Our Insights

Social Media: The Dos and Don'ts, Part II

Welcome back to the continuation of last week’s article on the Dos and Don’ts of Social Media. Read on for more insights and strategies on effectively utilizing the dynamic and ever-expanding possibilities of social media in your media plan.  

In our more than a decade of helping clients of all sizes and types develop and maintain their social media presences, Elmore has learned a thing or two about what does and does not work online. And while every social media strategy is as unique as the client we are serving, we have found there are some universal dos and don’ts which we encourage all organizations to consider. If you are ready to take your social media strategy to the next level, check out the conclusion to our tips series below and contact us to get started.

DON’T: Jump on the latest trends (unless that is part of your plan all along).
Social media trends can be entertaining, but not every trend is going to be appropriate or relevant for your organization to participate in. Before jumping on the bandwagon, ask yourself, “how will participating in this trend help us reach our outlined goals? How can we participate in a way that makes sense to us and is authentic to our voice?” Additionally, trends pass as fast they arrive. Consider if your organization is nimble enough to jump on a trend while it’s still timely. If it takes multiple days and many legal hoops to get clearance, you may have already missed the window of opportunity.

DON’T: Join every social media platform in existence unless you have a strategy first.
Yes, TikTok is huge right now, but does it make sense for your brand to be on it? Before creating a brand account, it’s important to have a strategy in place that answers questions like, “What are our specific goals for this platform? What would our brand voice be on this platform? Do we have the mechanisms in place to post on this platform regularly? Is our target audience even on this platform?” If, after answering these questions, your organization still wants to have a presence on a new platform, Elmore will help you strategize an impactful debut.

DO: Budget for ads and promoted posts.
The reality is, spending money on digital ads has become a critical component to expanding your reach on social media. Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) and others have become “pay to play,” rewarding brands that spend money on the platform by showing their organic posts more often.

DON’T: Discount LinkedIn.
Especially for B2B and nonprofit organizations, LinkedIn is a powerhouse for getting your organization in front of the decision makers and donors you are looking to connect with. The platform has incredible targeting, along with great analytics and lead generation. It may not be new and shiny, but it’s reliable.

Social media is serious business, and an experienced strategist can navigate you through the digital waters. Elmore offers digital marketing and social media services in conjunction with our other firm services to ensure clients have a consistent, fitting, and engaging presence online and off.

Social Media: The Dos and Don'ts, Part I

In our more than a decade of helping clients of all sizes and types develop and maintain their social media presences, Elmore has learned a thing or two about what brands should do and should not do online. And while every social media strategy is as unique as the client we are serving, we have found there are some universal dos and don’ts which all organizations should consider. If you are ready to take your social media strategy to the next level, check out the first part of our tips below and contact us to get started.

DO: Develop a strategic plan.
At Elmore, we jump at the chance to support our clients through strategic planning. We conduct a thorough audit of your current online presence then convene your marketing team and our digital strategists to determine how you want your organization to be perceived online. A finalized plan will outline those goals, content categories, brand voice, posting guidelines, metrics for determining success, and more. It will serve as a guide for all team members responsible for posting on behalf of your organization.

DO: Establish your organization’s “pillars of storytelling.”
Define the categories of content your organization will share. For instance, a parks organization might have the following content buckets: programming posts, fundraising posts, and parkgoer stories. A B2B company’s pillars of storytelling might be: company updates, “In the News” posts, and product features. Determining these categories and sticking to them will help keep your content focused and authentic.

DO: Determine your organization’s voice.
What do you want your brand to sound like online? Are you playful, fun, and quirky? Are you buttoned up and matter of fact? Whatever your voice is, that is the tone all posts should take. With a well-defined voice, the responsibility of posting on behalf of the organization can be shared without the audience ever knowing the difference.

DON’T: Try to copy any other organization or brand.
Your followers are following you because they want to hear what you have to say and because they appreciate how you say it. Remain authentic by avoiding imitating others. Stay in your lane.

DO: Revisit your plan regularly.
When you plan your social media strategy, we recommend you also plan the cadence for how often to review the effectiveness and measure for success. To see trends, we recommend not reviewing more frequently than quarterly. It is also best practice for the client/agency team to review the goals, pillars of storytelling, and brand voice. If any of these components have changed, they can be discussed amongst the team, revised in the plan, and reflected in the subsequent execution.

Social media is serious business, and an experienced strategist can navigate you through the digital waters. Elmore offers digital marketing and social media services in conjunction with our other firm services to ensure clients have a consistent, fitting, and engaging presence online and off.

Building Trust Through Community Engagement

Community engagement, or establishing and maintaining an honest, intentional, and ongoing relationship with a target audience, is not always easy. Every community is different, which means every community engagement effort requires strategic thinking and a custom plan. Over the past three decades, Elmore has supported clients in managing complex issues with clarity and sensitivity to audiences connected by geographic location or special interest. As engaged representatives of our clients, we work with key stakeholders to unite the goals of an organization with the needs of the community.

