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Thank you for visiting the Co-Communications Blog!  We recently moved our blog to info.cocommunications.com/blog and hope you will visit us there for the latest insights on PR, Marketing and Social Media!

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How do you define influence?

Defining objectives and setting benchmarks are key components of a successful communications campaign. Unfortunately, all campaign outputs aren’t as easy to measure as the number of new volunteers, e-blast signups, new clients and dollars raised. Some outputs are less tangible – like influence.  Certainly, a company could presume that a new client who came on board as a direct result of the company’s latest social media campaign could declare they influenced that one individual, but how do you define and quantify influence before you reach a dollars and cents outcome?

The social fundamentals
When my colleague and I lead social media workshops, we start by defining the core value of social media – community building. Whether it is reaching new audiences or becoming better engaged with existing audiences, it’s about getting the right people in the virtual room. Once you have the right people in the virtual room, it’s about messaging – what are you telling people? how are you telling it to them? and, why are you telling it to them?

The messages themselves drive at the core of influence – what is your desired outcome? What are you trying to influence people to say, do or think? Answering these simple questions is the key to defining influence as it relates to your organization.

Influence isn’t a numbers game
Certainly, nobody wants to talk to a sparsely populated room…let alone an empty one. That said, one also doesn’t want to talk exclusively to people who fall outside of their target audience. When thinking about influence and striving to become an influencer, remember that it is more valuable to be highly influential to a small group of people within your target audience than to be slightly influential to a large group of people who aren’t your target audience. If you dedicate time to interacting with this small group and building relationships with them, your dividends will exceed those earned by pushing information out to the wrong people. Sometimes less really is more.

Influence isn’t about quantity
I recently learned my Klout score had fallen by one point. When reviewing the analytics, it became apparent that my score dropped because my volume of tweets had fallen over the past week. While consistent outreach is an important component of a successful communications campaign, one does not instantly become less influential by tweeting twice per day as opposed to three times per day. If you tweet twenty times in one day and not for six months thereafter, well, that’s another story…

Based on the quantity model, one would be more influential by sharing five random headlines they copied and pasted from Google than they would be by carefully choosing and sharing two articles that were relevant to their target audience. Remember, quality always prevails.

As you work to increase your influence, remember to start with the basics – define your objectives, identify your target audiences and make quality a priority. Most importantly, set realistic benchmarks for your outreach efforts and develop a definition of influence that is relevant to your organization.

Danielle M. Cyr
@Danielle Cyr

Best of Westchester 2011 – The Social Media Tent

Best of Westchester 2011 – The perfect opportunity to jump into the world of Westchester Social Media, with the first ever Social Media Tent! Adorned in ultra-fabulous décor, the Social Media tent was the hot-spot of the night.

Westchester’s top social media influencers and bloggers came together to discuss what’s hot in the fast paced world of social media- all while tweeting live from the event at a special blogger hub with live twitter stream! This was the chance to finally put a face to the tweets we’ve all been following in preparation for the big night.

Leading up to the event, Westchester Magazine hosted a special Social Media Competition. With the hashtag, #BOW2011, all were invited to tweet, post, share and buzz about the upcoming party.  Alexandra Oppenheimer was the lucky winner of the evening!

Along with our top bloggers, guests had the opportunity to meet Westchester Magazine Publisher, Ralph A. Martinelli and Christina DeLeon, Miss Westchester 2011.

The night was a huge success and I am already looking forward to next year! In the ever-changing world of social media, who knows what will be in store for the Social Media Tent 2012!!

Special thanks to Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group (@sparklingruby) for coordinating the evening!

-Kim Sawicki

Co-Communications Garners Two Gold Mercury Awards

Farmington, Conn. (July 6, 2011) – Co-Communications, Inc., a full-service public relations and marketing agency, was recognized with two Gold Mercury Awards by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) at the Connecticut Valley, Southern Connecticut, and Westchester/Fairfield Chapters’ Annual Mercury Awards celebration at Fantasia in North Haven on June 23rd.

Co-Communications received Gold Mercury Awards for its work on behalf of 2-1-1 Child Care and the Connecticut Historical Society.

For 2-1-1 Child Care, a free, multilingual resource that helps families across Connecticut find child care arrangements to best meet their needs, Co-Communications received Gold in Not-for-Profit Community Relations.  In 2010, Co-Communications executed a strategic campaign on behalf of the non-profit that increased awareness of its new interactive online support functionality and summer camp placement resources while demonstrating the impact Connecticut’s economy was having on the child care industry and providing parents with tips and resources to navigate the changed landscape.

Co-Communications also received a Gold Mercury Award in Not-for-Profit Reputation/Brand Management for its work on behalf of the Connecticut Historical Society.  Established in 1825, the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS) is a non-profit museum, library, and education center and one of the oldest historical societies in the nation.  In 2010, Co-Communications developed an ongoing campaign that highlighted the programs and exhibits that make CHS an indispensable resource for connecting the present with the past and inspiring a love of history among this and future generations.

“We are honored to have our work recognized by our peers and to be in the company of so many outstanding PR pros and campaigns,” said Jessica Lyon, Vice President, Co-Communications. “Thank you to PRSA for this recognition.”

 

Awarded annually, PRSA’s Mercury Awards recognize outstanding advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns throughout Connecticut, Westchester County, New York and Western Massachusetts.

About Co-Communications:
Established in 1997, Co-Communications (www.cocommunications.com) provides public relations, direct mail, advertising, e-mail campaigns, special events, and Web site development.  Co-Communications produces award winning campaigns for clients in such industries as real estate, healthcare, finance, and technology.  The Connecticut office of Co-Communications is located at 1027 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT and can be reached at 860-676-4400.

What’s So Pinteresting?

