How to Attract Corporate Sponsors Using Social Media

One of the best ways to raise money for your business or organization is by getting corporate sponsors. Many large corporations are seeking smaller businesses, non-profits and organizations to invest in. They may want to do this for a variety of reasons. If it’s a charity or cause, provides the corporation with good publicity. If it’s a business, it lets them get in on the ground floor of potentially profitable endeavor.

If you want to attract corporate sponsors, social media provides you with many useful tools for doing so. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially useful for this purpose. Let’s see how you can use these and other social media sites in your quest for sponsors.

Develop Your Own Platforms

Before you can even begin to attract corporate sponsors, you should make sure you’re ready. In addition to having a great proposal, you also need your own strong online presence, especially on social media platforms. When you contact potential sponsors, one of the first things they’re going to do is look up your website and social media pages. If you’ve contacted someone on Twitter and you only have 20 Twitter followers, you aren’t going to make the best impression.

You want to build a growing and organic social media presence on your chosen platforms. The way you do this will depend on the nature of your business and industry. If video is one of your specialties, it’s always impressive to have a popular YouTube channel. Having lots of engaged followers on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn also helps. It’s about more than numbers, though. Everyone knows nowadays that anyone can buy Twitter followers or Facebook likes. You need to make the effort to attract engaged, long-term social media followers. This will put you in a much more powerful position when it comes to getting sponsors.

Locating Potential Sponsors

Most of your potential sponsors will be on multiple social networks. It’s therefore best to connect with them in as many ways as possible. There’s no one “best” site for connecting, as it really depends on the habits and preferences of the people with whom your trying to connect. Some people are more active on Twitter, others on Facebook or LinkedIn.

You need to connect with individuals, not merely businesses. It’s therefore not enough to like or follow the business pages of companies. After identifying as many companies in your niche as possible, you’ll want to identify specific people in that organization. This includes not only the owner, CEO or CFO of a company, but any influential people with whom you might connect.

Since it doesn’t take any time or money to follow people, you should seek to connect with as many people in a company that interests you as possible. All you need is to develop a relationship with one key person in the company. And developing relationships is the crucial concept here.

Focus on Developing Relationships

Sending someone you just met a message such as “please sponsor my business” is most likely not going to work. You need to develop relationships with people. This may sound like a long and drawn out process, but keep in mind that the world of social media operates at lightening speed. You can exchange multiple messages with someone over the course of a few days.

Here are a few tips for developing relationships with key people in corporations.

  • Show a genuine interest in their activities. When you message someone, it’s good to refer to an article, blog post, video or talk they’ve given. Refer to something specific so they know you’re paying attention.
  • Share their content. This includes retweeting, sharing Facebook posts and otherwise linking to their content. You can do this on your own social media pages, your blog or anywhere you’re active online.
  • Connect with as many influencers in your industry as possible. This goes beyond companies you think might sponsor you. The more relationships you have, the better your chances of finding the right sponsor. Having strategic alliances enhances your status and it also gives you access to people who know people in the companies you do want to approach.

How to Request Sponsorships

If you’re confident you have a great proposal, you can contact people you’ve just met online. The above suggestion to first establish some kind of relationship is usually best to follow, though. Either way, you have to be careful how you word your request.

  • Ask for a meeting, phone call or Skype session. You aren’t going to secure a sponsorship via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn message or email. Your goal using such platforms is to open the door to a real conversation. You should create a compelling pitch that makes them curious enough to at least listen to your proposal.
  • Make sure you emphasize the benefit to their company. it’s obvious that you’re going to be getting something from this partnership. But it’s up to you to show them how it will benefit them.
  • Contact lots of people. Don’t get overly attached to the idea of getting a particular sponsor. You may have to contact hundreds or even thousands of people in many companies before you find the right match.
  • Send a powerful sponsorship letter. This is a letter that outlines the benefits to both you and your sponsor. You can start with a template and adjust it to specific companies. It’s best to send this letter once you have an existing relationship with the prospect.