So what does a high-performing community outreach effort look like? At a high level, Elmore employs the following process:

  • Look at the big picture. Determine the need to inform, educate or solicit feedback from specific publics about a topic, project, or campaign, and consider how the situation may be sensitive or potentially divisive due to disparate points of view.
  • Dig a little deeper to:
      • fully grasp the situation at hand;
      • conduct research and identify stakeholders and target audiences; and
      • develop a plan and timeline for outreach.
  • Craft messaging tailored to specific audiences, anticipating concerns and questions (especially the hard ones) the public might raise.
  • Implement the plan to communicate regularly with key stakeholders, often other governmental agencies and partner organizations who have a vested interest or involvement in the project, to ensure everyone remains informed and utilizes consistent messaging.
  • Most importantly, train organizational leaders to answer questions authentically, clearly, and with empathy.

While every community engagement campaign is unique, all require thoughtful consideration of audiences, viewpoints, messaging, timing, and troubleshooting. Elmore is honored to be our clients’ trusted partner throughout the process; working together to clearly communicate with, earn, and keep the trust of everyone involved.

Work Example: Harris County Engineering Department 2022 Bond Propositions Public Meetings

Elmore partnered with two communications firms to assist the Harris County Engineering Department (HCED) in a public engagement campaign for the 2022 Harris County Bond Propositions, where Elmore was primarily responsible for developing the messaging. We crafted a key messages document to ensure consistency across communications channels and created training materials with best practices to help county staff respond to community questions. Other responsibilities included drafting the press release announcing the public meetings, writing the script for the virtual meetings, and preparing our client in advance of radio and television interviews, including the Houston Newsmakers segment on KPRC-TV. The input received from residents will be used to help prioritize public safety facilities, roadway infrastructure and greenspace projects.

Work Example: Harris County Flood Control District

While some community engagement projects have tight timelines, others are in the works for years. For instance, Harris County Flood Control District hired us more than a year ago to begin preparing a community outreach campaign to educate reporters, elected officials, and the public on an additional new concept for flood mitigation. The Flood Control District is considering adding deep underground stormwater tunnels to the existing stormwater management system. We spent many months with engineers learning and breaking down the technical concepts to develop educational materials lay audiences could understand. These communications tools were then used to educate reporters and elected officials on the concept of these underground stormwater conveyance channels and to articulate their benefits. Elmore facilitated a virtual public meeting with more than 600 people in attendance, and presentations to stakeholders continue as the Flood Control District pursues the final phase of the study process. We continue our community engagement plan with a tunnel specific website launching soon and will keep the conversation with Harris County residents ongoing through online channels for the next several years.

Work Example: Hemwick Place Asphalt Roadway Reconstruction Project

Consider the award-winning community engagement campaign Elmore completed for Harris County Engineering Department (HCED) in Spring 2021. HCED would lead the Hemwick Place Asphalt Roadway Reconstruction project, repaving approximately two miles of roadway from the service road of Highway 290 into the Hemwick Place neighborhood, all in the path of 84 homes.

Elmore was hired to facilitate a virtual public meeting about the project with the goal of providing impacted residents with more information on the upcoming roadway reconstruction, giving them an opportunity to ask questions about the improvements, and articulating Harris County Precinct 3’s ongoing commitment to improving area neighborhoods.

Utilizing purposeful outreach and thoughtful messaging, and through the planning and facilitating of the successful online public meeting, Elmore guided our client to earn the trust (and ultimately, cooperation) of the 84 impacted households. Genuine communication had been established between Harris County and these residents, providing a positive experience for all parties involved in an otherwise inconvenient situation. This work won Elmore Best of Show at the Houston-area International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) awards, and a regional award of merit from the IABC Southern Region, in 2022.

Accountability as a Business Practice

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of trust and accountability. Friendships and intimate relationships thrive when each person feels heard and held. Connections flourish when expectations are established and met over and over again.

We believe the same is true in our professional relationships with our clients and colleagues. We want these relationships to be long-term and prosperous, made possible by sincere connection and confidence in us. When you are seeking a consultant, and especially in the case of a communications adviser who must understand your business and how you want your business to show up in the world, you need them to be an extension of your team. To achieve this, it requires complete trust in that relationship. For us, that trust is earned, in large part, by our commitment to accountability.

Best-selling author and lecturer Bob Proctor famously said, “Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result.” We are kept accountable by account management best practices including bringing detailed agendas to our meetings, delivering consistently on action items, and developing recap reports comparing our results to the goals we outlined together in prior strategic planning sessions and the resulting framework plan. Regular check-ins allow us to apprise our clients of campaign progress and fine-tune our strategies based on our clients’ updates.

