up with leads after trade shows.


How can that be? With every wise business person shouting, “NETWORK!” from the rooftops, how are marketers ignoring this advice when it comes to the biggest networking opportunity there is — face-to-face live events.


If you jump on over to Hubspot (link above) they’ve outlined in detail how attendees, exhibitors, speakers, and event hosts can take full advantage of these opportunities. Here are three quick tips we’ve developed:


  1. How to remember people: If your goal is to network (which it should be) it may be hard to remember all those faces and names once you’ve got a stack of business cards in front of you. Jot down notes about who you’re meeting or what you spoke about on the backside of their card in order to jog your memory later. Be prepared for high-tech folks with digital business cards – here are 8 free business card apps suggested by Mashable.
  2. How to stay on task: It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the commotion of an event and end up getting sidetracked. Don’t waste the money you’ve invested to attend the event by ending up in the corner catching up with old friends. Make sure you define your goal before you step through the front door. Go in with a purpose and don’t forget to follow through.
  3. How to break through the noise: No doubt there will be many other individuals and companies with the same goals or agenda as you, so you must go in prepared to stand out from the rest. Be ready to market yourself competitively. Give out free samples of your products or services to drive traffic towards your booth, or come up with some other creative ways to set yourself and your booth apart.


How are you getting your ROI for live events? We’d like to hear your methods of maximizing your investment of time, money and energy by fostering relationships that last past the showroom floor.

My Industry Is Not On Social Media

Social Media Communications ChannelsThe next time someone tells you, “My industry isn’t on social media,” pause and kindly say:


“The last time someone told me that, I walked out of the room. But I like you guys, so I want to help you see the light.”


Sadly, the last time I had this opportunity, I chickened out.


Actually, the last time I had this opportunity, I should have walked out!


If I hear one more person say, “I’m not on Twitter because I don’t care what you had for breakfast,” I may throw my breakfast up onto my iPad. Or maybe even that person’s Blackberry. (Yes, a little dig.)


We’ve overused the term social media. To our detriment, business leaders of organizations both big and small, have actually listened to the social media hype. But they are still not getting it.


I believe the term “social media” and an even older term “new media” should be banished from our vocabulary. In today’s world, it’s all about content. Content, and good brand stories, aren’t only king, but they are the center of our universe.


“If companies want to engage, learn, share and grow, then they need to develop and share their stories and at least test out all channels of communications – from traditional channels to innovative channels maturing every day.”


Yes, social media channels have content that not all people care about. Like what I had for breakfast and where I “checked in.” But so do traditional channels like TV, print and radio. We learn to block out what we don’t want to hear and consume what is valuable to our lives.


I thought we came a long way over the last few years with the explosion of new communications channels, but some are stuck and will never get out of the mentality that they don’t need to develop and share their story for success. And that’s a shame, because those organizations have great stories to tell and audiences willing to listen. And buy.

How to be innovative?

How to be innovative?


Marketing Innovators Luncheon Seminar
The Big Marketing Idea is Alive and Well in Chicago
As the Chicago Innovation Awards demonstrate year in and year out, Chicagoans take a backseat to nobody when i…

You need to be curious, not satisfied with the status quo, be a problem solver, and not really be a great manager! Great “one question” and answer from the Chicago Business Marketing Association.

Retainer is a Dirty Word

PR Social Media ActivityA rant. I apologize in advance.


I hate the word retainer. I think the word is used as an excuse when people are scared to spend on consistent communications activity – especially with PR and social media activity.


The word “retainer” should only be used when you pay someone to be “on call” for you at a moment’s notice. They may not do a darn thing in any given month, but when you call, they respond fast. Like in the legal profession. It makes sense to have your law firm “on retainer.” I think.


In PR and social media, as an example, a best practice is to pay a monthly fee for activity – not a “retainer.” The only way you are successful in the long term with PR and social media is when you are consistent over time. When you decide what “over time” means – three months, six months, 12 months…etc. – you then divide the total fee by number of months and you have a monthly fee. Not a retainer – but a monthly fee for consistent communications activity. Which, over time, will pay for itself.


So let’s stop using the word retainer. It’s a dirty word that stops progress.


Whew! I feel better now. Thanks.

We Love Holiday Letters!

Social PR HolidaysWe wish we received more holiday letters. Who wouldn’t? We love them. That’s why we put our own letter together highlighting how far we’ve come in the past year.Back in December 2010, we first incorporated Tell Your Story Brand Communications Inc. with a purpose to “make things happen for people so they can be happier and more successful.”


Too lofty of a purpose for a tiny, little agency? We don’t think so.


We’ve been inspired by “purpose-driven branding” thinking from Eduardo Conrado at rel=”nofollow”Motorola Solutions and Roy Spence, author of It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For. We saw them both speak in May at the National Business Marketing Association Conference in Chicago. If you ever get the chance, hear them speak.


