‘What To Learn About Change Communication From Walking Dead’

What To Learn About Change Communication From The Walking Dead. There are millions of people who watch AMC’s The Walking Dead. In case you do not here is the story in a nutshell; the program is based on a graphic novel series about a small group of people with nothing in common other than they survived a global pandemic and want to remain alive. They are victimzed by zombies (known as ‘walkers’ in the series) and gangs of other survivors.

Lately the group was accepted into a walled community south of Washington D.C. called Alexandria. The veterans of this sustainable and upwardly mobile community have been spared the grief and violence the new world has because of the location and enormous and well constructed walls.

'What To Learn About Change Communication From Walking Dead
‘What To Learn About Change Communication From Walking Dead. Expect there will be resistance to new ideas and change in the workplace. Also recognize that it will not be as bad as it is on The Walking Dead. In the photo Rick Grimes delivers change communications to the people of Alexandria.

Rick Grimes, a former law enforcement official, is a veteran survivor and has seen the worst of the post apocolytic world. He believes (rightly) that the inhabitants of Alexandria are living on borrowed time. That they will be killed by ‘walkers’ (who swarm by the thousands) or by one of the other violent, roving gangs of survivors. He wants to teach the people of Alexandria how to make it in the real world. With that, here is the connection to change communications and what the rest of us can learn.

  1. New people are suspect. Grimes and his group are only accepted into Alexandria after passing a battery of interviews and the approval of Alexandria’s leadership. They are housed together, not allowed to have weapons or leave the grounds. New is different, hard to get used to, and suspicious. New means change and no one likes to change whether in the office, the plant, the shop floor or Alexandria.
  2. New ideas are usually rejected. If you work in change communications or just try to have a new idea you have already heard, ‘that’s not the way we do it here’ or ‘why do we need to change, everything was going great until you showed up.’ Grimes wants weapons training and regular patrols to watch for walkers or looters. If you have worked in change communication and been outnumbered in the workplace, you know how isolating this is. Even with the support of company leadership (which Rick Grimes has too) you know that when those leaders are out of site it is very difficult to get the troops to even consider doing something new, nevermind adopting it. Very few support Grimes ideas.
  3. Passive aggressive resistance. The people of Alexandria pretend to be interested in Grimes’ ideas, but they do not pretend very hard. In fact, behind his back several conspire to try and kill him. The leader of the passive aggressive resistance is the local doctor (who abuses his wife and children and Grimes has a thing for the wife, but let’s not get too deep into that) who openly opposses Grimes. In the end, Grimes kills the doctor which for the workplace is analogous to firing someone. Grimes tried to work things out with the doctor and change leaders will try with the passive aggressive people too. But the lesson for the workplace is that there are times when firing someone is the only thing to do. There are plenty of people who will convince themselves and anyone else who will listen that theirs is a righteous cause. Horsefeathers. The unknown and adapting to change is scary and uncomfortable. No one wants to be scared or uncomfortable. While a rational person would try to adapt remember that humans are not rational. The rational part of the human brain is the newest and least evolved. The emotional parts are far more evolved and that is why people react emotionally. It will not end with the firing/killing as those people will always have followers. Instead of seeing the logic of ‘addition by subtraction’ people will get mad and seek revenge.
  4. Stay the course. In spite of the hostility directed at him, Grimes continues to teach the hapless Alexandrians how to survive, and takes direct action in the fight to outlast the zombie hoard. In the office, do like Grimes does. Stay focused on your goals. Be approachable and offer to teach the willing but do not negotiate. Negotiations in change communications will open the door to more and more exceptions. You do not want that and the people who hired you do not either. Remain unphased by whiners, moaners and complainers. Reward those who adapt and change. And make both firing and rewarding very visible.
  5. It is not enough to be right. Remember that in the resistance to change movement with the attendant emotion attached, being right will not matter. In fact direct challenges often lead to more resistance. People double down on the ideas they have held for so long. The Alexandrians are starting to see the logic of what Grimes is trying to accomplish for them. But this has taken several episodes. Take the lesson, stay the course and eventually the rest of the group will catch one. Just give them time.