Using social media to attract corporate sponsors is a powerful strategy. You don’t have to limit yourself to social media. You should also utilize email and offline tactics. With so many business owners and executives active on social media, however, you should definitely not overlook this method of finding sponsors.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for College Students

Almost all college students are active on social media. If you’re in college, chances are you have at least a Facebook and Twitter account and you may also use Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn or other platforms. These sites are great for both socializing and making potentially valuable connections. However, there are also certain cautions you need to keep in mind. We’ve all heard stories about people who have gotten into serious trouble or even ruined their careers by making social media blunders.

In college, you may not think that there’s as much at stake as there is for, say, a professional athlete, movie star or CEO. In a way, this is true. However, you also have to think about your future. Whether you’re sending out your resume now or are planning to launch your career a few years from now, what you say on social media today may be found by someone in a human resources office. According to one study, more than half of employers search social media when screening job applicants. That’s why you should keep certain guidelines in mind as you enjoy your online social activities.

The Internet Leaves a Permanent Trail

One aspect of the internet, and social media in particular, that even the most tech-savvy people often overlook is that there’s a permanent record of every single thing you post. In some cases, you can delete posts or other content. However, if anyone has already shared it, there still may be copies floating around in cyberspace. In addition, even deleted content leaves a trail that someone doing a thorough search can find. There’s also the fact that most people who use social media use these sites extensively. You probably don’t even remember what you posted a week ago.

What Not to Post

College is a time for fun and socializing in between classes. You may not always be thinking about your future. You should remember, though, that part of the reason you’re in school is to prepare for your career. Today, companies are more and more careful about whom they hire. The internet provides a convenient way to find out facts that job applicants don’t put on their resumes. This can work in your favor or against you.

Suppose you are applying for jobs with conservative companies such as banks and you’re trying to convey a serious and professional image. If you have hundreds of Facebook photos that show you drinking and partying, you’re not going to be helping your cause. If you’ve posted these photos all over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it would be hard to track them all down and delete them. Remember also that other people can tag you and post unwanted content to their own social media pages. It’s hard to prevent this all the time. It’s something to think about before you take photos that seem fun in the moment. You can also ask people to be considerate about not tagging you without your permission.

You don’t have to be overly cautious about this. No one expects you to go through college as if it was a convent or monastery. If you appear in a couple of photos from a bar or party, it shouldn’t be a problem. On the other hand, you don’t want a pattern to emerge that makes it look like you spend more time partying than studying. Here’s a summary of what you should avoid or minimize when posting to social media.

  • Situations where drinking alcohol is the dominant activity. A little of this is acceptable, but don’t make it a major part of your identity.
  • Insulting or trolling comments. If you tend to be negative or argumentative online, try to curtail this. No one wants to hire someone with a bad attitude.
  • Negative comments about public figures or companies, especially if you plan to work in that industry. If you want to criticize someone, do so in a reasoned way and avoid personal insults.
  • Excessive profanity.
  • Anything involving illegal drugs. This could be enough to prevent you from getting hired or, if discovered later, get you fired.
  • Sexually explicit photos or videos. Many people have had this type of content come back to haunt them years later.
  • Anything that could be labeled as racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive.

Using Social Media to Help Your Image

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news when it comes to posting on social media. Most of what you post is neutral and will neither help nor harm your reputation. There are certain things that can actually cast you in a more positive light. Here are some of the social media activities that help to build a good reputation.

  • Travel photos. Traveling shows that you’re interested in exploring new places and expanding your horizons. This, of course, doesn’t mean photos from Spring Break or sipping margaritas on the beach in Cancun. Post photos of yourself in front of monuments, artwork, interesting buildings and historical landmarks.
  • Thoughtful comments. With so much emphasis on visuals, it’s still nice to post your thoughts in written form. You don’t have to compose long essays. Jotting down your thoughts on social issues, politics or the meaning of life shows that you have some depth.
  • Intellectually stimulating content. Quotes by well-known writers, scientists, political leaders and others are always good. You might, however, want to authenticate quotes before posting them, as there are many misattributed quotes on the internet these days. Videos of TED Talks and other serious topics help to bolster your image as an intellectual.
  • Interest and hobbies. Employers and graduate schools like well-rounded people. Showing yourself engaging in various activities, such as sports, working in a garden, volunteering, sailing, making art or engaging in other hobbies convey that you have lots of interests.

