Cultivate the March Madness hoopla into your business strategy

Businesspeople can learn a lot from March Madness, whether you’re a basketball fan or not.  To put it simply, March Madness is when “the small guys face the giants to see how good they really are.” Diane Hurd, guest writer for PR Daily, wrote an article providing five lessons from March Madness that PR professionals can learn from. Using the same key points, here’s my take for businesspeople:

>> Preparation is KEY.

It’s important to do your research. Coaches are always seeking reports on their opponents to be ahead of the game. Research your industry’s news and latest trends, as well as your competitors. You never know what you may find that may get you ahead of your industry. Our best PR campaigns start with industry, publication and even individual reporter profiles.

>> Each player has to be on the same page.

It’s important to make sure all contributing staff/employees are on the same page. It’s hard executing a strategy if your message is lost or if there is conflicting ideas among the team. For example, the goal for both sales and marketing is to increase revenue for their company. So, it’s absolutely necessary for them to be on the same page in order to integrate their tactics smoothly to achieve the main goal. The best way to find compromising ideas is to brainstorm and make yourself open and available for any new ideas, questions or concerns your team may have.

>> Adjustments can be made throughout the game. 

Sometimes plans don’t pan out. In a game, if a certain play isn’t working out as planned, the coach and team will make adjustments accordingly. Likewise, have a backup plan if your initial one isn’t delivering the results you expected.  This advice reiterates both #1 and #2: Be prepared, make sure everyone is on the same page and be open for new ideas.

>> Two lay-ups are still better than one three-point shot.

When a team begins to fall behind, players are tempted to go after more difficult shots to raise their team’s score. On top of that, the term “go big or go home” is not the type of mindset any businessperson should ever have. Both of these factors cause chaos. For example, it would not be savvy for any businessperson to spend thousands of dollars on neon lights for their exhibit at a tradeshow and ignore opportunities to pre-show promote, create interesting booth content and have a post-show plan in place. As Hurd said, be sure to “pace yourself to ensure that the momentum continues.”

>> Stay hungry.

UCLA has won more National Championship titles for the NCAA Men’s Division I than any other team. One taste just wasn’t enough for them, and it shouldn’t be for you and your business partners. It’s important for each contributor to stay motivated and passionate about what they do, which allows them to feel confident enough to take on risks. Risk-taking is a good to technique that allows you to learn from mistakes and improve on successes for the future. Being a risk taker can certainly shape you into becoming a stronger competitor in the market.

To see some of our client-partner risk takers, click here.

Is there such a thing as social media etiquette?

A few months ago, we sent out a tweet briefly describing our services. A twitter user replied a few hours later describing their similar services along with our post. Rude. Has that ever happened to you?  Have people hijacked and/or spammed your posts before? Although it is not explicitly written as “social media law,” there is such a thing as social media etiquette.

Imagine that you’re a door-to-door salesperson posting flyers that describe your services and you are personally answering any questions along the way. Another salesperson, who offers the same services as you, drops by the same neighborhood and places their flyer over yours. The competition may be “fair game,” but it is not a fair game when they place their ad over yours.

To avoid potential negative press, here are nine golden rules of social media etiquette (list provided by Charlotte Varela’s Virally Blog):

  1. Don’t “air your dirty laundry” – Be professional when you write. Don’t post grievances about colleagues, acquaintances and clients for everyone to see. No one wants to see/hear that.
  2. Don’t be ignorant – Self-explanatory.
  3. Don’t constantly push sales – No one likes it when salesmen follow and hover around you offering their help. This concept applies to social media too. Keep it at a minimum.
  4. Don’t let your page go stale – Visitors can “permanently tune out” if you have nothing to offer. Think about the window shoppers. Imagine what they’d like to see at first glance.
  5. Don’t spam people – As mentioned before, don’t hijack someone’s post to deliver the same message, but for your own benefit. You have your own social media platform.
  6. Don’t link inappropriately – Varela says it best: “Posting social media updates that only link back to your homepage will only serve to infuriate your following and make your brand look hopelessly unprofessional.”
  7. Don’t use bots to gain followers – Manually follow people to ensure that every follow would be interested in your content. Besides, this technique is more personal.
  8. Don’t run competitions that clash with guidelines – In general, make sure you are aware of social media rules and guidelines!
  9. Don’t stuff with keywords – “Keyword stuffing is considered as web spam. Keep it real and just write.”

Want to make sure you’ve got the hang of it? Here are some other great resources to watch what you write and how you write: