Marketing And The Family Business
16th September 2016 Paul Andrews
The changes in the way we source news means family firms need to think strategically about their PR and marketing.
Irresepective of whether your family firm promotes the fact that it is family owned, as a business, all family firms need to continue to build profile, presence and engage in marketing to some degree or another.
Over the past ten years or so with the growth of internet activity, blogs, websites, You Tube and the countless other platfoms, not to mention the social media explosion that we have witnessed, family businesses need to strategically evaluate their marketing and PR activities.
As individuals, the way that we source news and insights, be they personal or work-related has changed. Fewer and fewer people are reading printed newspapers, preferring instead to read online on their tablets or PC's. Like it or not, this trend is likely to continue and with the growing availability of internet access, family firms really need to embrace technology to make the most of their news and developments. There is still an insatiable demand for news stories but if you are going to invest the time in writing pieces, you want them to be seen, and above all maximise the exposure via the different platforms available too.
There are simple steps that any family firm can, and should be taking to make sure they make the most of their news stories, keeping them front of mind in the eyes of all their stakeholders, and embracing the digital age in which we live:
- Make Your Website Work For You
The first port of call for anyone looking to do business with you today is a website, and a 'decent' web presence really does make a good first impression. Simple and easy navigation, news and easily accessible contact details are a good place to start, and if you issue news releases to the media, make sure that you add a news story to your website/blog too.
- Share Your News
Many family firms employ PR agencies to work on their behalf and they understand the need to get results. If you are doing the PR inhouse, remember to make the most of the news. Build up a mailing list of all the local newspapers and magazines, together with those you read to keep abreast of your sector, and send them the news. There are also lots of online platforms to post stories too, many of them free of charge and keen to receive content, so make the most of these channels. It is not expensive (if there is a cost at all), does not take a lot of time, but gets your message into more and more places.
Obviously, here at Family Business United, we champion the family business sector and want to hear all of your news too which we can share with our growing global community. You can submit a news item here
- Maximise The Audience
Stories can also be shared on LinkedIn where they will be seen by a growing audience, and can again help drive traffic to a website, as well as the other platforms, and to quote an old saying, "the more the merrier."
- Use Appropriate Forms Of Social Media
Social media is the modern form of PR, helping to shape news and insights read by millions of people all over the world. You need to select the best social media platforms for your business, be it twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest,and so on, and then use them to build an audience. They can be a quick and easy way to build a following, share your news, and help you to become an authority in your chosen area too.
- People Like Heritage
One of the key findings of recent research is that people like to engage with family firms. Trust, honesty and integity are words that are often used to describe family businesses and why people do business with them. Heritage and hsitory is great but does not guarantee a future so focus on the business is imperative. However, a simple timeline, or short history on the business can add a lot to the relationship and is an easy thng to add to a website.
- Be Part Of It
Whilst there may be an element of not 'wanting to follow the crowd' the internet and social media revolution is here to stay, and some would say that it is going to become an even greater part of the way that we do business. Shouting about your successes, contract wins, demonstrating capability, investing in staff development and evolving for the future are all good messages to get out into the public domain.
Marketing and PR are an integral part of business life today and family firms do need to make sure they embrace every opportunity to promote and develop their businesses. Every platform is not right for every family firm so it is important to think strategically and choose the right avenues for you.
Social media is here to stay so fail to embrace it at your peril!