Have Fun But Pay Attention

The major point to keep in mind is that you should always be conscious about what you post to social media sites. You don’t have to be paranoid about it, unless perhaps you’re planning to run for public office or work for the government. However, you should realize that everything you post contributes, if only in a very small way, to your overall image. When you apply for jobs, graduate school, law or medical school, grants or anything that may involve scrutiny, you don’t want to end up regretting something you posted in a thoughtless moment.

Know Your Options as a PR Consultant

For those choosing to go into PR—and many are, with PR projected to be one of the top 10 occupations by 2022, the career options are plentiful. PR pros can work for corporations, agencies, nonprofits, start-ups, or small businesses. They can specialize in a variety of areas that fall under PR, from producing content to crisis communications to media relations and more.

So, why might a PR practitioner pursue consulting as a career path?

For those who’ve worked in-house, becoming a PR consultant can be an attractive option. Agencies tend to burn out their brightest stars with long hours and low pay. Meanwhile, those who work in corporate PR can get bogged down in bureaucracy, making it tough to feel as if they’re making a difference. This can lead to boredom or the suspicion that they’re a cog in the wheel.

Given that, more PR pros may turn to consulting as a career option. Many small and medium-sized businesses look to consultants to help out with their PR initiatives. For consultants, this relationship can be rewarding since their work directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

Further, PR consultants enjoy the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere. lowering overhead costs. If you have a phone and a laptop, you’re in business. Soloists can work with other vendors as needed, so they don’t need to hire and pay staff.

Of course, beyond the basics, consultants may want to consider additions like subscriptions to media databases, and social media monitoring software, so they can track campaign results for clients.

What are some areas of PR specialization?

  • Writing: Small and medium businesses need content—but who has time to devote to creating it? PR consultants can neatly fill this gap by writing content ranging from newsletters, blog posts, press releases, contributed articles, white papers, and case studies.
  • Social media: Social media is another area in which PR pros can shine. Their ability to research topics to find content that companies can post—in addition to brand content—can help maintain a steady stream of traffic.
  • Event planning: Some PR consultants excel at planning and executing trade shows, community events, and conferences for small and medium businesses that lack dedicated event staff.
  • Crisis communications: It’s no secret that today’s brands can easily find themselves in hot water. Anything from an accidental social media misstep or national tragedy can affect businesses—many who aren’t equipped to handle these situations. PR consultants who specialize in crisis communications can help steer businesses down the right path.
  • Media relations: Still a crucial part of a strong PR effort, the practice of media relations requires a particular skill set. The consultants that specialize in this area can help companies secure earned media opportunities.
  • Thought leadership: PR consultants are primed to implement initiatives for executives that include them writing and speaking at conferences, as it requires focused effort, sometimes within a defined timetable. Fruits of such a program can feed other marketing initiatives (like social media and the company’s blog).
  • Influencer marketing: A growing area of PR, influencer marketing involves how to best plug influencers into your PR and comms efforts. A consultant can help hone in on key influencers and start to build relationships on behalf of the company.

With the right framework and tools in place, hanging out a shingle as a successful PR consultant can become a reality for today’s PR pros looking for more independence and variety in their work. As the PR profession continues to change and grow, expect more comms pros to consider this increasingly popular option.

 


November Social Media Recap

Politics can be kryptonite for public relations, and this month anyone looking for news and advice on social media has been inundated with what might feel like a solid wall of politics-based news and analysis. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here is our completely election-free recap of what’s new and what’s next for social media in November.

Twitter

One of the challenges of great PR comes from managing success. As your client becomes more popular and well known, the chances of encountering internet trolls rise. This is especially true if your client is a celebrity or celebrity brand. This month Twitter rolled out a new version of its Mute button designed to help combat internet bullying and online abuse. Now users can block and report harassing accounts, right from their Notification Settings option. 

This is a fantastic (and somewhat overdue) move on Twitter’s part, but it has a flip side that PR pros should keep in mind. As you create copy for your clients on Twitter, it’s important to use a media intelligence tool to monitor what is being muted and blocked on the platform to ensure that you are still being heard. You can do that by keeping an eye on negative trending topics and adjusting your content accordingly.

