Tag Archives: social media guide

Cathy Larkin Web Savvy PR Tips Series Intro

I’m posting a series of Web Savvy PR tips for small business, entrepreneurs, bloggers, speakers, authors, consultants, and non-profits to help folks share ways to use the social media and Online PR tools and to generate a conversation. My favorite quote is: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” Benjamin Disraeli. I’m sharing my riches here, to engage my readers in revealing their own knowledge and skills.

I’m putting short versions of these Web Savvy PR Tips on my Twitter page: http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR and then expanding the tips – on using Public Relations and social media to help expand your brand and reach – here on my blog. I will also be asking questions here on what you think of these tips – have they worked for you; do you have a better tip; does this particular tip annoy you when you see it used?

When I can, I will try to credit the source of the tip. If you know the source, or someone who has a similar idea, let me know. Some tips will be straight from others, most will have my perspective or take on them, some will be all mine, and some may be combinations that I’ve created from more than one idea.

Also – let me know what Traditional and Online Public Relations / Social Media questions you have; or topics you want to discuss and I’ll work it in. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll research it, interview someone or get another expert to guest post.

I got this twitter “tip idea” from renaissancedoc on Twitter. He was putting disaster prep tips on twitter and his blog during Hurricane Gustav in Sept. 2008.

You can access the series here on my blog for more detailed discussions than the short note on twitter, or find the short briefs and comment there too by going to http://search.twitter.com then put in #websavvypr tip and they will all come up.

In her Web Savvy PR business, Cathy Larkin acts as a Social Media Guide using her 18 + years of PR experience, combined with an intense study of social media, to assist small business, non-profits, consultants, authors, bloggers and speakers to get online and really use the tools that are right for them, to help expand their brands, build their businesses and have a bast while doing so. Also check http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin for more on her background.

How to Choose a Web Savvy Brand or Domain Name

I’ve been helping several clients answer the question: what is branding and how do I decide on a company brand or domain name especially online? Good domain names can be hard to find, do I use my own name, help?!  Many factors come into play in choosing a name or establishing a brand –

  • Your industry/area of expertise
  • how established your business is already
  • do you want to sell it later
  • and what is the central “IT”, the core take away you want your customers to get about your brand.

Branding is a balance of several factors.  How your audience, or current and potential customers, perceive your brand, and what their POV brings to the table is a factor that is becoming more important. Many American big-name brands became household names in the days when there were three TV channels that most of America watched.  Newer household brand names have taken advantage of the new playing field, finding creative ways to reach the audience through the internet and new social media tools.

But how does a small business owner, entrepreneur, or solopreneur go about leveraging the power of the internet? Guy Kawasaki referenced this in a  recent teleseminar for his new book Reality Check, that it is easier now that ever for the little guy. The open source, Web 2.0 tools can make you look as good as the businesses with millions behind them.  I add that, the small business owner might be able to do it better, as he is actually closer to his customer.  The small business can change course and integrate (or discard) new tools faster than the fortune 500’s can.

Back to  the practicalities of selecting a name.  If you are established, of course I hope you registered your company name long ago.  But sometimes a catch phrase or buzz word can work as well, as long as you can own, or live up to it.  A colleague and client of mine, John Reddish, a business consultant for over 30 years named his company name is Advent Management International, Ltd many years ago; his website is www.GetResults.com; his new business succession blog to help small business owners craft exit strategies and sell their companies is www.thesuccessionplanner.com.  In search engines – the name John Reddish leads you to each of his online “outposts.” For social media sites, his website name, which he builds into his tag line on everything he does, will work much better than his company name.  It intrigues you – may make you think, “yes, I want to  Get Results…I think I’ll check him out.” But using his own name, which has some internet cache as he has authored many articles and been quoted in on-line magazines, would also have been a good choice as well.

One advantage for entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, who are creating an new website on blogging platforms like WordPress, your own name can become your brand. One way it can help you, is that when people search for you by name, after meeting you for example, it gives you automatic “Google juice,” that is having a keyword or search term in a website name does still help with search engine rankings; although it is not the complete picture.  It would also become a part of every blog page title, which also helps with rankings as well.  However, you can also set up your blog to include your name in every page title by working with the Permalinks structure of post titles. The down side of using your own name, is unless you are well known, your name is an unknown. To a prospective client or customer, I gives no clues to your business niche, or identity.  It doesn’t help me pick you out from the crowd, unless someone else introduced me to you.

Two other difficulties with using your name as your brand or online identity include:

1) It may already be taken; I waited several years before a domain name re-seller released the .com version of my own name back into the internet names pool. I had to buy it through an auction, but was lucky and it only cost $10.

2) It will take time and work to become known for your name and niche.  It will take time either way, but perhaps more time with just your name, unless you are well-known in your industry, are an author, or the like.

3) If your business lends itself to resale, you should seriously consider not using your name as your website or as your social media handle, for somewhat obvious reasons. If you sell your company, the online branding becomes a part of the business valuation.  Your social media accounts can become part of the deal…if you’ve set them up that way.  This may be controversial, as the social media cityscape is built mainly on the strength of relationships.  I know of one blogger who was recently approached to purchase his domain, site and following for a hamdsome sum.  He turned it down.  It would have seriously hurt his credibility, and he would have had to start building all over again, not from scratch, but from much further down the lane than where his is today.

