Last week, the True Blue team attended a PRSA Tampa Bay event with keynote speaker, Peter Shankman.

Shankman is globally recognized for his radical new ways of thinking about PR, marketing, customer service, advertising and social media. At the event, he discussed his unique vision for the future of marketing and customer service and shared five lessons that he’s learned throughout his impressive career.

Lesson number one: No one will believe how awesome you are if you’re the one who has to tell them

Think about this for a moment. People don’t care what you think about your company. Anyone can say that they are the best or the greatest, but hearing it from clients or customers will carry far more clout. Instead of worrying about the customers that you don’t have, be amazing to the ones that you do – they will be your best marketing tool.

Lesson number two: Have a backup plan for when you succeed

We all have a backup plan for when we fail, but do you have one for when you succeed? Have your next step ready before you receive that crucial “yes” from a reporter or business prospect. Not only will this boost your confidence in the message that you’re delivering, it will ensure that you’re ready to hit the ground running when that next step arrives.

Lesson number three: Never “next” your customers

Every one of your customers should feel valued, especially when they are dissatisfied with your product or service. When these instances arise – and they will – it’s important to acknowledge the customer’s problem and try to solve it the best you can. Oftentimes, customers take their complains to social media not because they want the problem resolved, but because they want to be heard. Be the person or business that actually listens to them.

Lesson number four: Ask your audience what they want

You have about three seconds to capture the attention of your audience. Do you know how to get their attention? Shankman offered two ways to get your key messages in front of your audience within that timeframe. The first is to ask them what they want and the second is to become a better communicator. If this seems too simple, it’s because it is. You’ll never know what your audience wants unless you ask. And when you figure it out, make sure that your message is clear.

Lesson number five: Stop chasing likes and start doing more likeable things

You see these phrases all over social media: “Like us!” “Follow us!” It has become the standard call to action, but are these likes translating into new and loyal customers? Rather than focusing on increasing your “likes,” do things that will increase customer retention and improve your reputation. Shankman told a story about how he didn’t have to like his favorite restaurant on Facebook, because he was there three nights a week showing them how much he liked them. Can your customers say the same for your business?

We hope you will take these lessons and apply them to your business’ PR strategy, as we know they can help you reach the right people and achieve your desired results.