New Client Excitement – How to be a Good Social Media Guide

I just had an initial phone meeting with a prospective new client, and I am excited. It allowed me to articulate several aspects of the PR / social networking niche I am filling: Social media strategist, or Social Media PR, no I like Social Media Guide – I don’t like 1st two over-used phrases, but they can help forma  picture – to me they all mean assisting clients (small business owners, other bloggers, coaches, speakers, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs) with mapping out the right online social media spaces for them, and showing them how to navigate these in an authentic way that will allow them to expand their brand and build their business. I do not want to do it for them, I want to show them how to do it for themselves – I enjoy sharing these new resources with people and watching the light go on when they “Get IT! ”

Many small business people and bloggers know how to do whatever it is they do, and they do it well. What they may not know how to do is how to effectively expand the reach of the brand that they have worked so hard to build, and tell people about it in meaningful, effective ways that get people to take action.  What I do well is connect people to the information, tools, resources and the people they need to both do what they do better, and plug them in to the networks that exist, (from getting coverage in newspapers, magazines radio and TV, to creating a rich online presence through blogging, Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and more) so that more people know and hear about what they do, and how well they do it.  I can help you connect with a larger, more targeted audience in authentic ways, if you are willing. That’s what I do well. I’m tech savvy, and I speak both Technoese and English, and can translate between the two in a way that does not intimidate those who consider themselves less tech-comfy.

My definition of PR is connecting organizations (businesses; non-profits, museums and public gardens; or individual small business owners and bloggers) to the right audiences: prospective and/or current clients, customers, members, readers). The social media piece of it, is just learning to use new online tools and adapting our approach to be effective in those places. Thanks to Geoff Livingston for asking for that definition at a conference where I formulated the answer.

Many folks can and do choose to explore this new landscape on their own, cool! But others realize that they are too busy enough doing what they do to reinvent the wheel; and they realize that to hit the road and gain traction, they need a colleague who is familiar with these online spaces.  In the social media, social networking sphere, PR professionals are often given little respect.  Sometimes it’s from the bigger social media players who have been in it from the start and learned it all themselves and say – “you don’t need to pay $15,000 a month to learn this.” They are right, you don’t.

Many business people hire accountants, and office staff or virtual assistants, and use coaches and various consultants so that they can focus on what they do well.  Why not a hire a social media guide: someone  who enjoys ferreting out the tools they need (discarding those that are irrelevant), show them how they work, and what are the best practices; and connect them with the right places to use these tools to get results for their business, blog or niche. That’s who I am. My background is not that of a major PR agency pushing a variety of products.  I come from a kinder, gentler public relations background; I have 18 years of experience in traditional PR – I come from a non-profit public garden, museum, attraction background.  I’m used to reaching out to reporters, editors and bloggers and building relationships with those who want the information I am giving them. I do my research; I am used to finding out the right contact at the right publication, then finding the right aspect or angle of the story that makes it new and fresh and gets the, “yes, we’ll consider doing a story.”  I have spent the last two years taking these traditional, old-school PR skills and learning to apply them to this new world.

More to come tomorrow – This post introduces you some of the ways I work in this new social media space, tomorrow I’ll lay out a plan to help you connect.  For some readers it may be talking about familiar topics, for others it may bring a fresh approach.  I look forward to engaging in the conversation with you – We’re all learning as we go along, even the big social media GURU’s, because the landcape is alwasy changing – but I’m still having a blast on the ride!

You can find me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin

on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR (no caps needed, it just makes it easier to read)

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