For my website, blog and new company name, I went with a dynamic phrase that was still available:  WebSavvyPR.com. This proves that there are still some good website names out there; it did take me a while to come up with a combination that I felt worked for me.  I also registered my own name, but have yet to set it up; at this point I will probably do a redirect, or set up a basic page with contact info, which will link to this site.  Also I felt that in the social networking world of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and with the hundreds of new media tools, a dynamic name would give me a hook.  I watched myself read a LinkedIn comment by someone who used their tagline/company name as their handle and I was intrigued enough to click through to her website.  I remembered that lesson. This is not always accepted practice on all sites, you have to learn the culture of each site or be branded a newbie, or a spammer.  My social media handle is CathyWebSavvyPR.  I’m trying to capture the best of both worlds, and keep my brand from feeling like a faceless company.  Although recently I have begun to use my brand without my first name, lest someone else grab it on various sites.

What do you think? Company name, brand/identity/hook, or personal name as brand. There is no perfect solution; and there are pros and cons on all sides of the question.

My post here was sparked by one Chris Brogan wrote today and got me thinking about it in a new way, and I’m headed there to add a comment to his site on one aspect of the question – Customer POV and branding.  I hope this post helps you find the sweet spot for creating your on-line brand identy.

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)

or e-mail me at Cathy [dot] Larkin [at] WebSavvyPR [Dot] Com ( to proect against spam) or use my comment form.

How To Create a Social Media PR Plan

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post. All of us, even the early social media pioneers, are learning as we go along, and you will too. You don’t need a plan, but having one, even a simple one, will move you forward in much more effective ways.  Here’s where having an ally, a social media guide of sorts, who is already out there and has tested the waters can be helpful. Although any plan needs to be tailored to the person, company or organization, here are what I see one set of steps in reaching out and effectively expanding a brand into this new web 2.0 frontier:

My favorite quote of recent days: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” Benjamin Disraeli

Step One begin to define your social media public relations road map:

  • Think about and refine your “it” – your “it” is what You and Your Work are all about – and how it can be used by those in that space: begin to step into and own your “it,” and use it to help others.*
  • Define your goals
  • Create actionable objectives**
  • Draft a plan, even if it is simple, writing it down helps, really it does.
  • Learn about the tools, and social networking places; they are easier than you might think, most are free
  • Be willing to spend some time each day using the tools and exploring the online spaces
  • Be willing to connect in the real world as well.  Combine your online networking with offline networking too.
  • Integrate these new tools and ideas into your current PR and marketing plans

*Thanks to John Reddish, www.GetResults.com, my mentor and colleague who has reminded me time an again to return to this idea to help me refine my own plans

**Thanks to Beth Harte for getting me really thinking about this concept in a new way at BarCamp Philly

Then Implement Step Two:

  • Find the networks your customers/clients are in
  • Learn the to use the tools they are using
  • Listen and learn the culture, see how others are connecting
  • Be willing to put in a little time. But be consistent. It is a balance – what is called social networking goes on 24/7, and it can be like meeting an octopus – you reach out to shake one hand/tentacle, and 8 others reach out, one after another and can overwhelm you.  Do a little everyday; once a week won’t cut it. Remember Steps one and the first step of step two above.
  • Bring something to this 24/7 networking picnic. Don’t just bring Your signature dish; bring the equivalent of a table cloth to brighten up the picnic table; bring a friend and introduce them around; connect the dog walker you just met at the party to the person you know needs those services; bring that magazine article (or link to it’s online counterpart) that made you think of one of your contacts – share it with them and others who may be interested. Be the person that comes early to help set up, or stays after to help clean up, even if you weren’t on the organizing committee. After a while volunteer to join the committee. Remember what it was like to be a newbie, and help other new kids on the block.
  • But don’t be the overeager person shaking everyone’s hand, slapping their backs and tooting your own horn all the time; it’s as tiring online as it is in the real world. If you get feedback from folks, and you will (positive and negative) listen, apologize if needed and adjust.
  • Just as important, yes listen and learn, but participate, even if that is hard for you. If you are shy in real life, don’t think of the huge party, connect with one person, then the next and let it grow slowly. Ask questions, give answers, connect people and information and be you.
  • Also be wary of falling into the “If I build it, they will come” theory. It is a logical fallacy outside of the movies.
  • Be authentic; this is huge in the online space. People build trust with those who share information, not just push their own agendas. Social media maven extraordinaire Chris Brogan suggests a ratio of 12:1 – give 12 pieces of info about others for each link to your own info/product/service you mention.  Or at least 6:1.
  • Connect with the movers and shakers, when appropriate, and with the everyday folks like yourself. Connect with those in your field and share back and forth with them, but more importantly – reach out and connect with others who need your services.
  • Find how your “IT” – what You and your Work are all about – can be used by those in that space, begin to step in and own your “IT,” and use it to help others.

Then implement Step Three Keep Exploring the Social Media Space and Refine your Plans:

As you begin to feel more comfortable in this new environment refine your goals, objectives and plan.  Apply what you have learned, refine as needed and move forward.

And repeat.

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)

or e-mail me at Cathy [dot] Larkin [at] WebSavvyPR [Dot] Com