Tweeting on Behalf of Your Company/Employer

By now, most high-tech marketing and PR professionals have figured out Twitter or, at least, have heard of it. We all approached it differently though. I don’t claim to be a social media expert (and a lot of the ones doing so should not), but I am involved in it, I read a lot about it, and I participate in many seminars/webinars covering social media topics. In this post, I will share a few well-researched  and tested steps with you, the startup founder or VP of marketing, or the larger company employee trying to get acquainted with Twitter. 

So, you understand that a corporate presence on Twitter is vital for the company; you sign up and create a corporate account. The problem is that if you don’t have a social media strategy in place and you are not interested in social media (by that, I mean that you do it because it’s “trendy,” or your boss asked you to get involved, but you wouldn’t do it otherwise), you will discover in only a few weeks that your number of followers is not increasing even though your posts are.  Here are a few ideas to create a voice for your corporate account on Twitter and get things going:

1. In your profile, provide basic info about you/your company and add a link to your website, because people are more likely to follow you if they know more about you and/or your company. Use keywords to make your bio appealing to the right people, who will eventually become your followers. If you are the only person behind your Twitter account, sooner or later, the account will acquire your personality, and it’s best that you show more of your professional side, and less of your personal side in your tweets. Your tweeps will know about you as much as you want to share with them. You control your tweets. You can’t control though the way they are shared or interpreted, and, also, keep in mind that vendors have more work to do in order to get people to listen to them, because, oh, well, they are biased. This takes us to #2.

2. Engage in conversations to increase credibility and get your (corporate) name out more. Yes, we know how tempting it is to post links to your own press releases, but, if you are planning to do so, please tweet only major news (by that, I mean, “newsworthy” information). Also, tweeting or retweeting industry news can be a good start. Let’s say that you sell a storage virtualization solution; you may want to tweet links to recent press articles, analyst findings, or partner announcements in this space. Retweet what other people are saying, assuming it’s interesting to you, the business person.

3. Follow the right people. Twitter may seem like a popularity contest, but, for you, it is a marketing tool, which , like any marketing tool, will give you the the best results if you are able to reach your target audience – industry influencers and potential customers or partners – and disseminate the right message to this audience. Search for people in your industry, follow them and some will follow you back. If others don’t, don’t take it personally. Show them you bring value and once you start tweeting more, posting interesting content for the Twitter community, they may start following you.

4. Know how to tweet. Hashtags (so people can find you when searching), keywords (so the right people can find you), referencing people already on Twitter, and adding links that you can later track to see how many people opened them should be part of your tweets. “I am having lunch” is not interesting, but “I am having lunch at #vmworld with @leecaswell of @pivot3inc, talking about #virtualization in #surveillance implementations and LINK TO ARTICLE” may be for some.

5. Nothing confidential should make it on Twitter. Share only public info, so please keep the roadmap or the next press release to yourself.

6. Promote your Twitter account. Have links on your website, in your newsletter, and maybe in your email signature. I have also seen it on business cards lately. Talk to people about being on Twitter. Attend tweetups if you want to go a step further.

Keep tweeting.

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What Comes after Newspapers?


I posted my latest blog entry titled “Reading or Ripping Print” and, only a few days after, I attended an event called “The Next Journalism – What Comes after Newspapers” with Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher and Carolyn Pritchard of Gigaom. The discussion made me think even more about what the future holds and if my very young kids will ever be interested in reading my precious books.

The topic was the coexistence of traditional and social media, which is the situation we are confronting with right now, with two very different tools trying to achieve the same goal: getting information to the readers in the fastest and most accurate way possible. Most journalists have adapted and are now blogging, tweeting, and getting in touch with their online audience in different ways, but offering similar stories they used to have in print. So, in the end, the quality of their work and their efforts to keep journalism alive are what we should all appreciate, because some are still doing great investigative reporting, which includes in-depth interviews with company executives, their customers,  partners, and industry analysts while looking closely at competitors and other events happening in the same market. That takes a lot of work and knowledge of the subject they are covering.

Going back to the topic ,”What comes after newspapers,” we don’t have to work in PR or media to know that newspapers and magazines are barely keeping their print editions alive, and we have digital books now. Also, we are all trying to save trees and fight for a green world. At the same time, we don’t have money for print advertising, so, even if we didn’t care about the environment, we would not be able to help print publications survive. On the other hand, print publications are finding ways to consolidate the digital and print worlds. Entertainment Weekly magazine will include a video-chip ad embedded in its September issue. As hip as it can get… today.