Active listening is another way we remain accountable in our relationships day-in and day-out. By taking the time to listen empathetically, repeat what has been said and provide opportunity for clarification, we ensure everyone leaves a conversation or meeting on the same page, with the same expectations. By asking the right questions, we gain the context needed to do our work effectively.

These accountability measures are a key part of our success and result in a deepened trust in the client-agency relationship. As you seek opinions and guidance on a sensitive matter; as you impart confidential information before it is made public; and as you trust communications consultants to act as your representatives in meetings or with media, you want to have the utmost confidence in your partner. The trust imparted to us is a signal that we have earned the confidence of our partners. The most important indicator of our clients’ faith in our expertise and guidance is when they embrace and follow our strategic communications recommendations, and together we build a partnership that lasts for many years.

Having mutual trust is paramount, and accountability is the conduit by which we nurture that trust to accomplish communications goals together. If you are one of our partners, we are honored to have the opportunity to serve as a trusted member of your team. If you are not, we would love the opportunity to earn your trust.

Why a Strategic Plan is the First Step to Communications

In our last e-newsletter, we mentioned the strategic planning session as the first tool we use when building a foundation of strategies and tactics to meet your communications milestones. Held on a semi-annual basis (or another agreed-upon interval), the session is used to identify your organization’s big picture goals and upcoming milestones. From that discussion our team goes on to create a tailored communications strategy to support both.

The benefits of the strategic planning process cannot be overstated. The session itself facilitates a dynamic conversation about your organization’s initiatives with members of your team and ours. Using interactive exercises, we drill down to how we can support those initiatives through communications strategies and tactics. It is a time to think big, let creativity flow, actively listen, and have a productive dialogue with everyone at the table.

The resulting strategic communications plan, which we develop in the weeks following the meeting then refine and finalize with your team, provides a roadmap for all of us to reference as we set forth to accomplish the shared communications goals. This is the guiding document which outlines your communications objectives and exactly by what means we will accomplish them. We are methodical and intentional about our craft and believe deeply in the importance of committing our plan to paper. The plan outlines a “flexible framework,” meaning it serves as our guide and keeps us all focused on shared objectives but also allows for flexibility and nimbleness if your circumstances or priorities change. In our regular weekly or biweekly client/agency team meetings, the document is regularly referenced.

Importantly, the plan outlines benchmarks against which our success can be measured and evaluated. At the next scheduled planning session, in most cases, six months later, we showcase our results against the goals, strategies and tactics outlined in the document. This accountability gives you assurance that we are being good stewards of your resources (time, money, trust, expectations) and an excellent communications partner.

No matter which of our services you need to help get you to your goals, the first step is always to engage in the strategic planning process with us. We promise it’s painless and has an incredible ROI.

The Many Hats of a PR Pro

Public Relations is so much more than writing press releases! (We’re really good at that, by the way.) PR is all about telling our clients’ stories in the most positive, engaging, and strategic ways possible.

But first things first.  At the start of any client relationship (and in regular intervals from then on) we strive to understand the heart of our client’s goals and how they envision success. To achieve that insight, our process includes strategic planning sessions with our clients to establish objectives and then build a foundation of strategies and tactics to meet those communications milestones.

From there, it is time to hit the ground running using a customized combination of tactics from our PR “tool box” – all in coordination with an organization’s established brand, voice, and goals.

Media Relations:
Often considered the “backbone” of traditional public relations, media relations is an evolving discipline. Elmore PR works with you to develop a media relations strategy, brainstorming the kinds of stories you want to share, researching the best reporters and outlets to tell those stories, and developing an implementation timeline to achieve the greatest results. We draft press releases and articles, secure images to supplement a story, pitch reporters, and facilitate interviews.

When it’s time for those interviews, preparation goes a long way to ensuring success. Elmore PR offers media training to build confidence when you’re speaking to reporters or other audiences. We educate our clients on what to expect in an interview, how to use talking points and bridge statements, and other presentation skills to ensure you effectively deliver your message.

Should the need arise for our existing clients, Elmore PR also offers crisis and reputation management, helping frame the context of difficult situations to ensure truthful and straightforward messaging.

Digital Marketing Services:
Social media and online sources are increasingly the primary resources people turn to for news and information. Maintaining a compelling, current, and consistent online presence is essential. Elmore PR works with our clients to develop sound strategies for your digital platforms.

Whether drafting copy and blogs for your website or building a robust social media strategy, we are skilled at conceiving a tone and voice appropriate for both the platform and your organization to keep your followers interested and invested in your business.

Social media influencers are here to stay, and we know how to engage with them in smart, relevant ways for our clients.  We’ll work with you to develop an influencer strategy, including pitches and contract negotiations, as another effective avenue for connecting you with targeted audiences.

