Common Mistakes When Hiring an Online Promotions Person

When a company hires a person for online promotional strategies, too often they want to put the position in a tight box. This is especially true when it comes to social media and link marketing. I prefer to think of this person as public relations as opposed to promotions.

We’ve all seen it. A person is hired for online promotions. Often their boss knows little about what is truly involved. The position quickly turns into low-quality link trading and trying to get to the first page of Digg.

Then, a couple months later, the company wonders why they’re getting little or no results. At that time, they realize they can outsource it to a developing nation for a fraction of the cost. This story is repeated time and time again.

If you’re considering hiring a person to promote a company online, here are some ways to structure the position.

Going Niche

While many might be going after the big social sites, that often isn’t the best approach when doing it in-house. Save that for the social media consultants and companies that specialize in that tactic.

For example, does it really make sense for a clothing store to try to get top results from Digg? It would be more productive to focus on smaller social sites about fashion and beauty, plus all the fashion groups within larger social media sites. That way, you’re focused on your demographics: your customers.

And don’t be fooled that all social media sites are Web 2.0. Too often, people forget about basic social sites like discussion forums. Those can be a gold mine, depending on your industry.


To continue with the example of the apparel store, let’s turn to links. Instead of trading links, why not have your promotional person start reading and compiling a list of popular bloggers in the fashion and beauty industry? Once they’re familiar with the bloggers, and with a little creatively, they’ll be able to come up with a tool/widget for the industry.

This widget/tool could be something to help the bloggers, or something that is so useful they’ll want to promote it to their readers. The trick here is your promotions person needs to understand the bloggers, audience, and industry.

Yes, some may believe blogs are a thing of the past. Just the opposite is true — they’re stronger than ever since more of the personal chatter has moved over to Facebook and Twitter. A recent study by eMarketer states 40.55 percent of Twitter use is “pointless babble” and 37.55 percent is conversational. A lot of that “pointless babble” used to happen on blogs. That is helping to improve the reputation of bloggers.

“The Diane Rehm Show” recently did a great interview with Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of, about why blogs are here to stay (second half of show).


Once your new public relations person is thoroughly familiar with the industry and communities, have them start taking part in the online discussions. That will help to build your company’s online reputation and, down the road, provide a means to promote your public relations campaigns. This involvement could range from groups on Facebook, to discussion forums, to insightful discussions in blog comments, and other forms of social media.

A promotional position doesn’t have to be boring, rigid, and produce low-results. Instead, turn it into a public relations position.

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