But what if at some point in the future, print will come back, somehow like radio did in various forms throughout the years: AM, FM, satellite, or Internet?

Tom Foremski made a comment that “we still have the old (media) world influencing the new world and that is going to be true for a while.” I think that is a good thing and if we could bring the magic, accuracy, and elegance of some of those print pieces to the online world, we should welcome the coexistence of the two or even the transition.

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Ripping or Reading Print?

The Future of Print?

We see it happening more and more. Print publications move to online versions, they go from monthly to weekly issues, and those who don’t abandon print versions certainly get “skinnier” with every issue. The smaller vendor marketing budgets affect advertising first, and the first area hit by that is print. It’s expensive, difficult to measure, and it will not bring results (e.g. leads) right away, requiring a long-term investment, although it certainly is still a good way to reach the company’s target audience. I personally think that advertising complements PR, and doesn’t compete with it, but,  if the company has to spend its limited budget money in one area, it will be PR.

While I still like the feeling of reading a magazine or a newspaper, and I subscribe to a few tech print magazines, as well as some parenting ones, I can’t stop wondering if by the time my toddler and my baby are teenagers, print will become obsolote. Governor Schwarzenegger’s digital textbook initiative certainly seems to take the new generation that way, and it provides undeniable benefits. Maybe that is good news for the storage world as well, both for vendors and IT administrators, because that information has to be stored somehow somewhere by somebody.

As PR pros, we always talk about where print will be in a few years, and while the “old-fashioned” ones want to see it stick around for longer, others are way too involved in the digital, virtual world to care. Time will tell, but, before then, I will continue to read to my children and enjoy the smell of paper books, something that the digital books do not have.

Although, wait, I read the other day that there is a spray out there that gives you the old-book smell while you read your e-books. Interesting idea, but I refuse to think that there is a market for that…

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The Tradeshow Season Is Almost Here

With a smaller budget and smaller teams, a lot of startups selling to the enterprise market face a difficult decision this year when it comes to attending the right tradeshows.  Some startups may only have the budget for 2-3 shows per year, which makes it even more difficult to choose. As a side note, the tradeshow budget includes much more than the tradeshow fee; it includes the booth and everything that comes with it (electricity, carpet, etc.), shipping, travel, giveaways, and while the days of fancy vendor parties are almost gone, for a small company, a tradeshow can be a significant expense (that’s why virtual tradeshows are not cheap, but cheaper than the real ones, although they don’t give you the face-to-face time).

I have attended my share of tradeshows and conferences, and, while I can say that what works for one company may not work for another one, all vendors are pretty much looking for what social media, which we all love and experiment these days, can’t bring: face-to-face time with end-users, press, and analysts (and yes, I include bloggers in the “press” category).

This year, some shows are more popular than others, because they offer exhibitors access to a qualified audience, reducing the sales cycles and maximizing their return on investment. Three of our customers, Pivot3, StorMagic and VirtenSys, will be attending VMworld. VirtenSys will also be speaking at the show if you want to learn about I/O virtualization. Pivot3 will have demos of its Serverless Computing solution, available now for VMware environments (and I didn’t want to use the marketing cliché “award-winning” here, but it really won numerous awards and received industry recognition at other shows, because of its original approach to storage and server virtualization). StorMagic will offer demonstrations and free copies of SvSAN, the StorMagic virtual appliance for ESX environments that allows you to build a high-availability SAN for less than $2,000. The free versions that they are giving away at the show are not trials, but regular licenses, which support up to 2 TB of capacity.

For those trying to save some money and virtualize what is already or what should be in their IT environment, this show certainly brings together small and large vendors, and the focus on virtualization is quite helpful for both vendors and customers. Vendors know that their target customers will be here, while users have the opportunity to attend any virtualization session they can think of, and then see the demos of the vendor solutions that will help them solve real-world problems.

Anyway, there are plenty of other shows this fall (some downsized, but still there), and, from what I hear, a lot of start-ups choose to attend VMworld and maybe another show in the fall. The good news is that these startups still do and believe in PR, they still do some advertising (mostly the online programs that can give them leads right away, such as webinars, white paper promos, etc.), and they still chase their customers for application stories to share with the world.

