Social Media to Keep You In the Loop

Did you see our live-stream Facebook video during the recent Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration in early May?

It was the first time we’ve broadcast live from that event – meaning you could be part of the action, even if you were watching from home!

If you follow us on Twitter, you’re the first to see our posts and news regarding legislative priorities and policy matters important to the Indiana business community.

Earlier this year, for example, you might have been following along as Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar tweeted from one of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma’s “Tweet Seats” during the Governor’s annual State of the State address.

On Instagram, you’ll get a glimpse of life behind the scenes here at the Indiana Chamber, from learning more about our new employees to how we celebrate the holidays, give back to the community and relax together as a company.

LinkedIn is a great way to learn about our many conferences and seminars, awards and updates and so much more.

You can also find us on YouTube with a variety of videos. Overall, social media is a great way to keep in touch with the Indiana Chamber and to receive breaking updates about the state’s business landscape.

Member news: If you’re looking for broader visibility for your company news and updates, submit your press releases through our Member Press Release submission form. Not only are those archived on our web site, but we regularly highlight this news and information to our 18,400+ Twitter followers and over 2,400 Facebook fans.Our presence on social media is also one of the benefits of membership with the Indiana Chamber. Here are some of the various member-related features you can find across our feeds:

  • Member Spotlight: We also shine the light on Indiana Chamber member companies through their own narrative with the Member Spotlight feature.
  • And we’re regularly interacting with Indiana Chamber member company accounts on social media, with this blog and the EchoChamber podcast, sharing conversations, posts and updates about what’s new in a number of companies and industries around the state.

But the best way for you to find out what we have to offer via social media is for you to follow, like or subscribe (if you don’t already) to our accounts.

You can also contact Communications and PR Manager Charlee Beasor at (317) 264-7543 if you have any questions or need more information about our social media presence and how your company can follow along or join in the conversation.

Eli Lilly Finds Positive Use for Social Media

Ragan.com recently reported on Eli Lilly’s foray into the world of social media. As the article mentions, it’s a little tricky for large pharmaceutical companies, as regulations dictate some of what they can say in that space.

Eli Lilly and Co. can’t talk about drugs or diseases, nor share patient stories on its blog or Twitter account.

Talk about a communication challenge.

Despite the restrictions of the heavily regulated pharma industry, it’s managed to find its voice. During a webinar with Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and Ragan Communications, Greg Kueterman shared what he’s learned about blogging and tweeting as part of the company’s corporate communications team.

Until last September, the company was invisible on social media. Strict regulations and the company’s ties to the federal government made it wary about getting involved on social media. Kueterman’s team wrestled with this question, “As a pharmaceutical company, where could we make a meaningful difference?”

Instead of worrying about what Lilly couldn’t say on social media, it concentrated on what it could…

How @LillyPad uses Twitter to spread its message

Are people really interested in following a Big Pharma company on Twitter?

“Not a lot of people are,” Kueterman concedes.

But @LillyPad hits its key audiences: legislative and staff, the media, philanthropists, and key stakeholders in Indiana, where the company is based.

So far, it has gathered more than 4,000 Twitter followers. Kueterman and his team tweet two to three times each day.

@LillyPad isn’t tweeting about drugs. Instead, the company is tweeting information about policy, sharing blog posts and news articles with stakeholders.
 

PR: Getting Out in Front Works Again (JetBlue Edition)

By now, you’ve heard the story about the JetBlue flight attendant who quit in an uproar, telling a customer — and many others — to (bleep) off. What’s more, he’s been anointed by some as a hero by angry employees nationwide. The whole incident was certainly unprofessional and not something the company is proud of. At any rate, after a day or so of public ridicule, Twitter wars with comedians, etc., JetBlue finally acknowledged the situation on its own blog and seemed to come off quite well:

Sometimes the weird news is about us…
It wouldn’t be fair for us to point out absurdities in other corners of the industry without acknowledging when it’s about us. Well, this week’s news certainly falls into that category. Perhaps you heard a little story about one of our flight attendants? While we can’t discuss the details of what is an ongoing investigation, plenty of others have already formed opinions on the matter. Like, the entire Internet. (The reason we’re not commenting is that we respect the privacy of the individual. People can speak on their own behalf; we won’t do it for them.)

