Social media is here to stay and the best social media campaigns are those that captivate and engage their target audience. However, when social media truly “works” it helps companies to reach a goal which usually results in increased traffic, loyalty, leads, closed business or better brand or authority positioning. There's a huge opportunity to do social media well and very few companies are executing it well. We had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Sinn of anthonyBarnum Public Relations about how she started her business, her approach to PR and social media strategy.
What’s your story?
I have a 20-year career in public relations. I started in New York at large, elite national PR firms. The people I worked with were really the spark – and the nature of the work which combines strategy, business and trend analysis, creativity, writing and sheer persistence to move an initiative forward.
I started anthonyBarnum because I love public relations and the people who do it; because there really weren’t opportunities for me at other firms in Texas back in 2003 when the economy was still struggling; and, because I believed there was a better way to do PR.
What does your business do?
We are a complex sector national public relations and social media firm. Our mission is to create systematic public relations and social media campaigns with quantifiable and measurable results. Our vision is to bring public relations and social media to the most complicated and advanced industries. Instead of “storytelling,” which has been how PR firms describe themselves, we are about objectives, strategy and tactics against a plan. We want the result of our work – earned media and compelling social media – to connect people, ideas and advancements that are beneficial and meaningful to business and society. There are huge conversations and exchanges of ideas that need to transpire as technology, healthcare, infrastructure and laws advance and change. We take on those more complex types of industries where the conversation being created requires a higher level of skill. That’s what drives anthonyBarnum.
Tell us about social media strategy and why it's important?
Complex, B2B companies are struggling with social media. Consumer-driven brands have found ways to harness it. Great. Oreos, M&Ms, Mr. Clean – all these products are represented by witty social media masters. But there is another dialog that is absolutely critical and that is in sectors and industries that aren’t going to benefit from a quick quip on Twitter. They need to build engagement on the quality of their ideas and vision. Midmarket, complex B2B companies are struggling with their social media. First, for three social media platforms a company is looking at 70 to 75 posts per month. That’s a huge volume. Second, companies need to have the right stack of “owned,” original thought leadership driven social media, connection with their industry and posts that talk about the culture and personality of their organization. If the mix relies too heavily on non-engaging internal events versus thought leading issues – the social media is not going to resonate and be a meaningful representation of the brand.
Social media is also important because it is important to increasing swaths of business decision makers. Millennials are 35 years old. Gen-Xers are highly engaged in social media. Relationships and lunches are not the only drivers of modern business and many businesses need to get caught up to be relevant to the shifts among their decision makers.
What has your firm found to be best practices for those trying to grow their company and brand?
The number one best practice is to build the foundation of a social media campaign on thought leadership that highlights a company’s key differentiators. So, instead of thinking of social media as perfunctory posts, view it as a meaningful platform for communicating insights. A platform for connecting on real concepts relevant to your business. Please see our ePaper on Best Social Media Practices.
What are some trends that you notice for 2017?
The new administration is making policy shifts that are impacting a wide swath of industries and experts are needed to drill down, clarify and move forward a conversation about what that means. Our law firm, healthcare and infrastructure engineering clients are in demand for their expertise in translating policy into its impact on business.
Two thousand seventeen continues the rapid advancement of new technologies reshaping industries and the way we live. This will not change – one minute it’s the impact of artificial intelligence to big data to interconnected ecosystems of technology.
Where do you see the social media landscape in the next 5-10 years?
I believe social media is evolving into categories – from purely entertainment to news to dialogs. I believe over social media will grow dramatically and increasingly become a key platform for companies to communicate their expertise.
How do you learn as an entrepreneur and stay abreast of changes?
I’m in PR, so I am a natural born news junky and am non-stop engaged in news, taking in everything from NPR toInc., The New York Times and lots more. aB represents some of the most compelling midmarket and marketing leading global companies. By doing so, we really are connected to leaders working on big issues and challenges – this is what we thrive in.
anthonyBarnum Public Relations, a national public relations and social media firm, based in Austin has years of experience in designing and implementing social media campaigns on multiple platforms for a wide variety of topics and clients.