We believe that thinking about your own personal purpose and the purpose of your business leads to inspiring work that really helps people grow professionally and personally. And we’ve put that thinking to action for several clients this year.


For Daymarck, a medical coding company in the home care industry, we help them communicate how they want to improve healthcare in this country by enhancing home care – one medical code at a time. We attended two of their trade shows in July in San Diego and in October in Vegas. We are an integral part of their team spreading the word and helping them grow.


For transportation company OnRamp Transportation Services and its service company Equinox, we developed emotionally-relevant communications (visual and verbal) communicating how they exist to help independent, hard-working truckers succeed in the rough world of driving a truck. We traveled with them to Dallas in August (Great American Trucking Show), to Ohio in July and to Indianapolis in September helping them share their story to the industry.


Social PR Manager

For drywall and plaster installer, Trinity Drywall, we hit on a key attribute they posses that is valued above all else by their customer, the general contractor. We helped them emotionally talk about how they help contractors “push the job” by eliminating “obstacles” that are ever-present on a job site. We traveled to their location in Fort Worth in February to meet with executives and nail down their messaging to the marketplace.


For DuPage Medical Group, a Chicago area physician’s group, who is looking to attract the best and brightest doctors from across the country to practice there, we developed an independent-minded and pointed advertisement appealing to the traits and wants/needs of this target audience. Didn’t have to travel far for that one.


For ifbyphone, a short cab ride away from our downtown Chicago offices, we conducted a social media audit in November and gave recommendations on how they can spread the word of their technology and point-of-view through various traditional PR and social media channels more effectively.


And in the pipeline for 2012 (cross your fingers for us) is a well-known career site and service, a major office equipment provider, a Chicago-based novelty candy company and many more.


As we continue our story into 2012 and beyond, we’ll always try to stay true to our purpose of making things happen so we can all be happier and more successful. If you are ready for a tiny little agency with a big purpose, give us a ring.


Please have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Holiday Season and New Year.


The Tell Your Story Team


P.S. Enjoy this video of holiday lights taken in a suburb of Chicago in Wilmette, IL. As George’s son states, “It’s amazing!”


Onramp Ad CampaignA quick thought on purpose during the holidays.As we celebrate the holiday season,we often reflect back on the year and develop plans for the future. We think about what we have accomplished with our lives both from a personal and professional perspective. Often we think of our own purpose in life and how we may be able to find true meaning for what we do every day. This holiday season, we hope you take time to reflect upon your purpose and if what you are doing both professionally and personally is helping you achieve your goals.


Now back to marketing.


Thinking about purpose for ourselves and our clients has been something Tell Your Story has been doing every day this year, and are looking to expand that even more in 2012. Getting to an organization’s core purpose makes marketing communications more compelling to our target audiences. Our purpose, if articulated correctly, can make a connection with our audience that is powerful, compelling and successful.


In June we had the privilege of attending the Business Marketing Association’s annual conference where Roy Spence, best-selling author of “It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For” and co-founder & chairman of ad agency GSD&M spoke about purpose-based marketing, a philosophy we embrace here at Tell Your Story.


Today, there’s a 5th “P” in marketing aside from product, price, placement and promotion – purpose. This is more than just your mission statement, which is how you’ll actually fulfill your purpose. Roy defined the 5th “P” by saying it’s a, “Definitive statement about the difference you want to make in the world.”


As we develop stories for our clients, we have applied Roy’s philosophy to our client work. As an example, when we were approached by OnRamp Transportation Services, a full-service transportation resource that offers both equipment and business services to independent truckers and transportation carriers, we discovered that their customers wanted to be independent, but did not want to go into the world of independent trucking alone. By identifying the problem facing potential users of OnRamp’s services, we were able to develop a clear and concise purpose to guide their communications strategy.


Purpose: Everything OnRamp does is to help you be more independent, successful and fulfilled within the transportation industry. 


So how are we working to achieve OnRamp’s purpose? In order to launch the company into the marketplace, we created brand awareness and worked to increase leads among independent truckers and small to mid-size carriers through the use of a full integrated campaign with a huge dose of Social PR. Our priorities were to introduce OnRamp to influential trucking and transportation media, develop long-term relationships with key media members and increase general awareness using social media. Results:


  • 142 articles in transportation trade, local and national media (both online and print)
  • These articles equiate to 2,058,847 impressions and advertizing equivalency of $343,915
  • 360+ visits to OnRamp websites from Social PR efforts
  • 1,700+ acts of social media engagement to date (comments, re-tweets, etc.)
  • 172,000+ social media impressions to date
  • 19 YouTube videos with over 1,500 views to date


Onramp Transportation Services
In Roy’s book he goes as far as to say, “When the ashes clear from the economic Armageddon, the only organization left standing will be the ones that actually stand for something. Without a purpose that improves peoples’ lives, and contributes to the greater good, organizations will struggle.”


To learn more about OnRamp Transportation Services click here or follow them on Facebook & Twitter.