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Which Social Network Should My Business Be On?

Deciding what social media platforms your business should be on can be nerve-racking — especially with over 800 to choose from. Don’t worry. We’re just talking about the major players today. You don’t want to be on all of them. That takes up too much time, and other areas of your business need your attention. Before we begin, there are several questions you need to understand and answer, like:

  • Which platforms are consumer-oriented vs. B2B?
  • Where is our target audience most active?
  • What are our social media marketing goals?

Don’t fret — there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s get started.

FACEBOOK

This probably comes as no surprise, but you should consider Facebook — the world’s most popular social network — for your business needs. Whether your content is consumer-focused or B2B, you can find success on Facebook thanks to in-depth advertising and targeting options. And with over 2.23 billion active monthly users, odds are you can find your target audience. Here’s another fun fact: Approximately 10% of ALL website traffic takes place on Facebook — it’s no exaggeration when people say it’s taking over the world.

So, is there any reason not to be on Facebook? Perhaps… but only because of over-saturation. There are A LOT of businesses on Facebook. That means when you spend advertising dollars, your business will be facing A LOT of competition. There’s a decent chance (depending on your niche and target audience) your best ROI might not come from Facebook — but there’s a better chance it will.

TWITTER

Twitter can be tougher to manage, mainly due to its volatility (and because you can’t edit tweets). Twitter users are notorious for trolling, especially when politics is involved. Everyone has an opinion about everything, and the Twitterverse is where those thoughts are shared without a whimsical care in the world. That being said, there are still plenty of benefits to having a presence there.

First, Twitter is made up of 335 million monthly active users. That’s a big audience, which gives you a great opportunity to expose your brand to influencers who could share your content and increase your organic reach. Second, it’s the perfect platform for managing customer service. Throw in a social media management tool like Sprout Social, a product we use in Candorland, and BOOM! You’ll be on your way to managing customer’s needs quickly and efficiently. And perhaps most useful, Twitter is great for social listening. Twitter makes it easy for you to monitor keywords relevant to your company/industry, so you can jump into any conversation, anytime. This takes a bit of work, but it’s well worth it.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is the most visually-demanding platform, and it has become incredibly popular with a younger demographic. That usually gives B2B companies pause. But while it is easier for lifestyle B2C companies to promote on the platform, always remember Instagram has 1 BILLION monthly active users. Your audience is there — you just have to get a little creative with your creative. And did we mention Instagram is owned by Facebook? This means you’ll be awarded the same ad targeting options and seamless integration into the Facebook advertising model.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is a no-brainer for B2B businesses. This social network has become increasingly popular in recent years and has 227 million active users. While every social platform’s goal is to make connections, LinkedIn LITERALLY connects business professionals with each other (and recruiters). It’s the best platform to seek out high-quality talent to join your team. In terms of advertising, LinkedIn can’t quite match the powerhouse that is Facebook, but if your goal is to target other professionals across a number of disciplines, this could be your golden ticket.

PINTEREST

Pinterest is a platform many businesses don’t normally consider. But did you know the Pinterestverse is comprised of 250 million monthly active users? AND it’s the 2nd most likely platform to influence U.S. social media users’ purchasing decisions. Pinterest is perfect for businesses with aesthetically-driven content and can do wonders at driving traffic to your website, getting people to download your app or selling your product — especially with Rich Pins.

SNAPCHAT

While Snapchat is a popular platform with 188 million daily active users, there’s currently some debate between marketers on whether the platform is dying. It was down 3 million users in Q2 of 2018, and its latest update has made a lot of people upset (to say the least). It also ranked dead last in a new advertising poll. To put it simply: It takes a lot of time and dedication to move the needle with Snapchat. Some of the previously mentioned platforms can be way more fruitful for your business.

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Yes, there are STILL some other social networks worth mentioning. Google+ has seen better days, but it’s still essential to be on to enhance local SEO, and it doesn’t take much to keep up with. YouTube makes a lot of sense for businesses producing video (which Candor can do in-house!). Behind Facebook, YouTube is actually the most popular social media network in the world with 1.9 billion monthly active users. You can take a gamble at Reddit, but you risk upsetting Redditors and hurting your brand’s reputation. Tumblr is comprised of over 200 million blogs publishing 80 million posts per day, making it another hot spot ripe for advertising. There’s also an upcoming platform called TikTok we’ve been keeping a close eye on. It has global audience of 500 million, and is especially popular in China. In the first half of 2018 alone, it was downloaded 104 million times on the Apple app store.

