Monthly ArchiveMarch 2009



About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Uncategorized 31 Mar 2009 12:30 pm

Does employee usage of social media sites for personal use affect productivity?

The continued boom of various social media sites gives me some reason for concern. As an employer I question if employees become so addicted to using the sites that the main function of their jobs suffers. I’d be interested in others comments. Expectations in our business is that employees are 80-90% billable. How does that happen if a lot of time is spent on Facebook, Twitter etc.

Sandy

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Leadership &Marketing &Public Relations Tools &Social Media &Technology PR Insights 24 Mar 2009 04:26 pm

Twitter vs. Facebook Heating Up

“What’s on your mind”? With this simple query that appears on the front page of Facebook profiles, Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had Twitter on his mind for a while now, and struck back at the up-and-coming social networking site two weeks ago. The much anticipated and incredibly hyped Facebook profile changes appeared on browsers everywhere on March 13. How BIG were these changes? As you can see here, the evolution of Facebook’s façade earned Zuckerberg an invite to appear on Oprah. Clearly, dorm room tech geeks aren’t the only ones noticing the social media frenzy.

Where’s all this buzz coming from? Well, Zuckerberg’s changes mark the latest chapter in the clash between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has built its reputation on simplicity since CEO Evan Williams launched the site in 2006. Zuckerberg threw subtleties aside when he joined the 6 million on Twitter with a username of his own (thezuckerberg), apparently researching the micro-blog from the inside. (For those scoring at home, add “Espionage” to the list of professions social media has transformed.) The most obvious examples of Facebook’s robbery: When users sign on to Twitter they are greeted with the eerily coincidental question, “What are you doing?”. Facebook’s revamped look helps companies develop a presence on the site beyond the traditional “Fan Pages”. With Facebook’s improved business-oriented functionality, look for Facebook’s membership to spike in the upcoming months.

In the past six months, Twitter has really found its stride attracting celebrities, musicians, politicians, professional athletes, news agencies, businesses, and even President Barack Obama (username: BarackObama). This diverse, informational, and entertaining Twitter population was growing so much (752% In the last year!!) that Facebook looked to purchase the site last year to the tune of $500million in stock. Twitter and Williams rebuffed the offer, proclaiming that “Twitter is just getting started”. Facebook’s offer and subsequent rejection is even more astounding when you discover that Twitter is not a revenue-generating machine. Perhaps these are the changes Williams’ and his team foresee.

What’s the next step in this titanic clash of social media giants? It’s hard to speculate, but definitely fun to watch. Stay tuned.

Case Ernsting

About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &Marketing &Media &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 20 Mar 2009 03:51 pm

Thought Leadership

Are you a thought leader? Thought leaders are credible, insightful industry professionals (often heads of companies) with the expertise to comment on industry trends and issues…basically, the leaders of thoughts. This is highly desirable brand position requiring a focused public relations (PR) effort and a commitment to hard work.

Thought leaders provide insight and vision and therefore, are “go to” sources for members of the media often providing quotes and commentary for news coverage. Highly visible examples include Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page of Google, Richard Branson of Virgin Megastores, or Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. These leaders provide insight of global scale due to their product’s popularity around the world. It is also possible to carve out a niche for your company’s product or service locally or wherever you define your target market.

A few thought-leadership tips from www.skmarketing.com, a Minneapolis based business-to-business marketing agency:

1. Availability: Respect the hectic schedule of the journalists and other members of the press and return all calls ASAP.
2. Preparedness: As a thought leader, you are expected to possess wisdom and a familiarity with a wide variety of topics in your field. It is advised that you prepare talking points prior to any media engagement/interview.
3. Be Opinionated: Donald Trump might be the best example of this type of thought leadership. Thought leaders are expected to bring something new to the conversation without sitting on the fence. Be bold, compelling and dramatic.
4. Persistence: Create your own fortune through thought leadership tools. Examples include determined press releases, knowledgeable speaking engagements, effective social media, white papers, by-lined articles, and/or case studies.

Eiler Communications has practiced these skills for over twenty years, establishing brand messages and thought leadership strategies for local and national businesses. David Mielke, Dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, is an example of a local thought leader Eiler Communications works with consistently. Mielke has established a voice in the business community writing articles in the Ann Arbor Business Review and on www.MLive.com, often times commenting on the current state of business ethics. Mielke also serves on a number of economic and business boards.

So, are you ready to be a thought leader?

Case Ernsting

Uncategorized 18 Mar 2009 02:40 pm

Whither the Watchdog Function of Newspapers?

Watchdog Function Disappearing

“As Americas newspapers shrink and shed staff, and broadcast news outlets sinks in the ratings, a new kind of web-based news operation has arisen in several cities, forcing newspapers to follow the stories they uncover.” The New York Times, November 17, 2008, Richard Perez-Pena.

See www.voiceofsandiego.org, which provides a brand of “serious, original reporting by professional journalists….” In the past few years, similar “papers” have been started in Chicago, New Haven, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Haven… and ANN ARBOR.

Newspapers have for many years been the watchdog over government, business, society in general.

But as newspapers ebb in their influence and new and social media – more immediate and deliverable and in demand by us all – there is a growing presence of community web sites that are picking up the function and watching what officials do.

One of these is exemplified right here in Ann Arbor – The Ann Arbor Chronicle. It covers offbeat and eclectic topics, but also covers what people are hearing and saying. Its audience is now small, but growing rapidly and covering a space that needs to be served.

And this type of digital publication is appearing across the nation in large cities and medium and small cities. As people’s quest for sound information remains, so these new methods of delivering news on the Internet is coming to life.

While these sites do not fully fill the void left by lack of coverage, they do provide a start to another new way people will get information in the future. A future of new and social media that have current problems with monetization, but which nevertheless continue their appearance and develop into one more way people get news in new digital delivery forms.

Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Financial Services &Leadership &Michigan Positive &Michigan Public Relations Firm &PR Firm for Economic Development 06 Mar 2009 06:18 pm

The Helping (Hand) State

Don’t turn on the news tonight. Take a night off. I’ll spare you the suspense… Unemployment is high, the markets are down, and the Red Wings (probably) won.

The negative economic circumstance dominates newscasts these days, but we rarely hear about the financial aid available. President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on February 17th thereby generating thousands of dollars for business owners seeking aid in the tough economy. The ARRA is designed to stimulate many different industries around the country, with unique investments here in Michigan. In efforts to accelerate the economic recovery, Governor Jennifer Granholm’s administration has created a website filled with helpful hints on obtaining grants and tax aid for state businesses. Granholm and her staff should be commended on the launch of this site, for Michigan is one of only 17 in the nation to offer ARRA information with such ease. Sites assisting the search for recovery financing:

www.Grants.com
www.Recovery.gov
www.Michigan.gov/recovery

Governor Granholm can be seen here, outlining the state’s use of ARRA funds.

Work is being done to fuel the local economy as well. Ann Arbor SPARK is focused on continuously supporting regional businesses and entrepreneurs throughout these tough economic times offering programs, resources, and proactive backing. Many businesses have heard about and benefited from SPARK’s commitment to Ann Arbor innovation.

Hopefully your business has stood up to the downward sloping economy, but if you’re having trouble, make sure you apply for grants and financial assistance soon. Many grants have a “90 Day Window” for applications. The economy can’t wait, and neither should you.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming….

Case Ernsting