To be in touch, send an email to haroldnicoll@gmail.com.

http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead

 

Congressman Anthony Weiner Starts Public Relations Career

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner will join the public relations firm MWW in New Jersey.
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner will join the public relations firm MWW in New Jersey.

I was always of the opinion that the public relations person on staff or the firm advising a company should not overshadow the company or client and that doing so was a real boner. It will be tough to avoid the taint of former Congressman Anthony Weiner who will begin his public relations career with MWW of New Jersey, according to a press release the agency distributed last week. Here is a link to the release: (http://www.mww.com/pressroom/2015/07/mwwpr-statement-clarifying-role-of-anthony-weiner-as-member-of-board-of-advisors/).

Anthony Weiner, whose sexting scandal juxtaposed against his last name sunk his political career 2 different times, is now working for the New Jersey PR firm headed by Michael W. Kempner. Kempner is a prominent New Jersey Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, said in a release that it “is pleased to welcome Anthony Weiner as a member of our Board of Advisors.”

While the agency said the former House representative will not serve clients directly, it plans to tap into his knowledge on a wide-range of policy issues, such as national healthcare and technology. “His public policy expertise will be a great asset to our firm,” the company said.

In 2011, the Democrat resigned his House seat amid a sexting scandal involving at least a half-dozen women.  Weiner later tried to get back into public office two years later in an unsuccessful bid for New York City mayor. He lost after another story came out torpedoing his campaign, this one involving explicit photos and texts under the name “Carlos Danger.”

Everyone deserves a second, third, fourth or even fifth chance. Weiner is no different. I take issue with his choice of vocation because our profession is one that is not held in high esteem on a good day. Adding Weiner to an industry that suffers its own image challenges just makes it harder for the rest of us.

Keeping Carlos away from the clients is probably a good idea. And you have to wonder what kind of favors Mrs. Clinton owes Weiner’s wife and close advisor Huma Abedin (described as Hillary’s shadow) to get this done. Still, this seems like a really bad idea.

Video For In Store Marketing Intelligence

In store video can provide a lot of intelligence.
In store video can provide a lot of intelligence.

Today’s retailers operate in global economy that affords little room for error.  Retailers must combat harsh challenges that include consolidation within the industry, price competition, and increasingly low profit margins.  As such, it is mission-critical for forward-thinking retail organizations to adopt technologies that help capture and analyze store activity patterns to increase conversion rates, improve operational efficiency and maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Traditionally, retailers gained insight on customer shopping behaviors through loyalty cards and overall trends in POS transactions even tracking inventory. Although this information did provide insight about limited shopper demographics (cards) and buying habits, it did not provide much insight into the customer’s in-store behavior.

Understanding where customers spend most of their time in the store, what time of day they shop, how long they wait in lines and where they dwell (aisles within the store, promotion displays, service counters, etc.) can increase a retailer’s success.  Leveraging a video business intelligence solution helps retailers dramatically reduce their reliance on softer types of data, replacing it with real-world information. Using this data appropriately will help increase sales, improve the customer experience, and add to the benefits of shopping with you; people find what they want there.

Store Performance Management

Leveraging a business intelligence platform can help retailers make informed decisions with accurate people counts. In combination with POS data, in-store department managers, store managers, regional managers, and corporate management can use reliable metrics to benchmark store performance and identify trends early enough to capitalize on them. Retail organizations can also use shopper conversion rates to help compensate and incentivize their sales staff, hence cultivating a customer-centric culture.

Optimize Workforce

Without sufficient staff, retailers face dissatisfied customers and lost sales. At the same time, overstaffing increases operational costs. By capturing the full range of shopper traffic monitoring and customer behavior patterns, retailers can make better operational decisions for sales, marketing, staffing and scheduling. These robust applications can include analytics that analyze traffic flows and shopper movement, measure and predict queue lengths and wait times, monitor zone activity, and provide real-time reporting to ultimately help optimize workforce.

