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Pucks and PR

Because hockey is more than just a game

So many people talk of social media as if it’s the lone key to success, glory and riches. In reality, it’s merely a tool for a communications strategy.

Through it, people and businesses alike can engage an audience. And yes, in some cases it can lead to great things. As I wrote last week, Paul Bissonnette, or BizNasty as most know him, of the Phoenix Coyotes has become one of the most influential people in the world of hockey thanks to his Twitter presence.

Through that article I learnt a very important lesson about the use of social media. Targeted communication is one of the keys to success.

All too often, people and businesses hope to simply catch a break. Maybe someone, somewhere will read the content or see the product or click a link and that will be the start of success.

That’s a recipe for failure. Targeting is crucial unless you’re already a household name.

Why do I say that? Because I experienced it last week with that BizNasty story. I try to be aggressive in my promotion. Through Twitter I tag the people I write about. Sometimes they notice, sometimes they don’t.

In the case of BizNasty, when at first I got no response to my story, I tweeted it again several days later. Maybe it was a slow day or maybe he liked it, but whatever the reason, he retweeted my story and the site nearly crashed.

My audience of followers was fewer than 100. His was over 100,000.

BizNasty’s retweet drove traffic to my site up by 470% over the next busiest day. Not at all coincidentally, my most active days prior to that had been when retweeted by Mike Commodore and Theo Fleury.

My followers on Twitter also jumped by 40% thanks to BizNasty.

Through the retweet, my story has landed on websites, blogs, RSS feeds and other social media sites the world over. And while site hits are down from that first day, my daily average is well up as people continue to be brought to Pucks and PR through those other forums. But eventually the impact will subside and I’ll need another retweet. But with each one, followers are gained, content is more widely distributed and my readership goes up.

This experience has taught me several important lessons that I’d like to share:

  1. Knowing your medium, knowing your audience and knowing how to target communications is essential;
  2. Always identify those who influence your audience;
  3. Passive promotion is failed promotion;
  4. Social media is like a person – it has a short attention span. One good day is just one day. You still need 364 others.
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