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By Donna St. Jean Conti

“Social Media puts the ‘public’ into PR and the ‘market’ into marketing.”
— Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs

Social media has become a pivotal aspect of businesses with regard to public relations and marketing. Where Facebook has refocused its resources on bringing content to friends and families, Instagram, a platform that has recently reached its one billionth user mark according to this article, “How to Master Instagram for Business in 7 Simple Steps,” from Sprout Social, has been and continues to be geared toward advertising content to the masses.[1] According to their statistics, a reported 60% of people discover new products via Instagram.[2]  The good news is that it is not too late to join over 25 million others businesses that are already on Instagram.

Creating a Business Account on Instagram

Creating an account on Instagram is a quick and easy process that starts with downloading their app for iOS, Android, or Windows. Once downloaded, you can connect your Facebook Business page either by using your admin email address or by selecting the option to sign up with Facebook.[3] Upon completing these tasks, the last step is to convert your newly created personal account to a business account. This is done by tapping the three horizontal lines in the top right corner and going to settings. From there, select the “switch to Business Profile” option.

How to Use and Master Instagram for Your Business.

After going through the process of creating and converting your Instagram account, several steps can be taken to use and master the platform. For starters, some tips from the Sprout Social article include your doings things such as use your company logo as your profile picture; make your account and user name the same as that of your business; and include a URL for your website.[4] That same article then suggests that you start small and develop a tribe mentality in which you engage in one-on-one interactions.[5]

Another useful tip is to uncover niche hashtags, one of the central functions of Instagram. Rather than use tags that have millions of posts, find ones that are similar but still stand out.

Lastly, the article, “How to Use Instagram for Business: A Practical 6-Step Guide,” from Hootsuite highly recommends that you commit to a regular posting schedule.[6] This may be tricky at first, because the time in which you should post varies based on your industry. The key to this is to know and understand when your target audience is online and active for the best results. With time, effort, and consistency, using and mastering Instagram for your business can lead to a large boost in growth.


[1] sproutsocial, “How to Master Instagram for Business in 7 Simple Steps,” //sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-for-business/.
[2]  Instagram Business, “Stand Out With Instagram,” //business.instagram.com/getting-started?ref=igb_carousel.
[3] Hootsuite, “How to Use Instagram for Business: A Practical 6-Step Guide,” //blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-instagram-for-business/.
[4] Sproutsocial, “How to Master Instagram for Business in 7 Simple Steps.”
[5] Sproutsocial, “How to Master Instagram for Business in 7 Simple Steps.”
[6] Hootsuite, “How to Use Instagram for Business: A Practical 6-Step Guide.”

 

 

St. Conti Communications is a public relations and marketing communications agency based in Southern California and specialized in supporting high technology, green technology and similar companies. For more information about our agency and how we can help you, contact Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, at dconti (at) stconticommunications.com.

 

 

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By the St. Conti Communications Team

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso

It’s a new year, and, for many, that means setting their business goals. What are the secrets to setting effective goals? Make them lofty yet achievable; set metrics to use in determining success; and set time frames/deadlines.

Before Setting Goals

Conducting a SWOT can prove useful in creating, “a high-level strategic planning model that will help you identify where your organization can improve and where it’s doing well,” as explained by this ClearPoint Strategy article.[1] SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and measuring these aspects of your business will create a baseline on which a realistic goal can be set.

That same article also suggests that you then analyze the market and your past performance to see where the industry, and your business should be heading.[2] A couple concluding factors to consider before setting business goals is the taking of input from employees to get a ground floor perspective, and to determine who will be “participating in the goal-setting exercise.”[3] With these variables accounted for, the goal can be realistically measured and set.

Setting the Goal Itself

After measuring and setting a realistic business goal, achieving it comes down to how specific and long-term it is. In regards to how specific it is, this article by Entreprenuer explains that a hypothetical goal of “raising $10,000 by July 1” is more achievable than “raising capital.”[4]

As for the timeframe, setting both short-term and long-term goals is a must. Short-term goals should be set to be attainable in a matter of weeks or a single year while long-term ones can be “five, 10 or even 20 years.”[5] It should be stressed that long-term goals should be greater than short-term ones while remaining attainable.