Improve Marketing and Merchandising Effectiveness

Retailers can use video business intelligence to measure the success rate of marketing and advertising promotions. You can use these insights to improve store layout, product placement and promotional displays with actual customer behavior; put the merchandise where the customers are and improve the bottom-line.

Designing Optimal Store Layouts

With a comprehensive data set around shopper traffic, directional analysis, in-store movement patterns, hot spots and dwell times, retailers are able to improve store layout and overall design. If a certain department is rarely visited, the retailers can modify the store layout in order to help drive shoppers to the area where they would not have otherwise visited. Retailers can also alter in-store orientation systems in order to make it easier for shoppers to find the department or the products they are looking for.

For piloting new promotions, store designs or additional product categories, retailers are utilizing video business intelligence data. By reviewing people count, in-store traffic patterns and dwell times around specific areas and products, retailers can take this knowledge and modify their promotion, design or product placement accordingly.

 

Blue Bell Ice Cream & The Unreturned Phone Call From Public Relations

In a story from The Houston Chronicle on June 22, 2015, “Blue Bell Flouted The Rules” (http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Blue-Bell-industry-flout-listeria-guidelines-6340771.php), representatives from Snoqualmie Ice Cream, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Nestle, Unilever, and Wells Enterprises were all given opportunities to respond to questions about food safety, but none did. The article was about the state of testing for listeria (a bacterial contamination which drove Blue Bell Ice Cream off the shelves of stores in Texas and elsewhere) and were these companies using a particular type of test. As a result of this story we do not know. We do not know because no one was willing to say. So in an instance where food companies were given the opportunity to reassure customers that their product was safe, they chose not to. While I do know for certain why these collective decisions were made, I can guess, and the answers will not make anyone who is serious about the practice of public relations very happy. Not responding is just easier.

A Blue Bell sign that was a different take on a famous slogan from the Texas Revolution lost a lot of its swagger when it turned out there were more problems with listeria contamination than were originally reported.
A Blue Bell sign that was a different take on a famous slogan from the Texas Revolution lost a lot of its swagger when it turned out there were more problems with listeria contamination than were originally reported.

Public relations people did not go on the record with The Houston Chronicle because not saying something required no effort, risk or expenditure of calories. Your typical public relations department these days is the place where employees will take their cues from lawyers who will always tell clients not to say anything. If you are sitting in a jail cell or police cruiser, this is really good advise. If you are in a position to reassure consumers about the safety of your ice cream, it is terrible advice. The company public relations representative is not acting as the advocate for the company with the court of public opinion. At least in these instances, the public relations department was just a black hole for unreturned inquiries. I’m guessing those public relations people all went home on time that day. Good for them, but what did their customers do?

Reading that even the companies that make the stuff were not willing to say anything about how safe their products were, they likely began to consider something different for dessert. Nature hates a vacuum. And not responding to a reporter allows the collective minds of the public to write their own story. Get the benefit of the doubt? Unlikely. Those readers decided that ice cream must not be safe, or they would have told us, right?

If you are not able, willing, or allowed to be an advocate for your company you are either working in the wrong place or the wrong profession or possibly both. If you are interested in shuffling papers, going to meetings and looking busy, try a different department.  If you want to make a positive difference that is measured in dollars, be an advocate for your brand, company, or profession. And no, I will not have ice cream with my pie, thank you. I’ve heard it’s not safe.

 

How To Compete With Pizza Hut, Papa Johns and the Other Big Chains

Occasionally I like to share a “recipe” for how to promote a certain type of business. Since I really love pizza and like to help locally owned businesses I decided to write about a way to compete with nationally owned pizza chains.

The challenge for a small business owner competing with the big, national chains is that they (the chains) have a tremendous advantage in terms of resources. And by resources I mean money. It will be difficult to do more advertising or compete with Papa John’s in terms of name recognition because they advertise all the time and have been for some time. Papa John’s can negotiate advertising deals with the nationally owned TV, radio and newspaper outlets that will result in more frequent ads in front of prospective customers. Along with that of course are sponsorships and other affiliations for the company they have because of money. It will be just about impossible to compete with Pizza Hut or Dominoes on price because they can purchase ingredients in larger quantities, negotiate contracts on a national level and beat the best price any independent can offer. So what do you do?

