Profiles in Social Media: Mickie Kennedy, Founder of EReleases

Want to earn a reputation as an expert on a particular topic? Interested in networking with others in your niche? Eager to see your content retweeted not just by your own friends but by people you don’t know who are impressed with your expertise? If so, you might benefit from the example of press release distribution expert Mickie Kennedy, whose PR Fuel blog consistently generates plenty of chatter and retweets.

Background Information

Mickie Kennedy and I first became acquainted when I was invited to make two guest posts on PR Fuel. The most popular of the two, “Top 10 Tips for PR Success Using HARO,” was retweeted 98 times! Even Peter Shankman (creator of HARO) retweeted my guest post. I was delighted, and soon noticed that Mickie’s blog is often retweeted by numerous Twitter users, including highly followed public relations experts.

Mickie Kennedy first got into the world of online business through domain name sales. Later, he founded eReleases, one of the first web companies to offer electronic press release distribution. An exclusive partnership with PR Newswire has helped eReleases score plenty of satisfied customers in recent years. Also setting Mickie’s company apart is his active and interactive use of social media, as well as his partnerships with bloggers.

What’s He Doing Right?

Mickie’s strengths as a social media user revolve around the basic purposes of social media: Relationship building and interaction.

* Sharing the Love: Mickie is in the habit of giving frequent Twitter shout-outs to blogs other than his own. Gratitude is a powerful force in social media.

* Be Excellent to Each Other: This phrase is one of the rules of HARO, and it’s appropriate throughout social media. Mickie never gives anyone reason to dislike him.

* Offering Something for Free: Internet users are accustomed to getting plenty of value for nothing. From Google Maps to WordPress, the Internet runs on free tools and free content. Mickie has something to sell, but he’s willing to offer other alternatives to visitors to his website and Twitter profile. He sells press release writing, but his website offers tips on how to write a press release for DIY-ers. He’s also got a page on how to distribute a press release yourself.

* Connections with Bloggers: Bloggers are influencers online. Understanding that is key to building your own reputation and sphere of influence. Mickie connects with other bloggers through Twitter and through guest posting.

* Eggs in Multiple Baskets: Mickie’s most active on Twitter, but he maintains a Facebook presence, which he uses to promote an insider’s club that features special discounts on his company’s services. If you’ve made the leap from content producer to business owner, it’s important to stake out a space in multiple social networking platforms.

* Lots (and lots and lots) of Content: PR Fuel updates every weekday. That’s a plus, since most fans of a blog about public relations will be likely to check in via an RSS reader over their morning coffee at the office. Value isn’t sacrificed in favor of frequency, but PR Fuel demonstrates awareness of online readers’ viewing habits. Too many days without an update can kill a blog’s following quickly.

This is the first in a series of articles profiling topic experts who are using social media wisely to position themselves as top content creators in a particular niche.

Green Ideas for Small Businesses: Tips for Making a Small Business Green

With all the emphasis on being green in today’s culture, many small business owners would like to be more eco-friendly. However, it is a challenge to try to make green choices and stay within the limited budget that most small businesses have. Try some of these low or no cost options for showing customers that for this small business, the emphasis is on green.

Recycle

Recycling is such a simple thing to do. The key is to never recycle confidential information. Shred anything that has customer addresses or financial information on it. Packing material, printing mistakes and outdated flyers are fair game. Let customers know that recycling is being practiced by placing a bin labeled with a recycling symbol in an area that they can access. It is a free public relations move that can help cut down on clean up, since customers will be more apt to put receipts or flyers they don’t want in the bin instead of dropping them on the floor as they head out the door.

Sell Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable shopping bags are not just green; they are a great marketing tool. Every time a customer carries that shopping bag, whether it is filled with library books or has just made another trip to and from the business where it was originally purchased, the bag’s logo is being seen by other people. Sturdy canvas bags with flat bottoms are a big favorite with most people. Additional features, such as the ability to fold up into a zippered pouch or a pocket in the bag for small items, will make the bags a favorite with customers.

Change the Light Bulbs

Some small businesses and even large businesses decide to save energy by turning off lights or using dimmers. While this is a fine idea for storage areas, it isn’t as great for parts of the building that customers are in or for areas where employees are working. Instead, switch traditional bulbs for energy saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, are a great way to help the environment and help a business save money at the same time because they use much less energy. While they cost as much as four times more than regular light bulbs, Energy Star says that these CFL bulbs can provide substantial savings on electric bills. In addition, they provide a much cooler type of light, which can mean additional savings on summer cooling costs.