Lastly, this article by Small Business mentions that these types of goals should not be exclusive.[6] If your long-term goal is “to attain $200,000 a year in sales, then your short-term goals should correlate to this.”[7]

To sum things up, setting a business goal should be a realistic and attainable endeavor based on what you and your company can do. Long-term goals should be attained as a result of achieving a series of short-term ones. The point is to have a plan in which you fervently believe and on which you vigorously act. As Mr. Picasso said, there is no other route to success.


[1] ClearPoint Strategy, “18 Principles To Follow For Business Goal Setting,” //www.clearpointstrategy.com/business-goal-setting/.
[2] ClearPoint Strategy.
[3] ClearPoint Strategy.
[4] Entrepreneur, “Goal Setting,” //www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/goal-setting.
[5] Entrepreneur, “Goal Setting.”
[6] Small Business, “Goal Setting Practice for Business Success,” //www.thebalancesmb.com/goal-setting-2948135.
[7] Small Business, “Goal Setting Practice for Business Success.”

 

St. Conti Communications is a public relations and marketing communications agency based in Southern California and specialized in supporting high technology, green technology and similar companies. For more information about our agency and how we can help you, contact Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, at dconti (at) stconticommunications.com.

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By Mary Hansen, President Mary Hansen Writes

Today I am interviewing Donna St. Jean Conti, President of St. Conti Communications, regarding her company’s twenty-year anniversary. For additional information, please see the press release.

Q. Can you remember back to what led up to the day that you opened your business?

A. (Chuckling) Yes, I do. Back in the beginning, the idea to open my business started as the Internet came in, and specifically, e-mail access. I was hearing how people were working from home offices, doing maybe even just a couple of days a week to avoid the commute times and rush-hour traffic and all of that.

Q. So, you wanted to take advantage of the Internet, fax, and e-mail, and yes you were interested in advertising and communications… but there’s still a missing piece. That’s a big leap to decide to go home to work. What or who influenced you to want to stay home with your kids?

A. That’s a good question. It was an inner desire. I was torn up when I had to drop off my son at daycare the first time, and there were many days when I cried each time I dropped him off. I just didn’t want to do it. That was kind of the beginnings, right? But it still took me the two years until my daughter was born to make it happen. It was a matter of pouncing on the opportunity as soon as the technology was available.

Q. Good insight on your part to recognize that opportunity and seize it.

A. Yes. There is a caveat to that “inner desire”. The seed was planted by my father, Norman J. St. Jean. From the time I was little, he always said that he wanted every one of us kids to be our own boss. He used to say to us, “You will never make money working for someone else.” He drove this home. He had long been self-employed, and he didn’t want any of us to work for another person. He wanted us to be our own bosses. When the opportunity arose, I took it.

Q. What would you do differently today?

A. I can’t think of anything I would change.

Q. That is such a blessing, Donna.

A. Yes, it is really, and I very much recognize that. I’ve been blessed with great contacts and references. Just as important has been the ability to develop multiple specialties that allowed me to keep working during slow times.

In fact, I’d like to share some advice for entrepreneurs: Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Continually stretch and learn new things, so that, when adversity strikes, you can swivel and make the changes needed.

That’s why I hint in the press release that it’s always important to stay up-to-date with current technologies, always adopting the latest thing or at least being aware of it so that you can use it as a tool to in whatever way possible.

Q. Where do you see St. Conti Communications in five years?

A. The latest thing about which I am intrigued and on which I am putting my focus in terms of new business efforts is Benefits Corps, or B Corps, as well as other activist brands.