Pizza is more about spending time with family and friends and not delivery time or ingredients.
Pizza is more about spending time with family and friends and not delivery time or ingredients.

For the independent pizza restaurant owner to compete he/she will have to find another way to be competitive. My recommendation is that you try to connect with customers and prospective customers emotionally. Why? Because people do not typically make decisions about what to buy or eat based on rational decision-making. Instead, they make emotional decisions, and thank goodness for that! Were it not for the power of emotion in purchasing pizza or anything else, the world would be a giant, vanilla/beige/one size fits all place to exist. The power to connect emotionally is the secret weapon of the successful small business owner. Guilt counts as an emotion. Ego does too. No one would choose to buy a Lexus automobile based on any kind of rational decision-making. And rationalizing is not the same thing, but I digress.

So here is the copy for the pizza restaurant:

‘Pizza is not about fast delivery or ingredients. It’s not trends in food, desserts or soda. Pizza is about quality time spent with family and friends. Whether at home on a Friday night, after the game, or because the dinner that was planned burned, pizza from (YOUR NAME HERE) will make any time better for everyone.” You could use this in an e-mail promotion, newspaper ad, or traditional piece of direct mail. So go now and sell pizza!

 

Knowing What You Know Now

Public relations counselors tell clients and colleagues not to speculate. More often than not speculation comes in the form of questions to predict future outcomes. It’s a scheme designed by reporters who want interviewees to say something foolish, improbable, with no basis in reality or all of the above. The advice so many of us give is that no one has the gift of prophecy or the ability to predict the future and that doing so would be silly. Do not speculate, talk about things that you know for certain and stick to that.

Admiral Akbar of Star Wars was not present during the Jeb Bush interview on Fox News.
Admiral Akbar of Star Wars was not present during the Jeb Bush interview on Fox News.

The media has now caught up with the public relations industry and reinvented the speculative question. Instead of predicting the future, interviewees are asked to second-guess themselves about the past. The most famous and recent example was on Fox News when during an interview with Former Florida governor and brother of President George W. Bush the Iraq war came up. Megyn Kelly asked Bush, “knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

Jeb Bush response to the 'knowing what you know now' was a full frontal fail.
Jeb Bush response to the ‘knowing what you know now’ was a full frontal fail.

Bush is no stranger to media or interviews. He comes from one of the most covered families in history. His experience as governor along should have sent a signal to his brain that said, ‘it’s a trap’. Sadly for Bush, there was a short circuit. He fell into Kelly’s trap. It was a full frontal fail. Here is his quote:

“In retrospect,” Bush continued, “the intelligence that everybody saw — that the world saw, not just the United States — was faulty. And in retrospect, once we invaded and took out Saddam Hussein, we didn’t focus on security first, and the Iraqis, in this incredibly insecure environment, turned out the United States military because there was no security for themselves and their families. By the way, guess who thinks that those mistakes took place as well? George W. Bush. So just for the newsflash to the world, if they’re trying to find places where there’s big space between me and my brother, this might not be one of those.”

The news out of this was not what Jeb expected. His answer was covered in plenty of other places, and that is not what this posting is about. Jeb should not have answered the question.

Megan Kelly of Fox News.
Megan Kelly of Fox News.

Instead of talking about what might have been, Bush should have taken the prophecy advice and flipped it around. He could have said, “it’s pointless to discuss what we might or might not have done. I am not able to go back in time and undo any decision or action. Instead of wondering what might have been done differently, we need to concentrate on what is happening now…”

The ‘knowing what we know now’ question has a life of its own. The time traveling/navel gazing type of inquiry is part of the arsenal of passive aggressive reporters, thanks to the ill-advised answer Governor Bush gave. Remember, just talk about what you know now. Not what may come or what you would have done.