In reality, all of these social media platforms could help your business with the right care, strategy and knowledge. But — candidly — it’s a lot of work. Our digital experts have the tools and experience to help your social media channels grow, build brand awareness and bring in new business leads.

Send us an e-mail. We’re ready to chat.

4 Reasons Former Journalists Make Great PR Professionals

Every PR professional knows businesses often have insights to share with the public, products to announce and events to promote. And spreading those messages often includes getting stories in newspapers and on TV. But getting a journalist’s attention requires special skills and insight. Aside from the obvious — sharing interesting, compelling content — the best way to get the news media to take notice is to work with former journalists.

Today’s PR professionals understand the importance of adaptability. You have to be prepared to move from one thing to the next without any hesitation. It just so happens former journalists embrace the fast-paced nature of agency life better than most.

That’s why Candor’s staff of marketing communications professionals includes ex-reporters, content writers and editors (or, as we sometimes joke, “recovering journalists”). We’ve produced TV packages, cranked out daily newspapers and kept up with the latest online trends.

Our backgrounds benefit our clients in four significant ways.

Breaking News Won’t Break Us

Months of planning went down the tubes because of an unexpected event? A crisis hit you out of the blue? No problem for a newsie. Whatever a journalist has planned for the day can go out the window in an instant if news breaks or a hot tip comes in. Shifting gears at a moment’s notice comes naturally after that.

We Know What The Media Wants

What’s important to a company might not matter to a reporter or editor. Reporters think of providing value to the audience first. We know how to speak their language, appeal to their interest and even work out the right time of day to send the email or text which can lead to a prime-time package or front-page story. Being on a first-name basis with local reporters has helped Candor land several earned media hits for clients.

We Are Information Sponges

Journalists are generalists. They want to know everything about everything. Even after they’ve left the newsroom, they consume information insatiably. Keeping one eye on the wider world at all times helps the Candor team understand everything from trends in social media to figuring out how issues of the day affect our clients’ strategies. Being information sponges help produce the plans we provide, the way we target audiences and the tone of the content we create.

We Understand Businesses Have Budgets

Anyone who has been in a newsroom in the last couple decades has seen people make hard choices about where to invest resources. We know our clients have to make those decisions year by year, quarter by quarter and even project by project. Budgets aren’t an afterthought at Candor; they’re a key part of understanding the scope and scale of what we can do for our clients.

Journalists don’t have all the answers. But they’ll dig until find them. Candor’s team makes sure we understand brands’ needs and goals, and we do whatever it takes to get there – without breaking deadline.

How to Grow Personally & Professionally in 3 Simple Steps

 

February is an interesting month. It’s squeezed between the excitement of a new year and the anticipation of spring. It’s also the month my daughter turns 18.

While she is now old enough to vote, I worry she may not be ready to govern her life at college next fall. These thoughts keep me up at night, but I’m learning to embrace change because, ‘what’s the alternative?’

The same is true in business. When I birthed Candor in 2012, I never imagined my “baby” would become a fully-integrated agency. Heck, I won my first client sitting in my gym shorts and flip flops while chatting on a flip phone in my guest bedroom.

Needless to say, we’ve come a long way. Today, Candor is one of the fastest growing firms in Oklahoma. We’re housed on historic Film Row near downtown OKC — which is, perhaps ironically, one of the fastest growing districts in the city. We even have a cool building! Before being converted into an office space, Candor was the home of an old Pabst Blue Ribbon ice house.

Recently, we took a big leap of faith and added a 2,000-square-foot video production studio. The space includes a Facebook Live set in addition to a full edit suite. Video has become increasingly popular as a social media tool — and it’s not going anywhere. Here are a few things we know:

In addition to our building expansion, Candor recently had triplets. We added three new professionals to help with content creation, social media and video production. Adding new team members is always exciting, but it can create challenges with office space, onboarding and company culture.

So, what have I learned through the growing process?

  1. Control is an illusion.
    Being an entrepreneur is a lot like being a first-time mom. You want to control everything, including your well-meaning friends and family who tell you to relax and let go. But here’s a not-so-surprising secret: Business can’t grow until leaders relinquish some of their power. I’m pleased to say I’m no longer afraid to ask my colleagues to change a dirty diaper or two.
  2. Surround yourself with good people.
    Relinquishing power becomes a LOT easier if you start with this rule. At Candor, we hire folks with a can-do spirit. That may sound hokey, but it works. We simply don’t have room for entitlement. Good things happen when everyone works toward the betterment of others. Remember: You can’t spell Candor without ‘can do’! Okay, that definitely sounds hokey.
  3. Get out of your own way.
    Are you sensing a pattern? Sometimes you just have to let your family or coworkers do the heavy lifting. Whether dealing with a client deadline or a college application, real growth can’t happen if one person is always in charge.