A good example of such a company is LuminAID – they were a winner on Shark Tank and have developed foldable lanterns that are solar powered. It was initially meant to be used for camping and such, but they’ve been donating their lanterns to victims of the recent hurricanes and other disasters. My company doesn’t represent LuminAID, but that’s the kind of company we want to attract and represent.

There are others that set themselves up as avenues to support the community: GlobeIn (fair-trade artisan products bought from women in poorer developing countries), Method Soap Company (non-toxic household and personal cleaners), and Flowers for Dreams (small batch design and local distribution).

That’s where I see St. Conti Communications going forward, providing PR and social media support for these types of companies – putting our expertise to work for the greater good.

This concludes the interview with Donna St. Jean Conti of St. Conti Communications, Inc.

About the Author:
Mary Hansen blogs from her Arizona desert home. When she’s not blogging, she’s working on her memoir or painting the desert landscape.

 

St. Conti Communications (St. Conti) is a public relations and marketing communications agency based in Southern California and specializing in supporting high technology, green technology and similar companies. For more information about our agency and how we can help you, contact Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, at dconti (at) stconticommunications.com. St. Conti has on-staff and subcontracted professionals ready to provide media relations, social media, writing, research and other services.

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Virtual Public Relations Agency Looks Forward to Continued Growth Through Technological Adaptation

MISSION VIEJO, Calif., October 10, 2017 — St. Conti Communications, a marketing communications and public relations agency, today announces this month marks 20 years in business. Established in October 1997 as a two-person team to capitalize on the then newly available high-speed cable internet access, St. Conti Communications set out to provide media relations, writing and trade show publicity support to software and peripherals technology companies. The agency has since expanded to a six-person team – each member working virtually – and has added social media support and a wide-ranging client base that includes corporate companies and other virtual agencies.

“When I started St. Conti Communications, it was with the intent to take advantage of technology, the internet, and, yes, fax machines,” said Donna St. Jean Conti, president of St. Conti Communications. “I had decided I wanted to work from a home office to be available for my children. I also had a colleague who was interested in taking on freelance work, so St. Conti Communications was born to provide public relations and writing to support to its first client, Manufacturing and Consulting Services (MCS) of Scottsdale, Ariz., a computer-aided engineering, design, and manufacturing software company.”

As with any business, there were ups and downs, and even times when St. Jean Conti augmented her income by taking jobs with other agencies, such as Benjamin Group BSMG Worldwide (now Weber Shandwick) and companies, such as Toshiba America Electronic Components. After the tech bubble burst in 2001, St. Conti Communications parlayed its skills into support for real estate industry clients, including providing support to Gladstone International, another virtual public relations agency, which enabled St. Jean Conti to work on behalf of Fieldstone Homes and other real estate developers.

With the bottom falling out of the real estate market as part of the Great Recession, St. Conti Communications returned to its roots in high technology to provide support to Concepts NREC, another leading computer-aided engineering, design and manufacturing software company. At this time, St. Jean Conti diversified the company client base to include a moving and logistics company and two non-profit accounts, The Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center and Habitat for Humanity, Silicon Valley. The agency has remained diversified and continues to expand.

“Fax machines went away, and we added social media support to our mix of offerings,” adds St. Jean Conti. “In 1997 technological advancements made it possible to launch St. Conti Communications, and we continue to embrace new technologies as they enable us to thrive and continue growing.”

St. Conti Communications’ current client base includes companies offering facility services and leading technologies in access control and secure identity, optical and mesh networking, and satellite-based vessel tracking. The agency is actively pursuing new clients, including B Corp and Benefit Corporation companies – companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

 

About St. Conti Communications

St. Conti Communications is a marketing communications and public relations agency based in Southern California and specializing in supporting high technology, green technology and similar companies as well as nonprofit organizations, B Corps and Benefit Corporations. For more information, go to www.StContiCommunications.com.