6 Recent News Stories and 8 Regular Features That Will Keep Media And Public Relations People Off The Air And Out Of Print And What To Do About It

6 Recent News Stories 8 Regular Features.

Thank Goodness for Weekends, Public Affairs Programs, and Slow News Days.

Most news that public relations people are asked to help make is not earth shattering or life changing. Stop protesting; you know it’s true. More often than not, we are asked to help make “soft news” visible. That does not make you (or me) bad or silly or indicate that we lack discernment. It merely acknowledges what we all know to be a fact of life for the modern public relations person.

The media have limited resources and only certain types of stories they want to cover. Take your story to the weekend if you want to get covered!
The media have limited resources and only certain types of stories they want to cover. Take your story to the weekend if you want to get covered!

Soft news comes in lots of forms that include but are certainly not limited to, new product introductions and demonstrations, new location openings, speeches, new brochures, seminars and other promotions. Occasionally there is an issue on which a client wants to air an opinion pro or con about things like red light cameras, building permits, property and sales tax increases or decreases. Regardless of how interesting or not these are to you, the people paying the bills want exposure. When are you likely to not receive any? On days when something dramatic happens and the news cycle is focused on that happening.

Clients and bosses will not be sympathetic when you tell them that what they want covered is not terribly newsworthy. At the same time, you want to collect a fee for your work or stay on the payroll. You have bills to pay too!

Bad Days for Public Relations People

Newsworthy events that sucked the air right out of the office lately were: disturbances in Baltimore, disturbances in Missouri, the Boston Marathon Trial, Hillary Clinton, the German Wings Airline Crash, the ISIS attack in Garland, Texas, etc. If you are planning an event in a larger media market, you can plan on competing for the limited resources of local news reporters with these and similar events. And do not forget the usual reporting on auto crashes, apartment fires, armed robberies, bad weather, good weather, cute animal stories, cute children stories, and sports that clog the airways and fog the minds of viewers/readers/listeners. What does a public relations person do when faced with normal reportage and hard news? If possible, plan to release your news on a typically “soft news day”.

When you wake up on the day of your release/event and the TV is full of some war or rumor of war, explosion, spill, or natural disaster, move your event to a weekend, or holiday. Yes, there are fewer news crews and reporters available on weekends and holidays. There are also fewer stories to cover. So put your story where the others are not, Saturday or Sunday.

Since news resources are scarce, be prepared to visit the local station (TV or radio) with your news and demonstration. If you go there, it frees the assignment editor to send his reporters elsewhere. Most TV stations have long form news programs on Saturday. Use them as avenues for publicity. For radio interviews, use the phone. Phone interviews are easy to record and re-broadcast. They are also easier to book with the producer you will deal with to get on the air.

In conclusion, take your soft news to a softer time of the week, the weekend!

 

 

 

Media and Public Relations Introduces New Press Release Writing Service

Media and Public Relations (mediandpublicrelations.com) is introducing a new press release writing service for North America. The service will help those who know they could benefit from a news release but do not have the skills or the time to produce one. images-1

The press release is the best way to communicate news about any type of enterprise to editors, reporters and bloggers who cover an industry, practice, non-profit or charity. Unlike ads, direct mail or blogs, the press release is formatted and written in a no-nonsense way that helps journalists inform their audience about news that will be meaningful to their readers and listeners.

Business writing in general and journalistically styled releases in particular are difficult to produce and then get published. Not everything is newsworthy. Reporters hate it when businesses send them what amounts to commercials in the guise of a news release.

If any information is not right for a release to the news media, the public relations veterans at Media and Public Relations will edit information into a newsworthy format. For those  starting with only a blank sheet of paper and nothing written, no problem. The people at Media and Public Relations can do an  interview over the phone to draft, review and edit a news release in the format and with the content needed. “I’ve got a soft spot for start ups and entrepreneurs,” said owner Harold Nicoll. “I especially like those who have some very cool product or technology or skill that will make lives better, cheaper, faster, and at the same time reward them for their know-how. So many of these folks know a lot about their respective field but nothing about how to market and sell their wares. I can help.”