Will someone please remind of me of this rule when my kid pulls out of the driveway for her first solo trek to college?

Lessons From Small Town USA

Candor is located on Film Row, the up-and-coming district in OKC. But we don’t spend all of our time in hip and trendy spots. Candor represents multiple clients who have been expanding westward to rural Oklahoma. We’ve spent many hours in the land of cowboy boots and pie auctions, and we’ve learned a few things along the way.

I’m what some people call “city folk.” I am a type-A, on-the-go Millennial with my phone in one hand and coffee in the other. In rural areas, I’ve learned to slow the pace and focus on getting to know the people around me.

Asking questions and making conversation has become my favorite part of the job. Need to know about an event in Okarche? Ask the newspaper editor, and he’ll give you the history, the contact person and the best option for lunch afterward. Need to hold a meeting in Watonga? Call the Chamber of Commerce for a list of every event space and local caterer within 50 miles, photos and contact numbers included.

I’ve met reporters, principals, mayors, firefighters, landowners, rodeo coordinators and people from all walks of life.

These relationships are vital to Candor’s success, but they didn’t come through quick emails and cookie-cutter press releases. We took the time to send thank-you cards, learn about each town, ask for backstories and shake a few hands.

Relationships I’ve made through business became personal by simply taking the time to invest in others. Remembering details about an acquaintance or sending a congratulatory card hopefully makes me memorable and builds trust, which benefits both parties in the long run.

Maybe it’s time everyone takes a hint from people who live in other parts of the state or have different experiences. Not only do we benefit professionally, we grow personally and become more thoughtful and genuine neighbors.

Selling up the Chain of Command

 

Sometimes the most important sale to be made is within our own organization.

For example, we all have ambition. Some of us ambition to be recognized, others to be paid more. Some ambition to advance a cause, others to keep their job. But few achieve their ambitions in isolation. We need to persuade others we are worthy of their support. And persuasion – like it or not – is selling.

Most frequently, those in the best position to support us are in our upstream chain of command. So learning how to sell to our boss, or their boss, is critical to achieving our ambitions.

Here are a few tips fresh from the sales bullpen you may want to consider applying to your upstream communications.

  1. Sell as you go

Unfortunately, it’s often not enough simply do great work, assuming others will notice and appreciate it. Reputation is like a campfire. It needs to be regularly stoked or it will gradually turn as cold as ash. [bctt tweet=”Reputation is like a campfire. It needs to be regularly stoked.” username=”candorpr”] In communicating with upstream executives or board members, reinforce the value of your work relative to what is important to them. As sales trainers say, “Sell benefit, sell benefit, sell benefit.”

  1. Think like they think

As a dad, I had to teach my kids how to buy a gift for their mom she would appreciate, as opposed to gifts of interest to them. It’s not much different in business. Whether delivering a strategic plan, a business case, a status report, a presentation or just an idea, know what is important to the audience with whom you are communicating. Gift wrap your information in a manner they will appreciate and appreciation will be returned.

  1. Speak with candor

Don’t be a “yes” person. Executives cannot trust someone who only says what they believe another wants to hear. Instead, be straightforward, authentic and tactful in all communication.

  1. Anticipate objections

A mistake of many persuaders is the failure to anticipate objections. I have seen many great ideas shot down because the presenter was unprepared to answer an unexpected question. As a part of your communication prep, take time to anticipate objections and formulate your response to each.

  1. Understand it’s always about numbers

Don’t be fooled. The pool of funds available for any endeavor is limited. Every person in your chain of command has numbers for which they are responsible to monitor and achieve.  So don’t just report activity or progress upstream, also report results – how your activity has measurably moved the proverbial needle. Tie what you do to the numbers valued by those in charge.

Several years ago, I provided an update to my boss. The project had come in over budget, but we had exceeded client expectations. Expecting a pat on the back, I was surprised instead to be criticized for the overruns. His words were, “Excellent work in our company is expected. You still have to bring the work in on budget.” That was the last time I took upstream communication for granted.

Stoke the fire. Regularly.