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Media Contact:

Donna St. Jean Conti, APR
President
St. Conti Communications, Inc.
(949) 290-0622

dconti@stconticommunications.com

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By St. Conti Communications Staff

Have you ever wondered why business-to-business companies should include an industry analyst outreach program as part of public relations activities? If so, you’re not alone. In the 20 years that St. Conti Communications has provided public relations services to high-technology and other business-to-business companies, we’ve been asked that many times, so many, in fact, that we created a primer on the topic. And, now we’ve decided to share.

Let’s start with what an industry analyst is. An industry analyst (not to be confused with a financial analyst who primarily makes investment recommendations) is an individual who follows an industry segment and writes about its ongoing advances, topics and trends. These analysts, as a group, are made up of individuals in the trade press as well as in market research organizations such as Gartner, Inc. and Strategy Analytics. There are dozens of such organizations—each with its own special focuses. Cormac Foster at readwrite best describes what these organizations do in his article, “An Insider’s Guide to Technology Analysts,” when he states that they, “provide educated gut checks before making major strategy moves, for help mapping competitive landscapes and to get the dirt on vendor features and pricing you can’t find anywhere else.”

Suffice it to say that industry analysts are highly influential in educating the markets on which they report about the merits of a company and what it has to offer. They do this directly by producing research reports that buying companies reference, and they do it indirectly by responding to editorial queries, which frequently influences industry trade publication content. For these reasons, every company should consider implementing a public relations outreach program—an industry analyst relations program—designed to keep them informed.

Sectors and Roadmaps

As mentioned, industry analysts define and report on a business sector to provide a picture of its boundaries, who the main competitors are, and where the sector is going. The intelligence gathered is useful to the editorial community as well as to potential investors and organizations looking to partner or form alliances. Industry analysts compile and publish industry reports for purchase by subscribing companies looking to use the information for their planning and purchasing purposes. They also sometimes publish their own articles. Additionally, editors and reporters reach out to analysts for their insights and comments on key industry players. The more industry analysts know about a company, its roadmap, and its place in a sector, the more likely the company is to be mentioned in reports and/or or in editorial query responses.

Because industry analysts are trying to gauge a sector and a company’s placement in it, briefings focus on the industry trends and market landscapes. In general, it is good to provide your product roadmap, otherwise known as a product/services timeline. Information also can include anything from planning to attract customers in a new vertical market and expanding product features to looking for companies with which to partner.

What to Provide

Industry analysts want up-to-date, information-packed materials–ones that truly explain what a company is about and what its products and services are while providing information about the technology behind them. This information includes company milestones or accomplishments that allow analysts to see a timeline of events, which helps them in creating profiles.

When preparing your presentation, write materials using clear, concise language. Industry jargon and acronyms must be explained. Limit your presentation length to approximately 25 slides, keeping company information to just a few slides. It is best to place executive biographies and frequently asked questions (FAQs) at the end of the presentation, so that what’s most important to the analyst—what the company is doing—is up front. This helps ensure that all of the key points are covered should the briefing run too long or get interrupted. Be prepared to provide a copy of the presentation and the company’s most recent news releases sometimes even before the meeting as many analysts like to prepare questions ahead of time.

Dan Richman at GeekWire provides additional, helpful information about what influences industry analysts is in his article, “Influencing the influencers: Where tech industry analysts look for expertise and information.” Richman mentions that, in essence, industry analysts get their information from other analysts and writers. Something to keep in mind is that, when a public relations agency is at work keeping key editors and analysts informed, it is a company’s subject matter experts who’ve provided the information to those analysts and writers via briefings.

So, now you should have a better idea of who industry analysts are, where they fit in the information stream, and why it is important for business-to-business companies to include industry analyst relations programs as part of public relations activities. For help in identifying what analysts to contact and brief and in creating presentation materials, consult with a seasoned public relations agency such as St. Conti Communications.

 

St. Conti Communications is a public relations and marketing communications agency based in Southern California and specialized in supporting high technology, green technology and similar companies. For more information about our agency and how we can help you, contact Donna St. Jean Conti, APR, at dconti (at) stconticommunications.com

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