Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Archive for the ‘Social Media (or the Digital Divide)’ Category

Top tactical tips for interactive marketing

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 13, 2010

Our on-site partner MK3 Creative’s world is expanding with the recent addition of Jay Lozada, VP of Interactive Services.  Jay brings fantastic interactive, marketing and advertising experience that is a great complement to MK3’s unique storytelling abilities.  

Jay’s top tactical tips for interactive marketing?     

1.) Always be testing     

2.) Design and develop with SEO in mind     

3.) Keep content fresh     

4.) Don’t make the user think     

5.) Define your goals up front and measure against them     

6.) If you’re in social media, listen closely to your audience  

To learn more about Jay, his work, where you should invest your interactive dollars, what social media can do for you, and more, visit here.

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Social Tuesday: web video, blogs, e-mail

Posted by thecastlegroup on August 4, 2010

In Castle’s last newsletter, our in-house creative partner MK3 discussed the importance and growing popularity of web video. Video allows you to show customers what they want and why. Check out how 12 CEOs and founders are utilizing videos as a great marketing tool.

If you have a blog, great. Take a closer look and ask yourself if you are using your blog to its fullest potential. Is your header taking up a large space at the top? Does your crowded sidebar encourage people to immediately click on links and leave your site? Chris Brogan offers blog tips.

We’re not pointing fingers, but many companies are just not good at social media immersion. It’s not always their fault: according to Lee Odden’s blog posting, part of the problem is that most companies are not inherently “social” to begin with and struggle with the idea of having individual employees becoming company personality reps, joining in and starting conversations on the web.

Who doesn’t love Target? Great deals, flashy commercials, that adorable dog with the bull’s-eye…but somehow, Target has continued to struggle when it comes to social media. After a social media campaign controversy in 2007, it seems as though Target is finally receiving sound advice, but may still be a bit hard of hearing. Read B.L. Ochman’s thoughts.

One of the reasons Twitter has become so popular is because in a fast-paced world, people like and respond to short bursts of information. So it would make sense to apply this same theory to your email. Make your email stand out in an inbox inundated with messages by “tweetifying” the lead of your emails.

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Techmunch thoughts

Posted by thecastlegroup on July 12, 2010

Castle consumer PR VP Hilary Allard was a panelist on the recent Techmunch conference in New York. Below are her thoughts from the show.

I was excited to speak on the PR panel at the recent Techmunch event during Internet Week in New York.  This one-day seminar is intended to provide food bloggers with advice and information on how to build their personal brands and market their blogs.

Journalists, established bloggers and marketers all participated, covering a broad range of topics such as SEO tips, leveraging traditional media and building community.

Two powerful lessons emerged from the conference:

Take online relationships off-line: Like any relationship, ultimately, the best ones have plenty of face time – think of those clients with whom you meet on a regular basis or the time you spend talking at the family dinner table. 

Techmunch provided me with the opportunity to make new friends, meet people I had only connected with via Twitter, and to see people with whom I communicate off-line on a regular basis. 

Social media allows us to connect to people we might never meet otherwise, but it’s up to us to solidify those relationships and take them to the next level.

Share and share alike:  We all know that people can fall victim to online “oversharing,” but it struck me at Techmunch that journalists, bloggers and marketers were sitting at the same table and telling their stories with candor – the difficulties of marketing budgets in today’s economy, the challenges for journalists managing career transitions, the struggles of finding one’s way from being a hobbyist to full-time blogger.

Five years ago, I would never have imagined that.  But the elements of social media that level the playing field, create connections and open possibilities, combined with our collective economic hopes and fears stirred up by the last two years, have created an attitude of collaboration among previously disparate “tribes.”  Being united by a common love of food and blogging doesn’t hurt, either.

To learn more about the panelists at Techmunch, visit

To learn more about event sponsor Bakespace, a social networking site for food lovers, visit

Posted in Marketing, PR, Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Tuesday: iPad, viral, Brightkite, Klout, Facebird

Posted by thecastlegroup on June 16, 2010

Yes, the iPad is cool and makes you the envy of all your laptop-using friends, but can you work on it as effectively as you would on a traditional laptop? Chris Brogan tests it out.

It seems that these days the ultimate goal of campaigns is to make everything, and we mean everything, “viral.” Like most popular terms, “viral” has been overused, and over time its definition has become skewed. So how do we define this term, and what type of creative is most likely to go viral? B.L. Ochman helps clear up confusion.

Your company likely uses a style guide to help ensure its marketing and other messaging are consistent with the brand. Be careful not to forget to extend these guidelines to your social media efforts as well.

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you often consult Yelp and other consumer review sites, you might be interested in Brightkite. With Brightkite, reviewers can add pictures and text to their tips to bring the item, location or service to life. Find out more.

Klout launches new Facebook app Facebird. Facebird’s goal is to help you understand the overlaps in influence between your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Interested? Check out a demo video.

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

B2B: Social Media Baby Steps…You Have to Start Somewhere

Posted by thecastlegroup on June 10, 2010

We had a long conversation with a major national accounting firm about social media issues; we were surprised to learn how little they were doing and how unsure they were of where to step in.

One of our favorite ways to create a social media impression is to issue research around social media. For example, research could highlight the ways social media impacts organizational behavior. This is a great way to make some noise in the social media arena…as long as your site/company presents an equally immersive social media experience.

How do you present that immersive experience? First check off the basics: robust Twitter feed, Facebook page, as well as LinkedIn consistency and a LinkedIn group. Feeding these networks is not an easy task, and you should expect about six-to-twelve months before the community you attract begins to supplement your efforts with their own content contributions.

