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A Professional Relationship

Social media makes sense. It’s cheap, you can reach your target market, you can expand your market, etc., the possibilities seem endless. But, as much as you can accomplish with social media, there will always be a place for paid media in its midst.

Sean Corcoran visits and revisits this phenomena in his blogs on forrester.com under Interactive Marketing Professionals. The first of these posts talks about the unlikely marriage between paid and earned media. This post was written in October 2010, so it is slightly outdated by social media standards, but it still raises a good point about the issue. Here Corcoran highlights the close relationship that should be found within paid, earned and owned media. Each brings something to the table that the other two cannot.

The second of these posts, written in July 2011, goes into Twitter’s use of promoted Tweets. This was one of the first variations of the use of paid media within social media. I think Corcoran summed it up in his bottom line: “Focus on your organic efforts and the user experience first, and then try out paid media to accelerate your efforts.”

Where do you draw the line between paid media vs. social media?

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Social Media Policy Awareness

I found this video through an article on Mashable, “How to: Get your employees on board with your social media policy.” The video is a summary of the Victoria, Australia Department of Justice’s internal social media policy. It is a wonderful basic outline to any companies policy.

The article outlines some tips and advice for implementing a social media policy:

Understand the internal culture of your company.

Educate employees through continuous training.

Extend the conversation beyond training through internal discussion forums.

Empower employees to drive their careers and company forward.

Create a solid process. 

Tune into “What’s In It For Me,” or “WIIFM.”

Address problems efficiently, proactively and gently.

Give them a voice by ensuring people speak for themselves, not the brand.

What suggestions would you give to those creating a policy?

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Study on the New Influencer

When looking for information about new influencers in social media the search results are endless. But, that is simply the reality of search engines and results. In fact, that is the point of them. Bing attempted to market themselves as a more direct search engine, but even they are guilty to never ending results.

Another fact is that new influencers are the main consumers of these “search engine overloads.” And, they seem to enjoy it.

The Institute for Public Relations and Wieck Media funded a study in March 2011 over new media usage by new influencers. The Society for New Communications Research conducted the study by an online survey of almost 300 PR and marketing communications professionals. They wanted to discover what type of impact the changing patterns of influence would cause.

Influence is no longer simply distributed through broadcast and journalism. There are many non-traditional channels that redefine media. This study’s purpose was to define how organizations define “new influencers,” create a relationship with them, use social media and measure their progress.

There is a lot of information in the slideshare, but it is worth your time to take a look. One day we could be presenting these types of studies – never hurts to have a head start on presentation skills.

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Social Media Branding 101

In December 2001 Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) Market Research surveyed approximately 2,000 random internet users. The goal? To identify the best way to reach users, where to find users online, who users are and, if potential customers enjoy brand interaction through social media. The following infographic from AYTM shares the results of their study.

 

What I found most interesting in this study was the evaluation of “who” the most likely active users are. Joe, Mary and Fred are personified ideals of who does what on which sort of social media. Although they are somewhat stereotypical, they are somewhat true. I identified more with Mary, the share reactor. Although I am active on social media, when it comes to content I find there is sometimes more to share than to create. So much is out there!

Where do you fall in social media branding use?

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Where is the line?

The discussion of personal vs. professional use of social media begs for an answer to this question.

I think the line between personal vs. professional use of social media is the same as person-to-person vs. business-to-person. In the past few years we have been taught to “brand” ourselves (not the cattle kind of brand…duh). Especially when it comes to our use of social media. To learn more about personal branding check out “How students can use professional social networks to enhance their job hunting,”  This is person-to-person use, although we are trying to convey ourselves as a brand, it is a more intimate type of atmosphere.

Now, think of celebrities and/or athletes that you follow on Twitter or like their Fan page on Facebook. What they post we consider to be more personal than say, an announcement or post by the St. Louis Cardinals or Kansas City Royals (I refuse to discriminate either party) as their own entity.

The difference is that they are seen as a business. These posts are viewed as “professional” because they encompass the business as a whole. It is not just one person’s reputation or brand at stake. It is an entire company’s. The players own accounts revert back to the person-to-person use, but anything that is posted by the whole is viewed more so from a business standpoint.

Where do you draw the line?

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On the Edge

To us (the understood “you” sitting in Social Media 101 with Heaps this evening), social media comes second nature. We grew up with all of them. Facebook has developed so much farther since I first logged in back in 2004. Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Flickr and YouTube only scratch the surface of a now exploding field.

To us, they are all just tools. For us, there is no need to explain why they are helpful. Most of us, are fluent in the special features and everyday uses of these tools. But, we are not at the top leadership rankings, yet.