Community Outreach:
When an organization wishes to connect more directly with an audience, Elmore PR can facilitate community outreach opportunities which connect our clients with their community – leading conversations which shine the light on complex ideas and help turn adversaries into advocates.

We also can expertly manage public meeting coordination and presentation development. Meeting coordination can include everything from researching and booking the venue and distributing invitations to producing collateral materials and staffing the event.  We’ll develop your presentation, write the script, and coach your presenters to communicate key points clearly and effectively.

Under the community outreach umbrella, we assist in such behind-the-scenes activities such as stakeholder and mailing list management, tracking of public comments, and vendor management.

Account Management and Strategic Counsel:
The team at Elmore PR takes a careful and thoughtful approach to developing our plans, but also tracking our results. Through the use of concept documents, productive agendas, well-managed meetings, and action-focused notes, we build long-term and goal-oriented plans with the steps needed to achieve them. Along the way, we track and report on our results as well as capture key learnings to factor into our process for future implementation.

We also offer meeting facilitation to our clients, tackling their own internal objectives. And, of course, our senior counsel services can guide clients through even the stickiest situations.

So what can we do for YOU next? If you’d like to learn more about new ways Elmore PR can help you tell your story, email us at info@elmorepr.com.

The Strategy and Success of Being Supportive

“We are an extension of your team.” This is a phrase our clients hear us say often. It encompasses Elmore PR’s fourth core value: being supportive. In the client/agency relationship, being supportive means seamlessly supplementing an already strong client team by providing our leadership, strategy, and public relations expertise to promote your mission and initiatives.

Our guiding tenet is to connect our expertise to our clients’ objectives to deliver results which move the needle of public perception. Through our services including strategic planning, media relations, marketing, social media strategy, and community relations, we support our clients with intentional listening and clarity. As your strategic partner, Elmore PR is diligent to embrace the tone, culture, and priorities of your organization as we communicate on your behalf.

We are successful in supporting our clients because of the supportive environment we curate internally. Camaraderie and internal support are a major part of Elmore PR company culture and are essential to operating a successful firm.

Personal coaching and mentoring are a high priority. While given autonomy to lead their client teams how they best see fit, our colleagues have the full ear and support of company leadership. Additionally, between training offered by our management team and courses and webinars our colleagues seek out themselves, each team member is supported in their professional development and encouraged to continually expand their skills and expertise. And through use of the DiSC assessment, we determine how each team member prefers to be communicated with, managed, and supported. We regularly review these results as a team to make our internal communications as effective as possible.

Finally, Elmore PR embodies a supportive spirit by being intentional about working for organizations which are supportive of our community. Our clients are known for being change-makers. We are passionate about partnering with organizations whose big-picture thinking enacts transformational change in Houston’s parks, arts, business, and nonprofit circles.

Just like our clients, Elmore PR is nimble, creative, and curious. We love what we do and who we work for. It is our highest priority that you feel the full weight of our support through our aptitude, passion, and professionalism.

Seeking Clarity

Just like active listening and curiosity, practicing clarity is a tool with which we cut through verbal clutter to understand and be better understood. Seeking and projecting clarity gets us from A to B efficiently. It is fundamental to ensuring we start on the same page as we work with each other and our clients to accomplish their goals.

As communications professionals, we seek and practice clarity daily. Before we can relay a client’s goals, thoughts, and messaging to an audience, we must distill them into clear, understandable points. Through our signature strategic planning sessions and regular client meetings, and by asking the right questions and actively listening, the Elmore PR team is empowered to attain and communicate with clarity on behalf of our clients.

Clarity of thought and speech requires patience, focus and deliberateness. We can all practice clear communication by:

  • Eliminating distractions;
  • Planning, outlining and being prepared;
  • Being succinct;
  • Being intentional with word choice and syntax;
  • Sharply editing one’s own writing;
  • Tailoring messaging and delivery to the recipient’s preferred mode of communication;
  • If you are presenting a new idea, practice your presentation;
  • Considering and preparing for questions that may arise; and
  • Communicating confidently.

These skills can be applied in both our professional and personal lives to reach and deepen understanding. As the saying goes, “when life gets blurry, adjust your focus.” For many of us, the world feels incredibly blurry right now. By seeking clarity, we can adjust our focus to better understand ourselves and one another.

The Elmore Edition

Issue 12 – Q2 2023, part 2

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Issue 11 – Q2 2023, part 1

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Issue 10 – Q1 2023

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Issue 9 – Q3 2022

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Issue 8 – Awards

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Issue 7 – Q1 2022

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Issue 6 – Q4 2021

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Issue 5 – Q3 2021

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Issue 4 – Q2 2021

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Issue 3 – Q1 2021

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Issue 2 – Q4 2020

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Issue 1 – Q3 2020

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