Our advice to startups looking to maximize their marketing investments: know your target audience, which ranges from potential partners, customers, and investors, to media and analysts, and know where to go in order to reach it. Go back and forth between the real world and the virtual world as long as you attend targeted tradeshows and build targeted Twitter follower lists. You can’t afford to be everywhere and do everything. Also, when ousourcing your marketing functions, such as PR, it will save you time and money if you work with people and agencies who know your market.

It is a tough year for startups, but those knowing where to spend their marketing money in order to reach a qualified audience will get the best ROI. The others will probably end up paying silly money for highway billboards, with no specific targets, but with the pride of having their name up there with the bigger players’. The difference is that those players already have a strong brand name. The billboard only reminds people of it. Building a brand name requires so much more than a billboard, and it can be done in a cost-effective way.

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Only Two Fortune 100 CEOs Have Twitter Accounts

While some execs are open to using the latest social media tools, even though they are still trying to figure them out, testing them, and looking for the best ways to measure ROI, other execs are not embracing them yet. Research results released only a few days ago by the website UBERCEO reveal that the top 100 CEOs in the country are not too active in the social media community.  The report looks at how and if they are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Wikipedia, and if they have a blog.  It turns out that only two CEOs have Twitter accounts. On LinkedIn, only 13 CEOs have profiles, but out of those, only three have more than 10 connections. Numbers are disappointing on Facebook as well, because 81 percent of CEOs do not have a personal Facebook page. While three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information. On top of that, not even one Fortune 100 CEO has a blog. The sites suspects that the top three reasons CEOs (and probably some consumers and enterprises) aren’t using social media is because of fear (of unknown), lack of (social media) knowledge, and time constraints.

We work directly with CEOs of various startups, and I would say that #1 reason for them would be time constraints. At a startup, you wear many hats and CEOs are no exception. While most of them are looking into starting a blog, I always advise them to keep posts consistent and interesting, rather than start in full force with many posts in the first month and then slow down or even stop posting, as the novelty wears off and they have to focus on other tasks. Another option would be to share the blog with other members of the executive team such as one of the founders, the CTO or other VPs. This way, different people will cover different topics, with unique insights, increasing the quality of the blog and making sure there isn’t a big gap between postings.

The quality of blog posts attracts visitors, who may turn into loyal readers. By providing them with interesting, consistent posts, you know they will read every post, comment on it, tweet it, or simply talk about it with others. If you have something to say in more than 140 Twitter characters, a blog is the perfect place to do it. Even if others have already covered a topic, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write about it anymore. Sharing your opinion with the world can only make it better.

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Should PR Agencies Blog?

There have been many conversations out there about the validity of a PR agency’s blog. Would anybody trust us, knowing that our clients pay for our services, and we can’t really say anything negative in a blog? So, should we or should we not blog? If we do, should we blog about our clients? Is the PR agency meant to be only an invisible force? (Oh, I just love the word “force” in this context. I had to use it.)

My opinion is that, as any other blogger, we should blog if we have something to say, if we know how to say it, and we understand the commitment we need to make when writing a blog. The blogosphere doesn’t need another blog if it is just a shameless marketing tool, and it is not able to give something back to its readers. Having said that, we will definitely talk about our customers if we think that the information is useful for our target audience; otherwise, we will certainly not discuss it here.

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Hello Silicon Valley PR!

ClassyTech PR becomes Silicon Valley PR. This is our first blog post, and, as we have just finished transferring all of the content from our old website to, I am going to cover the reason why we had changed the name.

It’s not a strategy change, not a management change, and we are not looking for a fresh start either, because the old one was pretty good. We simply outgrew ClassyTech, a firm we started back in 2005 to provide Marcom, web, and graphic services. A few months later, at our customers’ requests, we added PR, which was Georgiana’s expertise, and since then, we have been a full-service PR firm for high-tech startups. More than this, we are targeting the storage, server, and networking markets, and we have launched many start-ups, relaunched others, and provided ongoing PR support for various companies in these industries.

The new name will certainly eliminate the “where are you located” question when talking to prospect customers. While our customers are all over the world, some of them have Silicon Valley offices, and most of them visit the Valley quite often on business. A lot of their partners are here, a lot of our partners are here, and this new name will, hopefully, honor the place that that gave us ClassyTech four years ago. We are glad to continue the work we started with ClassyTech, and we hope that the new name will be at least as powerful and – why not say it – lucky for us as the old one was. We “tested” it already on our current customers and they loved it; and, as making our customers happy is our goal, we just had to change it. Hello Silicon Valley PR!

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