This article from PR News speaks from an experienced PR professional’s point of view. Many of those that have been in the business for years and years do not understand the full use and potential of social media. I found it to be a very interesting admission to their lack of flexability this far into the game.

Although we do surpass many in the understanding and use of social media, it is important that in the future, we understand that we will be them someday. Therefore, the four essentials for those to “thrive in social media” will be just as important for us to use for every aspect of our progression. Listen, learn, participate and practice. Keep these traits active and we just might be unstoppable…

How do you keep your edge?

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Taco Bell: On the road to redemption

About a year ago, Taco Bell was accused (or should I say caught?) for having only 88 percent beef. Most of the accusations were posted view blogosphere for discussion. This put Taco Bell in a full-fledged social media crisis.

Good news? They were not the first to deal with this type of crisis. Dominos had a similar situation in 2009. This gave Taco Bell and Rubenstein Associates senior executive vice president, Marsha Horowitz, a bit of a grid to follow. Still, this was one of the first big social media crisis’ of the 21st century.

The company president stared in a YouTube video early on in the crisis stating what exactly the other 12 percent of the beef contained. He also made sure to let consumers know that it passed USDA inspection with a 100 percent. The Facebook page hosted the video and sported multiple “likes,” however, the written reviews were mixed. Twitter was a “love fest” for the company.

In retrospect I believe it is good that they handled the situation as quickly as they did, but they could have added more to the video side of things. Perhaps an introspective look on how the beef is made right in the kitchen, as well as other menu items.

All in all I don’t believe Taco Bell really suffered too much. As long as there are hungry college students at 1 a.m. there will be Taco Bell to save them!

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Roots and Growth of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing can be simply described as a way to involve consumers in the creative process. The video below, featuring Jeff Howe from Wired Magazine, gives a well rounded explanation of crowdsourcing.

What I found more interesting though, was its development. Crowdsourcing seems to have evolved into a very technical field. There seems to  be an almost endless supply of websites that offer these services. Spigit, Chaordix, and Blur, to name only a few, are all in the crowdsourcing field. You can find thousands of different creative ideas and points of view. So many that you are practically guaranteed to find one that will best represent your company or brand.

In addition to the creation of these advanced sites, there has also been some development in the materials and purpose of crowdsourcing. It is called crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is basically the financial form of crowdsourcing. It is a way for funds to be raised through either philanthropy, lending or investments. These contributions are usually from stakeholders, as they have a vested interest in the outcomes. To learn more about crowdfunding click here.

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Guided by Change

 

According to a State of the Media report done by Vocus, news staffs continued to diminish in 2011. Some may find this a bit of a surprise considering that less newspaper’s actually shut down in this time.

 

In an article on PR Daily, it is recognized that the influence of social media is a huge contributing factor to this minor phenomena. Newspaper staffs are collecting tech savvy editors who know the ins and outs of digital and social media. These, and many other changes, have created the need for some changes in how the PR industry runs.

 

The seven things listed in this article are:

 

  1. Text alone is boring. Media outlets are looking for visuals in addition to the story.
  2. Do not forget, in the midst of technology, you are still pitching stories to PEOPLE
  3. The iPhone/iPad is no longer a suggestion. Get one.
  4. DO NOT PITCH USING SOCIAL MEDIA – This is not an effective, nor professional, way to present a story.
  5. Although you do not want to pitch through social media, do create relationships in this way.
  6. Reporters are busier than ever in this social media age, make it as easy as possible for them.
  7. TV newsrooms are best approached between 8 and 9 a.m. via telephone.

 

These are just seven items to what I am sure is a never-ending list. Social media is changing the distribution of news, it is up to us to keep up with the times.

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Branding Tools

I am not an avid “Tweeter” by any means…but every once in a while I will stumble into a great find. Saturday evening, that was just the case when I found a recent story from Mashable about the use of Pinterest as a branding tool.

http://nancybabb-classes.blogspot.com/2011/06/need-i-say-more.html

Three of the five main points in the story outlined how Pinterest could be used to interact with/listen to your audience.

The first of these indicated how pinners volunteer more information about their personalities and interests on this site than any other. In fact, wouldn’t it be easy to use these details in a kind of pseudo focus group? To invoke this practice, you would simply need to look into what those that follow your brand are pinning.

You can also use Pinterest as a way to crowdsource and run contests. All of these exciting opportunities to interact with your audience are (at this time) free of charge! Also, the site is still being learned by many. Who knows what other possibilities may emerge…

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