While this episode may feed your inner Office Space, we just want to take this space to recognize our 2,300 fantastic, awesome and professional Inflight Crewmembers for delivering the JetBlue Experience you’ve come to expect of us.

Additionally, they were able to parlay the incident into a compliment for their existing employees.

So let this be a lesson that sometimes it’s best to address a situation upfront, rather than hope it goes away while losing your ability to control any part of the message.

Your Company Should Probably be Blogging

Unless you’re in the espionage business or something where you don’t want people to know what you’re up to, your company should probably be writing a blog. The blog Journalistics offers some advice on the why and how. Here’s a blip, but I’d recommend you read the whole thing:

There is only one thing that keeps most organizations from blogging…FEAR. The most common fears include:

  • Fear of People: your company is scared of people. If you write stuff on your blog, people will hold you to it (or hold the info against you). Worse, maybe competitors will get the upperhand – since information might leak out through the blog? And of course, people will say bad things about you in the comments. More good than bad will happen, trust me. Get over your fear and try a few posts – you won’t look back.
  • It’s Too Technical: HTML, CSS, RSS and PHP? Sounds like a bad game of Scrabble, right? A lot of organizations get hung up on the technical side of things. It’s too much work or will cost too much money to get a blog up and running. Honestly, it’s cheaper than almost any other type of marketing (and a lot easier to get a return). If you can type an email, you can probably figure out how to set up a basic blog. Custom programming and design costs more (but not as much as you think). And it will be well worth the investment.
  • Who’s Going to Write the Stuff? This is the biggest challenge in my opinion. It’s a lot of work to produce high-quality content on a regular basis. And if you succeed, you’ll also need to interact with your community (a topic for another post).

How to Make It Work

The last thing you want is to launch a blog and then have no content there. Your blog becomes a ghost town, and nobody comes to visit. You don’t have to crank out 100 posts a month to be successful. If you focus on quality over quantity, you can easily get away with four posts per month in the beginning (the minimum number I recommend).

Make Sure You’re Connected

Reuters Life! takes a look at the growing use of social networking. While the growth is not surprising — the rate of growth might be. Nearly doubling over the past year? Wow:

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Spending more time on social networks and blogs? You’re not alone, with the latest figures showing the number of minutes spent on social networking sites in the United States has almost doubled over the past year.

Nielsen Online, which measures web traffic, said the number of minutes on social networks in the United States rose 83 percent in April from the same month a year ago, but found users were quick to move on and sites could quickly fall from favor.

Nielsen Online spokesman Jon Gibs said a major trend had been the continuing popularity of Facebook, which has more than 200 million active members and has become so mainstream it now hosts Pope Benedict and a list of world leaders.

The total number of minutes spent on Facebook surged 700 percent year-on-year to 13.9 billion in April this year from 1.7 billion a year ago, making it the No. 1 social networking site for the fourth consecutive month.

News Corp’s MySpace was second most popular but the number of minutes spent on this site fell 31 percent to 4.97 billion from 7.3 billion a year ago, although it remained the top social networking site when ranked by video streams.

Blogger, Tagged.com and Twitter.com came third, fourth and fifth respectively, with the number of minutes spent on Twitter — that lets people send 140-character messages or Tweets — rocketing 3,712 percent in April from a year ago.

Hat tip to the Chamber’s Tim Brewer for the link.

Helping Members Get the Word Out: Chamber Launches Communications Help

Who knew media lists, press release templates and the like would be so popular?

The Indiana Chamber unveiled a members-only Communications/PR Resource Center on Monday. The reason: provide some basic assistance to those looking to successfully communicate their message.

We’re certainly not replacing your public relations, communications or marketing firm. But in addition to media contact information and advice on forming press announcements, the service offers:

  • tips for effective e-newsletters and starting a blog
  • style guidelines for written communications
  • a communications helpline

A handful of members responded in quick fashion — one indicating it was the best news received on this Monday — with strong interest. And that’s the goal of many Chamber benefits — do what we can to help you do business better.