You also must make sure your website is social media-friendly. Beyond simply linking to your social media sites, your site should enable easy sharing of any relevant content, or even feed your site visitors daily content to push onto their networks.

Now on to blogging. A tightly defined blog that is well-written, regularly updated and slightly provocative can really add to your social media “cred.”

Moderated discussions on Twitter are a great way to attract an audience. Take the concept of business process, for example. You could create a Twitter hash tag (the best way to search content on Twitter) and moderate weekly discussions on topics your clients and prospects need to know about (and care about).

Video is hot and will continue to grow. Bring older or newer content to life through video. Site visitor retention rates significantly increase with video.

Bottom line: there is a lot you can do. The simplest path to follow is to make sure all content is search- and social-friendly. Feed your social media sites. Stay responsive and share content. The second path — and ultimately more valuable path — is to create content and converse. While you’ll experience some benefit by participating socially, you will ultimately draw new clients and leap ahead of your consulting-based competitors by focusing your effort.

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Social Tuesday: gifts, LinkedIn, small business

Posted by thecastlegroup on May 25, 2010

Luxury brands have long held a special place in many people’s hearts. Since social networking is “taking over” almost everything, including once solitary experiences (such as purchasing a designer handbag), luxury brands will feel the impact in a positive way. Check out Steve Rubel’s “social luxury” take.

There are some people who love to get virtual gifts. And there are others that would rather just receive the real thing. While we’re not disputing the fact that troll dolls, buttons and puppy images are adorable, we’d like to share this posting which describes how to send a REAL gift online.

We’ve talked about it in past postings, but thought you might need to hear it once again: just simply being on LinkedIn is not enough! Use this amazing networking tool to its fullest potential with tips from Chris Brogan.

Small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger companies so they must market themselves in a different way. What’s a mom and pop shop to do? SEO is a fantastic way to compete with larger companies and level the playing field. Learn great tips for improving SEO.

Bloggers, be careful what you say, as Uncle Sam may soon be watching! The U.S. government has announced plans to regulate the internet through the Federal Communications Commission.

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Follow Friday

Posted by thecastlegroup on May 21, 2010

We will share some of our favorite folks on Twitter each week.

Public Relations Global Network

Follow our colleagues from our global PR network, PRGN. Great perspectives from around the world on PR, communications, media and life.









Or follow my list of PRGN tweeters.

Boston World Partnerships

Follow our friends at and involved with BWP, an amazing organization raising global awareness of Boston as a center of intellectual capital and innovation. BWP is growing businesses in Boston and attracting new ones. I’m proud to be a Connector.






Or follow my BWP list here:

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

TECHmunch food blogger event in NYC featuring Castle’s Hilary Allard

Posted by thecastlegroup on May 12, 2010

Congratulations to Castle VP and consumer PR pro Hilary Allard who has been chosen as a panelist for the upcoming TECHmunch food blogger event. is proud to present the TECHmunch workshop for food bloggers on Thursday, June 10th in NYC.

If you’re a food blogger, this intensive one day event will bring you up-to-speed on all the latest tools and tactics for building buzz, improving SEO, growing your audience and making money from your hard work.

The 6-hour intensive workshop will be followed by a networking mixer with giveaway prizes including KitchenAid appliances, cookbooks and each attendee will receive a nifty gift bag.

Register here:

Posted in PR, Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Social Tuesday: advertising, applications, YouTube

Posted by thecastlegroup on April 27, 2010

Social media and advertising: each influences the other. Learn more about this relationship through Brian Solis’s recent interview.

New tools are being developed every day; it’s easy to get lost among all these applications. Where do you turn when you’re looking to begin a search, and how do you know what is going to get you the results you’re seeking? Check out B.L. Ochman’s list of favorites.

Now, thanks to Verizon FIOS, you’re just one remote control click away from your favorite YouTube videos. Learn how you can stream videos right into your living room.

According to Steve Rubel, PR is about “going to where the conversation is, and adding value to it.”  Twitter is a fantastic place to promote client news. Check out a great list of Twitter tools for PR professionals.

Posted in Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Promoted Tweets: Is it worth managing your reputation?

Posted by thecastlegroup on April 15, 2010

Twitter announced its initial advertising platform this week. Promoted Tweets give advertisers the capability to place ads over Tweets in real-time, based on key words; ads will hover over the Tweet to stand out.

The ad guy in me loves it. Real-time reminders and brand-building whenever someone mentions “coffee,” for instance. The PR/brand guy in me — well, he’s a little nervous.

Pundits and strategists are burning up the Internet talking about this new reputation management tool. Think of the possibilities, they say — what if Toyota could apologize via a Promoted Tweet to everyone who complained about a technical issue? That’s gold, right?

I’m not so sure. As media consumers, we will get used to advertising on social networks, and we will see additional creative platforms like this one from Twitter as these networks evolve.

As social consumers, we are even starting to welcome targeted advertising — if it’s relevant to my interests or my geography,  I’m cool with the sponsorship. Companies like Shortbord are even thinking of ways to pay me to act as a conduit for sponsors.

But who will drive the reputation management side of Promoted Tweets? The ad folks? Will we see a string of brand-reinforcing but otherwise empty messages in response to a crisis or other negative incident? Will the sponsor Tweets turn into viral fodder — in a bad way?

The issue will be how brands maintain authenticity through a sponsored Tweet in response to a reputation management issue. This opens a whole new path for the public relations world to operate in social media. PR most often is the marketing discipline behind reputation management and crisis communications. Communications firms are used to acting and responding in real-time.

This will be an interesting development to watch. Brands — be aware that your reputation cannot simply be wrapped up in a nice Twitter ad. The public wants some meat on that bone.

Posted in PR, Social Media (or the Digital Divide) | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »