Community Engagement as Brilliant Marekting and PR Strategy

Tami Belt, Owner of Blue Cube Marketing Solutions in Las Vegas,  represents businesses of all sizes.  Over the many years as a leading professional, she notes one major change in the Public Relations and Marketing Industry:

“The channels of distribution have transformed into much more social means. Online and social marketing have made marketing a conversation; it’s no longer a 1-way message. PR and marketing is now more about building relationships and the ability to listen as much as you talk.”

The social trend in marketing invigorates Tami who loves a “company who gets it….that it’s a 2-way conversation and not a commercial.” Years in the fast-paced, connected world of PR and marketing, hammered into Tami the importance of a reliable, trusted network. Now that networking has largely gone digital, the ability to connect and interact is not only important—but crucial to a company and professional’s success. And with the social nature of today’s online marketing world, companies must feel at ease interacting on a personal level with their customer base. They cannot afford to shy away from being accountable and relatable online and on their social networks. If they do, they will sink into oblivion amidst the Content overload on the net and become obsolete. “That’s why I believe in community engagement…When you can connect on the level of a shared passion, it is one of strongest ties you can make,” notes Tami.

Tami believes the success of companies like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream prove that a company built on the premise of doing social good can be wildly profitable and well loved. There is no better PR than actually caring about those that purchase your products and making a positive impact in the world we share. Locally in Vegas, Carter Powersports is a motorcycle shop that uses social good to effectively market their company. They brought Ride for Kids to Las Vegas 8 years ago, a popular motor cycle ride that benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. After raising over $64,000 this year for kids fighting brain cancer, it’s easy to see community engagement is a powerful strategy. Carter Powersports proves a company can highlight a social cause they care about, be involved in the community, do good, and be profitable.

Tami founded Blue Cube Marketing Solutions with the intent to “transform the way companies approach community engagement and communication strategy”. “Communicating without a plan is risky business, you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint”, she says, “So why would you communicate with the world without a plan?”

Her biggest obstacle to improving the lines of communication on behalf of her clients is their fear that if they start a public conversation people can say bad things about them. Tami is continually advising cautious clients that if a consumer is going to say something bad about their experience with your product or service, they are saying it regardless if you are a part of the conversation or not. She asks them if they would rather have an opportunity to fix a problem. Let’s face it, every company will make a mistake at some time, “but if they make good on that mistake, that’s how they create loyal customers and shine in eyes of the public”.

For a well-seasoned professional like Tami, it’s a no-brainer that it’s exceedingly preferable to know there is a problem than to have no clue something went wrong and people are bad mouthing your brand. She adds, “Sometimes the issue, once recognized, should be handled offline of course, but if those lines of communication are not open to begin with, you are unable to take a first step toward remedying the situation.” Basically, online marketing, is a “conversation and the rules of engagement that would apply offline, still apply.” For example, “You wouldn’t leave someone hanging on the phone all day; likewise, you have to give the same standard of customer service on your social networks and website.” She also advises, “Provide something of value, your followers and fans don’t want to be sold or told—they want you to engage”.

The most common mistake Tami sees businesses commit is failing to realize that engagement is a 2-way street. “Go onto your follower’s pages and comment too, it’s not all about you.” When pitching Bloggers, don’t “Go at them cold, follow them for a while, comment on and share their content you find interesting and then ask.” The revolutionary change in PR and marketing is that it is now “Permission based, not persuasion driven.” Those brands that still “don’t get it” need to hire someone that does, or they will be left in the dust of the Pre-Digital Age.

Connect with Tami Belt and Blue Cube Marketing Solutions:

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