Pinterest

Pinterest has a fantastic conversion rate for online shoppers who enjoy aspirational visual browsing, and offers a wonderfully visual platform for PR pros who know how to leverage it. In recent weeks Pinterest added some new targeting features to help expand the reach of your Pins. These targeting options include creating audiences, campaigns, and retargeting Pins based on clicks, comments, saves, likes, or close ups.  If you have a great website, you can even build audiences around specific pins and bring people back to your hub.

It’s also possible to “reverse engineer” your audience conversion if you have a Pinterest tag on your site. Pinterest will take the categories people browse on your site, Pins they’ve liked, and purchases they may have completed and pull that data to help you create better, more dynamic targeting with visual content.

You can also make use of the Pinterest Explore tab to keep your eye on what’s trending, right now. This is handy for PR pros who need to be up on the latest inspirational or aspirational content for their brands.

No More Fakes

Google and Facebook announced crackdowns on fake news sites this week. Most PR pros using digital media and social media for their clients should be fine, but keeping an eye on the sources being used for curated content is now more important than ever. This will mainly impact PR pros utilizing AdWords on Google, as Google will be restricting ad placement on questionable sites (a good outcome for PR!) and PR folks using the Facebook ad network. More details will be released from both Facebook and Google as details of how these restrictions will be implemented are announced.

YouTube

In case you missed it, video juggernaut YouTube has now released its End Screens feature to anyone posting content on the platform. By making it possible for anyone to overlay a thumbnail at the end of their videos, content creators will have another way to keep viewers engaged. Danny Goodwin offers these tips on how to use End Screens:

  1. Promote a YouTube video or playlist
  2. Request new subscribers to your channel
  3. Link out to your website
  4. Promote other YouTube channels you own

PR pros will know that End Screens offer even more options for their clients than simple redirects to expected places. One example would be creating a sub-campaign on a secondary YouTube or Pinterest channel and linked to that, or claiming a hashtag on Twitter and other hashtag-friendly platform and linking to the conversation on the search results page, or to a Spotify or Moments stream collecting real content from your fans in real time. The possibilities are endless!

The key takeaway from this month’s social media recap? Paying attention to trending topics and keywords just became much more important to keeping your brand visible on Twitter, visual content is king and rich with data on Pinterest, videos can now serve multiple purposes for PR, and sourcing your curated news and ad placement targeting for validity is vital.

Black Friday’s Retail Losers and Winners [Infographic]

We’re well into the holiday season, and in the States, Black Friday and its accompanying sales, long retail lines, busy parking lots, and new hot gadgets dominate both news and social media. But who were the winners and losers this Black Friday?

We put in social media and U.S. news searches into our media intelligence platform to see what gadgets Americans were buying and where they were buying them.

With a very narrow margin, Target was the brick and mortar winner. The win came despite anger from some consumers on social media at Target’s inclusive stance in the debate about the LGBT’s use of bathrooms. Target’s decision generated both #boycotttarget and #AnywhereButTarget campaigns as well as  #ThankYouTarget on the opposite side. Nonetheless, Target did exceptionally well in sales this Black Friday, and a hair better on share of voice than Best Buy, while Walmart slid into third place in chatter on news and social media.

Upstart holidays capitalizing on Thanksgiving/ Black Friday have been gaining traction the last few years. With a common hashtag as a rallying cry, Small Business Saturday lead the pack with Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday following behind, the newer Green Friday—a day that asks consumers to eschew Black Friday lines for a walk in a national park—was a distant fourth.

Though having multiple brand names included in the searches for Android Wear, the Apple Watch still dominated share of voice for smart watches. It was a different story for the iPhone vs. the Android phone, where having multiple brands for the Android handset may have had something to do with its lead of 22 percentage points. In game consoles, the Xbox One and PS4 dominated and in the nascent consumer drone market, DJI with it’s Mavic and Phantom models smoked the GoPro. 

There you have it, the share of voice winners of the Black Friday campaigns. If a company didn’t fare as well as they hoped, they still have Cyber Monday to try again. 

And if you’re interested in seeing how your brand matches up in your industry, contact us.

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