Release Basics To Get Me Started

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Or Contact Me Directly

My e-mail is haroldnicoll@gmail.com and my phone number is 979 292 8026. Or, fill out the form and I will go to work for you. Payment is via Pay Pal. But first things first, fill out the form or call or e-mail me and I will get back to you within a single work day or sooner.

About Media And Public Relations
Harold Nicoll, APR is the owner of Media and Public Relations. He a veteran public relations, marketing communications, content marketing and public affairs expert. He started his career at Hill & Knowlton Public Relations followed by 23 years at The Dow Chemical Company. He is “Accredited to Practice Public Relations” by The Public Relations Society of America. He has a Master of Strategic Public Relations Degree from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from The University of Houston.

9 Surprise PR Tactics That Will Make You Irresistible to Reporters

9 Surprise PR Tactics.

This article “9 Surprise PR Tactics That Will Make You Irresistible to Reporters” was published by PRNews and written by Steve Goldstein on April 16, 2015.  Enjoy!

Attend any panel discussion featuring PR pros and journalists, and within five minutes of its commencement you’ll hear one of the journalists say, “I delete email pitches in batches of 20 with hardly a glance at the subject lines.”

Then comes the inevitable follow-up question from the audience: “So what would it take for you to open my email?”

And the answer: “Know my beat, read my articles, give me real news I can use.”

Silently, the PR pros in attendance grumble in unison: “But if you’re deleting everything without looking, then what difference would that make?”

Tania Luna, co-author with LeeAnn Renninger of the new book Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, would encourage those silent grumblers to think beyond the

Follow these directions to be a more sought for interviewee.
Follow these directions to be a more sought for interviewee.

journalist/PR pro dynamic and harness the elemental power of surprise to cut through the noise and make a connection.

“One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working in PR is building relationships with reporters,” says Luna, who will be the keynote presenter on day two of PR News’ Digital PR Conference, which will be held June 1-3 in Miami. “Luckily, things get a lot easier when you have the science of surprise on your side. When you pleasantly surprise people they think of you more often and are more interested in what you have to say.”

Here are nine tips for bonding with reporters from co-authors Luna and Renninger:

1. Jump over the expectation bar: Our brains are delighted when someone exceeds our expectations, disappointed when someone falls below the bar and unmoved when someone meets our expectations. Take the time to learn what each of your contacts expects (what topics do they prefer? what style? what format?) and find ways to exceed expectations at every point of contact (e.g., offer all necessary links before they have to ask; use bullet points so your pitch is easy to digest).

2. Under-promise, over-deliver: Here is a shortcut to exceeding expectations from author Tom Peters. Set expectations just an inch lower than you plan to deliver, then over-deliver every once in a while (e.g., promise you’ll respond in 48 hours, then reply in just two). Pleasant surprises release dopamine in the brain, a neurochemical associated with excitement and interest.

3. Do a scriptease: So many of our interactions feel scripted and formal. Leave your script aside and connect with reporters the way you would with friends (respectful but playful and authentic). Authenticity builds trust but also triggers people’s interest.

4. Give just because: Be helpful or encouraging for no particular reason (even when you aren’t trying to place a story). Research shows that we think about random acts of kindness longer than we contemplate explained kind behavior (and random kindness makes us happier).

5. Bury a cookie: Find ways to tuck small delights into your interactions. Can you sneak a joke into your conversation? A genuine compliment? A funny GIF into your email? In a study, researchers found that even a handwritten Post-it Note can be personal and unexpected enough to double response rates to a survey.

6. Build knowledge gaps: Spark curiosity by pitching your stories in a way that shows readers you know something they don’t. Our fascination with mystery is the reason listicles work so well. (Just compare these two titles and see which one your brain likes more: “These 8 Subject Line Tweaks Will Get Everyone to Open Your Emails” vs. “How to Get People to Open Your Emails.”)

7. Tell stories: Most of us are familiar with the power of story, but it helps to know why stories work as well as they do to remind us that we have to weave stories into our pitches. Because stories have mystery at their core (we want to know what will happen next), they trigger the P3 brain wave—this cognitive shift grabs our cognitive resources and forces us to pay attention.

