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The Perfect STORM – because for most organisations a crisis is inevitable

9 Feb , 2015,
gpmedia
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Preparing your team for the inevitable  crisis is always challenging,  made more so by how social media is impacting organisations. Practising to ensure a good response when things go wrong is essential, and the key is creating a sense of realism, and real-time pressure for participants, while giving them enough space and time to learn.

As Senior Press Officer at ICI’s Millbank headquarters and before that in the UK Nuclear industry I have always been involved in crisis communications, and the training I’m involved with today reflects the huge changes the internet has brought about.

STORM thumbNow working with the international communications agency WPNT, I have developed the crisis simulator STORM, bringing real-time digital and social media updates into the training room to enhance our integrated, crisis communications training curriculum – and STORM can also support crisis training or drills you may be running.

STORM is hosted on a private, secure site and enables inputs in real-time — a holding statement, an on-camera interview, public comments — as the training scenario develops and participants react to events. Manned by a remote, external operator, it provides a concise view of how the world would react to a crisis, including simulations of Facebook, Twitter , Instagram and other social media platforms, and updating public comments on an on-line news page.

For additional realism we are able to input in different languages.

If your organisation would like to ensure its communications are up to scratch should problems appear, I would welcome discussing how we could support your next crisis training by adding a realistic up-to-date media component.

WPNT’s crisis communications curriculum can be seen here.

Online marketing – should you be doing it in your business?

4 Feb , 2015,
gpmedia
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You may have heard a lot online marketing graphicabout online marketing, but do you know what it is, or how you can use it in your business?

Many companies are now using it to promote their products and services, and to help build a stronger business. It’s not just a matter of ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ – social media marketing is here to stay and is a sure way to reach your target audience.

What Exactly is Online Marketing?

This type of marketing uses the various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, combined with websites, blogs and email-marketing to promote companies and their products or services. It’s a great way to find more potential customers and to keep in contact with them. The better you know what they are looking for and the more you keep in contact, the larger your following of people who trust you and your company. This therefore creates more customers, and ones who will most likely give you repeat service.

What is blogging? Should I be doing it?

Blogs can also be used to give information that potential customers are looking for, whether they be small tutorials or information on how to find something. If you keep your viewers’ interest and give them something for free, like useful information, they will be more likely to buy your products or services. Having a blog and publicising it on your site will keep your customers interested.If you don’t know how to do this, get help, or get someone else to write it for you.

What if I can’t write?

If you have difficulty framing your messages, get someone else to do it for you. It need not be expensive and a few minutes chat with an expert may allow you to “nail” what you want to say.

Email marketing – Surely everyone is fed up with emails?

Not at all – e-mailers done correctly can be one of the most effective forms of online marketing. The trick is not to “spam” people by sending them shotgun-style – content needs to be relevant and worth reading. With help, your business can be sending regular, professional emails and your customers will mostly welcome knowing what you are up to and how they can benefit by doing business with you. This is not a high-cost option and you don’t have to employ someone full time to do it. Talk to us to find out more.

Some Benefits of Online Marketing

Besides establishing a trusting relationship with your customers and potential customers, there are a host of other benefits to this type of marketing. One of the biggest benefits is establishing awareness for your brand. Since so many people frequent social media sites, you will be able to spread your company’s name and brand around to a lot of people all at once. Keep it interesting and light-hearted to help attract more people. Make sure you are keeping your information up-to-date and keeping in contact with your viewers to keep your reputation high.

Using social media also allows you to check out your competition and see what they are doing to attract new customers. You can see what kind of deals they are offering, and therefore offer your customers something better.

Since you can keep in touch with your audience on a regular basis through these sites, it is the perfect opportunity to be pitching your products or services in a more down to earth way. Involve people by asking them questions about what they would like to see you carry or for improvements, but remember that you should be ready for any constructive criticism, and it’s wise not to start an argument with a customer, whether you agree with their comments or not.

Stay Involved

By combining all the aspects of the different social sites, you can stay very involved in every area of your business. Blogging about things that you are knowledgeable in will let people know that you are an expert in that particular area and you can also connect with other professionals through the various networks, even across the globe. Plus, you can re-connect with old friends and family members who are out-of-town and build your contacts even more this way. There is no other source like the social media sites where you can easily do this in business.

With these social media sites, you can even find jobs or post your resume if this is what you choose. There are always new jobs being posted on sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter with the information you need to apply.

Surely I don’t need to be across every social network? I don’t have the time or money to spend.

No, you don’t – but a combination of social networks mixed with a judicious mix of blogging can benefit every business now. It may be obvious – a hairdressing business is bound to do well on Facebook, where many of its clients are – but sometimes there are more subtle uses of social networks that you may need expert help with.

expertAre you one of those “Social Media Guru’s” that I’ve heard about, basically encouraging people to hand over cash in return for little effort?

:) I’d hardly be likely to admit that! Online marketing is not just social media, though it’s an important part. You can do it yourself if you are prepared to spend a lot of time on it. Using a professional service with experience across the board of what other businesses are doing might not be a bad idea.

 

 

If you run a business and don’t have time, staffing or budget to consider online marketing, you could be missing a trick. Pick up the phone and call (0)1525 375057 or email geoff@gpmedia.co.uk to see how you can get help at a price to suit your budget.

 

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