 

What Raising Dogs Taught Me About PR

I’m a dog person. (Wo)man’s best friend has stolen my heart forever. I’m active in my local humane society and rescue organization as a volunteer and donor, and my family adopted two dogs into our home. I’ve learned a lot while trying to keep my furry kids happy, safe and alive. Some of those lessons apply to our clients at Candor.

1. It’s a 24/7 Job

One of the first lessons I learned as a dog parent is I have to be willing to get up in the middle of the night for emergency bathroom breaks. Every dog parent knows the sounds that wake them from a dead sleep faster than any alarm and send them racing to the door so the dog doesn’t mess up the rug again. In PR, a client crisis can happen any time, so I’m always prepared to jump into action. I monitor the 10 p.m. news and wake up thinking of new ideas for story pitches. The passion for the job carries well past 8 to 5.

 

2. Equal Attention

My husband and I recently adopted a second dog. I quickly learned the importance of giving each one equal attention. It is impossible to pet one dog without the other nudging impatiently. This lesson matters at Candor. We make sure each client gets our full devotion, so nobody feels left out.

 

3. Multiple Personalities

My Lab, Odin, is a couch potato who wants nothing more than to cuddle and watch TV with me. My German shepherd, Ruby, is constantly perched, watching the back door and waiting for me to throw the ball a million times. They have completely different personalities and needs. The same holds true with our clients. Some prefer text messaging, while others need formal email communication. Working in a PR agency requires intuition about what makes people tick. My job is a lot easier once I get to know clients’ needs and personalities.

 

4. Rewards Matter

Everything is easier when treats are involved. My dogs always listen to basic commands. But if they are learning something new or being made to do something they’d rather not, they need an incentive. When Candor is working with new clients, sometimes there is skepticism about a certain tactic or strategy. Once the client starts seeing results, the PR lightbulb goes on, like a pup who realizes what it takes to get a reward. Some of the best days are when I know a client has seen the results of what we can do and they get excited for next steps. This process allows us to build trust.

 

5. It’s Messy

I gather toys. I pick up pieces of toys. Sweep up hair. Clean the nose prints off windows. As a dog parent there are a myriad of messes. As a PR pro, cleaning up takes the form of adjusting messaging that went awry or developing a brand new strategic plan to get company goals back on track. This is when the fun really starts. I get excited when a company engages our firm for a brand or website audit. It’s a lot easier to notice the gaps or areas for improvement when you are on the outside looking in.

I’m fortunate to have found two passions in life: helping clients communicate their stories, and coming home to slobbery dog kisses every day.

Keeping It Real on Social Media

Did you see the story recently about coffee shops shutting down Wi-Fi to force people to interact? What about the memes of people glued to their mobiles in front of great works of art? Have you heard high-school dances are going extinct because teens would rather just Snapchat each other?

Everyone bemoans what mobile technology has done to personal interactions. But who would really give up their devices? Our pocket computers provide many advantages – including deepening our connections with loved ones – and someone without a digital connection would miss out on too much of the modern world.

The desire for connection creates challenges and opportunities for brands. When brands try to reach an audience, they must compete with millions of other companies, celebrities, friends and loved ones, cute animals, mainstream news sources and verbose politicians.

To break through, successful organizations need to find ways to make emotional connections with the audience, rather than just providing information.

One great way to make sure content – especially on social media – feels authentic is to imagine speaking to a real person. When I worked in internal communications, a conference speaker reminded people not to write for a generic group such as “fellow employees.” She suggested picturing someone specific, like Carol in accounting, or John from IT. Writing as if I were sending an email to a coworker helped me keep things simple and clear.

Brands must also remember what the audience wants. People who have already taken the time to like a Twitter account or follow on Facebook have demonstrated an interest in a product or service. They want information about upcoming events and new offerings. But to build trust and loyalty, users must sense a real person on the other side of the screen with real emotions – and perhaps a sense of humor. Nobody wants to read dry, corporate copy; so don’t write it.

Listening truly sets people apart on social media. Traditional media relied on “we say, they listen” communication; the technology required it. Too many organizations act as if things still work that way. They Tweet or post on Facebook without a plan for the next step. Anything interesting online draws shares, likes, comments and reviews. We recommend group organizations designate a person, process and culture for responding quickly and consistently. It’s the key to being seen as more than self-promotional.

Candor doesn’t believe any of this is easy. Making every follower feel as if they’re the center of attention may be the greatest communication challenge we have. But when organizations set authentic connections as the goal, they take a huge leap toward generating a loyal, passionate audience.