After watching people repeatedly tweet their profound love for Pinterest, I decided it was time to do some investigating. I wondered, what could be so darn pinteresting that I need yet another social media profile? I can barely keep-up with blogging, tweeting, and status updates, never mind adding a new platform to the mix. Then I saw those three magical words that changed everything – Save. Your. Recipes.

My personal reasons for exploring Pinterest aside, I can’t help but wonder if we can sustain another platform. It’s been deemed a tool for social image bookmarking and one that empowers social curators. And, while there is no denying the visual appeal of an online pinboard that replicates the memory boards that many hang in their homes and offices, are graphics enough to get people excited about a new wave in social bookmarking? The dialogues about Digg, Delicious and Stumpleupon have faded away and I honestly can’t remember the last time I used any of those platforms, personally or professionally.

In Pinterest’s favor are an eye-catching aesthetic and familiar functionality. At first blush, Pinterest seems like a hybrid of Tumblr and Twitter. It’s great for ‘life casting’ and sharing your personal interests with cyber peeps which is how many use Tumblr. You can ‘Repin’ an item of interest from another user’s account, which would seem like the equivalent of reposting and retweeting on Tumblr and Twitter. All of which begs the question, if you have Twitter and Tumblr, do you need/want Pinterest?

Danielle Cyr
@DanielleCyr

Co-Communications Garners Six Big W Awards

Mount Kisco, New York – (June 13, 2011) – Co-Communications, Inc., a full-service marketing communications firm, was recognized with six Big W awards by the Ad Club of Westchester, during its annual gala at Abigail Kirsch at the Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown, NY on June 8, 2011.

Co-Communications received Ad Club of Westchester (ACW) awards in the PR category for the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, Westchester Library System, The GYM in Armonk, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester and Food Bank for Westchester.

Co-Communications picked up four gold ACW awards for The Guiding Eyes for the Blind (33rd Annual Golf Classic), The GYM in Armonk (Breast Cancer Awareness campaign), Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester (Ongoing campaign), and Food Bank for Westchester (Ongoing campaign).  Silver awards were garnered for the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester (Ongoing campaign) and Westchester Library System (13th annual African-American Writers & Readers Literary Tea).

This is the second consecutive year that Co-Communications Guiding Eyes for the Blind campaign received recognition. The firm’s 2010 Guiding Eyes campaign received ACW’s “Best of Show.”  The campaign generated more than 300 media results (print, broadcast, online), reaching an audience of over 30 million. Major media included CBS Sunday Morning, ABC, NBC, Sports Net New York, New York Post, The Journal News, USA Today and The Today Show.

“It is an honor to be recognized by our peers for the work we have developed on behalf of all of our clients,” said Stacey Cohen, President, Co-Communications. “Once again this year we find ourselves in good company with a number of other remarkable marketing communications firms in Westchester and Connecticut and feel honored to receive these awards.”

Awarded annually, the Ad Club of Westchester’s Big W awards recognize outstanding advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns throughout Westchester County, New York, New York City and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

About Co-Communications:
Established in 1997, Co-Communications (www.cocommunications.com) provides public relations, direct mail, advertising, e-mail campaigns, special events, and Web site development.  Co-Communications produces award winning campaigns for clients in such industries as real estate, healthcare, finance, and technology.  Co-Communications headquarters’ are located at 332 East Main Street, Mt. Kisco, NY, and be contacted at 914.666.0066. The company’s satellite office is located at 1027 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT and can be reached at 860-676-4400.

Social Media: Useful Tool or Senseless Distraction?

Do social media tools enhance productivity? Do social media jobs contribute significantly to the economy? Are they (social media platforms) simply a distraction that adds no value to the economy? These thought-provoking questions are among the many raised by the recent TIME story by Zachary Karabell, To Tweet or Not to Tweet, which got me thinking about life before social media. Or should I, more accurately say, life without digital distractions.

As someone who recently cut down on tweeting due to time constraints, I can attest first-hand to the distraction factor. Just the other day I found myself lured by great content, which led me to other great content and, before I knew it, 15-minutes had lapsed and, while I had gained some great insights, I hadn’t accomplished anything. Nothing was checked off the ‘to do’ list. Yet, I had 15-minutes less left in my day to accomplish the tasks at hand.

While there is no doubt that one can learn a lot by observing, listening to, and engaging in social media, it is rather easy to be baited by the new and shiny content that crawls across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like each day. It requires an incredible amount of self restraint to resist the distraction and an even greater amount of time to actively engage in social media and generate a measurable return-on-investment for your own or your client’s brand.

On the other hand, social media is helping business whose revenues have been negatively impacted by the economy to reach new prospective consumers, engage with otherwise unreachable key audiences, and – thanks to LivingSocial and Groupon – promote their brand and sell their wares in a way that has baited many consumers hook, line and sinker. It is giving businesses an opportunity to boost their bottom line, through a no-cost interface, which is exceedingly attractive in a climate where ad budgets have diminished, marketing initiatives has been scaled back and the bottom-line is monitored more closely than it has been in decades.

As for those seeking and obtaining jobs in social media, they are gaining insights in how to engage with consumers. If the platforms rise and fall, they are still learning what content and communication techniques drive consumers to action and rally supporters. If Twitter crashes and micro-blogging comes to pass, it doesn’t mean that communicating with key audiences in 140-characters or less is not an effective method of messaging.

While I have honed in on a mere pittance of the many valuable insights Karabell shares – and some may argue even short-changed the economic impact of his story – just one excerpt of the story demonstrates the impact of social media on how people communicate, how they do business, and how they set their business and themselves apart from their competitors and peers. 

At the end of the day, whether you are a Twitter-holic or a social media skeptic, it all comes down to reach and impact. Who are you talking to and how are they impacting your bottom line?

Danielle Cyr
@DanielleCyr