Vancouver PR

I saw something on Facebook this morning that really made me sit back and think. I have quite a few “friendly acquaintances” on Facebook. For the purpose of this blog, I will call them “pals.” These are people I have met and like, but that I don’t connect with very much in the real world. Some I met through work, others from my personal life. Many of them I met while travelling.

I don’t hold the same political views as some of them. I have to admit, I have found some of the discussions and ideas put forward by a some of my “pals” a little worrisome. Especially when it comes to politics – specifically in the U.S. There are some very personal attacks on politicians happening these days – on both the Democratic and Republican sides. We’re seeing a little of it here in Canada but not to the degree that it happens in the U.S.

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Kevin Barenblat has a great blog post on that focuses on the eight brand personalities that Facebook and Twitter users hate. It is worth a read.

One of the hated personalities, he says, is the non-responder. There are some great Facebook pages out there that have taken energy and effort to build and then, just when an organization seems to be on the verge of really engaging their community—nothing. People are talking, asking questions, chatting and there is no response or connection from the organization. When people are left hanging, the organization loses credibility.

There are several opportunities to respond that weren’t available a few years ago. One that it often overlooked is the daily news – whether print or broadcast – for the most part, it’s online and readers can comment. I can’t tell you how many communicators smack themselves on the forehead and say, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” when I ask them if they monitor the daily news and if they respond, when appropriate.

Facebook is another area. It surprises me when an organization has gone to the effort to create a Facebook page and build a community there and then they just update but don’t engage with the people. One of the challenges here is that many business professionals have not yet embraced the two-way street of communication that social media offers. They think of Facebook and other tools as a way to broadcast their information, not to have a conversation. While there are opportunities to send out information, it is crucial that before any organization makes the decision to participate in social media that they have, indeed, made the decision to participate.

I know it can seem overwhelming. Keeping up-to-date on what is being discussed, commenting and responding can appear to be a real challenge for the over-worked communicator. One of the things we do with clients when looking at how to approach the added work necessary to keep your social media outreach interactive, engaging and authentic is to review what communications tools are currently being used. Times have changed and not all of the tools that provided results in the past work today. Take a solid look at what you are currently doing and what is working. In that mix, there is probably something that can be retired, allowing you to replace it with Facebook, Twitter or another social media tool or network. You only have so much time in a day, a limited budget and limited resources. How are you going to best spend them in today’s online-connected world?

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Tamar Weinberg has a great blog post on the seven truths about social media marketing. It’s worth a read.

One of the key points that we focus on, here at AHA, is that social media doesn’t live in a silo. It needs to be integrated throughout your marketing and communications efforts. More often than we should, we hear about organizations that have something happening on a social networking site that their communications team knows nothing about.

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We’ve had a busy few weeks here at AHA. We have had lots of new business calls and meetings. It’s an exciting time in our world. It is always interesting to me when I meet potential new clients. What they want to know about AHA always tells me a little bit about what they expect from their PR agency. It also tells me about the general perception of AHA as well.

AHA isn’t a big agency, but we’re not solo contractors either. Sometimes it can feel as if we fall through the cracks a little because we don’t fit into a particular “box.” We are often told that our client service is exceptional and that it feels like we only have one client (them) because we are so responsive and so committed to their organization. We always like to hear that. We work hard at making sure that we respond to the needs of our clients. My iPhone is with me just about 24/7. Before anyone starts screaming work/life balance…knowing that clients can reach me if they need to is important to me. Thinking that they couldn’t, would leave me in a state of anxiety that would take pleasure out of my time off. Unless there is an urgent situation, our clients are respectful about when they call.

Even though we’re a small agency, we also provide a lot of the things that a big agency does. We subscribe to a great media database that is very expensive and that can be cost prohibitive to freelancers. We attend PR and social media conferences on a regular basis so that we can continue to improve and evolve our skill set. We add to our AHA library on a regular basis; there is always a new shipment of books and resource materials coming in. We hold professional development sessions in the office and we have a solid team of long-term contractors and partners that we know are ready to come together when there is a project that requires their expertise.

AHA turned seven last week and we’re proud of the agency that we have become. We have strong relationships with our clients (who are exceptional). We become a member of their team, and that is important to us. And, we hear, to them. I think AHA is a great example of the new way of doing business. Blending in the great components of being small with the resources and expertise of being large.

We take the work we do for clients very seriously and we have a lot of fun doing it. And we’re good at it, which adds to the credibility of being a different kind of PR agency.

We know that we’re not for everyone, but we might be right for you. When we meet with new clients, and it’s going to work, both sides feel that connection. That’s when it really gets exciting.

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We are seven years old today! Since we started it has been an incredible adventure and we’re looking forward to the next seven years.

We’ve survived some challenges, we’ve grown our business and evolved our business model…and we’re proud of who we are and what we provide to our clients. AHA has a great culture, each person on the AHA crew is world-class and our clients are exceptional. We are also extremely grateful for our AHA friends—those people that recommend us to their colleagues and business associates, those that go out of their way to support us and to help us grow and improve.

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