8. Design experiences: Devise opportunities for your contacts to have an emotional, multi-sensory experience with your company or story (hint: the more senses you engage, the more memorable the experience will be).

9. Harness fortune cookie psychology: A handwritten thank-you note will trigger a burst of dopamine in the recipient, but the same card with the same message sent several times will soon fall flat. Take a tip from the fortune cookie and switch up how, when and why you reach out to say thank-you or offer a tip. In short: Exceed expectations, be genuine, be mysterious and delight often.

Tania Luna will be the keynote presenter on June 2 at PR News’ Digital PR Conference in Miami.

Follow Tania Luna: @Surprisology

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI

http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2015/04/16/9-surprise-pr-tactics-that-will-make-you-irresistible-to-reporters/#.VUaRHwxPfkc.google_plusone_share

Why You Should Advertise On Face Book

There are more and more small businesses with Face Book pages and others still who join or start interest groups with the idea that these will help them promote their trade. I do not think Face Book is a good venue for corporate business or for those involved in business to business sales. On the other hand if you own a small or just starting put brick and mortar store, or professional practice then Face Book is ideal. Setting up a page on Face Book is free and easy and that is good. But getting it and you in front of potential customers will require some advertising. While not “free” it is very reasonable and a good value, in my experience.

Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.
Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.

Local Focus

If you own a business with customers that come to you based in some part on proximity, then here you go. Data supports the use of location-based advertising. Gannett’s G/O Digital released a recent survey and found that 60 percent of users viewed a local business’s Facebook page before visiting the business itself. Looking at the reviews on the page was also part of this process. According to a research study from Google, 32 percent of customers visited a store or made a purchase after viewing a location-based ad. Additionally, 19 percent of those customer visits or purchases were unplanned. As far as I know neither Gannett or Google have any direct financial stake here.

Face Book For Local Business

Face Book now has the capabilities that will allow the local merchant the ability to target his or her ads to people located near by. Face Book also allows advertisers the ability to target potential customers by different demographics. Face Book calls these “local awareness ads”.

These ads allow you, the advertiser, to target people who live in your area or even recently paid a visit. Previously the only way to target people on Face Book was via zip code. Anyone with a little experience in direct mail advertising knows this is not efficient. For example, if you owned an auto repair shop there are plenty of people who live in your zip code who could benefit from your service, but most will not. In that zip code are people who do not drive, do not own cars, lease vehicles, have company cars etc. And yes of course, the new local awareness ad targets people in your area now, whether visiting or living there. But wait, there’s more!

You can target your ads based on age, marital status, education, interests and zip code. Most people who own cars and need them repaired fit into a certain demographic category. And if you do not know exactly who those people are, make your ad choices based on the customers you already have. So if most of the people who come to you shop own vehicles that are less than 4 years old and were imported from Germany, bring children with them, wear gear from a university but are clearly too old to be students you can assign them the following on Face Book:

  • income greater than $100,000.00
  • married
  • age 30 – 45
  • college education
  • zip code

Face Book will take that information and point your ad at others on Face Book who fit that profile. There are other options as well. You can assign your ad to an event, like a concert, parade or other special happening. This function can also be linked to the web site that sells tickets for those said events. More often though, the ad needs to point back to your web site where you offer some kind of value added information, coupon or other special offer. This will drive more traffic to your web site, which is almost always the best place to send a prospect.

Costs

The cost of ads is based on a few things. Broadly, the amount of time you want it to run and the budget you assign to it. Like Google Adwords, you can set the amount of money you are willing/able to spend and keep it to that. For the special event option, charges can also come based on the number of click-throughs, again just like Adwords.

Another plus is the reporting feature. Face Book will tally the reach, clicks and expense for all of the above. On top of everything it is really easy. If you can post a photo on Face Book, you can set up advertising. I do not mind sharing with you that I have advertised for clients and causes on Face Book with results that were very worthwhile. I hope you also have success with this channel to your prospective customers.

 

 

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