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My Way or the Earned Way

In the past, there has been a fairly clear distinction between paid media and earned media.  Paid media dealt more with advertising, and earned media dealt more with publications, news stories, and events that were more public relations driven tactics.

I found an article by Gil Rudawsky on PR Daily: Europe, titled “Earned Media vs. Paid Media”.  The article relates to the topic of social media causing the “blur” between paid and earned media.  He mentions that, ”Marketing and SEO companies that pay for placement are competing for PR business, and leaving those of us in PR industry explaining why we’re getting fewer media hits.”

Rudawsky describes the key differences that remain, even though social media created some gray area.  Earned media is demonstrated by fostering relationships with public and rewarding them with quality and interesting information.  It involves developing information that keeps going them as well as new publics to a site or page.

Paid media is a good tool for the larger companies that can afford it.  It involves sending out a large message on multiple platforms to the largest groups possible and is considered only one-way communication.

The following is Rudawsky’s list of differences between paid media and earned media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more articles by Rudawsky, click here.

-Eric Hughey

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Making a Punctual Policy

Social media platforms have given people of all ages a voice to millions of listeners.  Along the same lines, every employee has a voice, and every company is responsible for that employee’s voice.  Many people have lost their jobs because what they have posted on their personal social media.  Many people have caused crises from their companies.  Not only does every business need social media, every business needs a policy or guidelines of how to handle employee’s voices on social media.

In an article I found on Inc. Magazine Online titled, “How to Write a Social Media Policy”, I found a lot of great information.  The article is by Tiffany Black and she makes a few very good points.  One of her main points I thought was very interesting was placing a clause within a confidentiality agreement about social media use.  Although employees may take social media light hearted, it is anything but “light” when that employee misrepresents the company.  I thought this was a great point and is probably going overlooked in many businesses.

It is also important to get employees involved in social media after a mutual understanding of the policy is in place.  Employees of a company should not be silent, this completes no type of audience engagement or brand awareness to the public.  Instead, employees should practice positioning comments about the company that places the company in a favorable light.  Employees that understand this importance, yet feel they have free range to craft their own messages on social media will become the greatest spokespeople for the company.

Black also gives 10 detailed points within the article that are important for creating a social media policy. For more articles by Tiffany Black, click here.

 

-Eric Hughey

www.hugheymedia.com

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Fishin’ Listenin’

Social media, internet, and digital technology have given people of all ages a voice on the World Wide Web.  Smart phones, tablet PCs, and handheld devices have allowed more people to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the internet.  With so many blogs, feeds, and personal pages, the consumer and the public have more power than ever.  Solis states on page 229 of the “Engage” that, “This is an era of consumer engagement and empowerment.”

Solis has frequently illustrated the importance of “Brand Beacons” within the text.  In other words, he is stressing the importance of analytics and data mining.  Properly monitoring the web for brand recognition can be difficult, and it requires the company to engage with the audience and listen.  There are millions of voices, thoughts, and opinions about brands, companies, and businesses on the internet.  Not searching or listening to those voices on behalf of a company is foolish.

Most of the time information received from analytics and listening is free of charge and can have a profound impact on a business.  This is a great example of a tool, or business practice that is a great return of investment (ROI).

A YouTube video I found from the SAS Group illustrates the importance of searching for vital customer information via analytics.  There is an entire sea of information about customer opinion and brand equity on the internet.  Every business needs to be cognizant of that, and go fishing in that sea of helpful information that can lead the company to be proactive instead of reactive.

 

This video from SAS, explains it in more detail.

For more information on SAS, click here.

 

-Eric Hughey
www.hugheymedia.com

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Oh Hey, Nice Brand!

Although social media platforms are fairly simply to operate, every company needs to plan strategically about the “brand” it wants to establish.  People have different writing styles across social media and different attitudes are expressed through writing and text.  A company’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all need to be promoting the same messages with consistent style.

In the article, “5 Tips for Maintaining Brand Consistency Across Social Media” by Todd Wasserman- he illustrates the concept of consistent brand building through social media. He mentions five points that were developed by the Director of Landor Associates, Michael Sunden.  (Numbered points by Sunden, bulleted information is my interpretation).

1. Establish Your Brand Voice

– Decide upon the messages you want to promote, including the strengths, key messages, or objectives of your company.

2. Invite Commentary Instead of Chest-Thumping

– In other words, force users to be verbal on your threads and posts.  Instead of always boasting or bragging about your brand, invite the consumers to give input and feedback.  Get the consumer involved to show you care.  This is a great example of the importance of pulling instead of pushing.

3. Be Relevant (and Creative)

– Creative content is king.  I added the creative part on this bullet. You must stay up-to-date with current news while promoting your brand.  Certain issues can be tied to your brand and could be used a mini social media campaign. People like interacting with new, exciting, content and being able to relate to current events in multiple platforms.

4. Don’t aim for Consistency, Aim for Cohesion

– It is important to have a consistent base message and brand.  However, companies should incorporate different strategies to appeal to different niche markets and get a variety of groups talking on the pages.

5. Know Your Audience

– Not only is it important to know the audience, companies need to study the audience.  It is important to know the life styles of your target market.  It is important to know the values and beliefs they have, where they tend to shop, what other sites they go to, and how they feel about the company brand.  Online software such as Google Analytics and Radian 6 can help gather information like this.

For more articles by Wasserman, click here.

-Eric Hughey

http://hugheymedia.com/

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Social Media: Friend of Foe?

A majority of people do not realize they are spreading themselves too thin across the internet.  It’s difficult to monitor what we say and and what is said about us. It is also diffuclt to promote consistent self- images on all the social media platforms available. Although social media is considered fun and a luxury to have, it should be handled with personal caution.

Freshman year in college on Facebook, I mentioned my opinion of all professors general inability to operate blackboard. Then I realized I had just “friended” a professor a few weeks prior.  Before I knew it, she had made a light-hearted comment on that status. Luckily for me and my reputation as a student, she didn’t think it was a big deal. We cannot let out emotions get the best of us on social media, doing so can be detrimental to our future as a student and employee.

Dan Schawbel wrote an article I found on Mashable that went into further detail.  His article is titled, “Five Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Your Personal Brand Online”.  His five main tips were:

  1. Don’t Ignore Brand Mentions
  2. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
  3. Know Your Audience
  4. Limit Self- Promotion
  5. Be Consistent

In summary, Schawbel states in his article that you must build and maintain your own personal brand.  You must be consistent and take into account what you’re saying about yourself and your associations, and vice versa.

In our text, Brian Solis mentions that you should always have “Brand Beacons” out on patrol.  I thought this was a great way to describe self-promotion within social media.

Be on the look-out for what is on the web about YOU.  More than ever, our digital personal lives are determining our professional lives.

-Eric Hughey

www.hugheymedia.com

For more articles by Schawbel click here.

Picture from Schawbel article
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Zoosk does relationship counseling of its own

Zoosk is an online dating site that can be compared to many other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  The key difference being that Zoosk users are looking for a significant other to build a relationship with. 

According to an article on Mashable by Sam Laird, Zoosk is trying to maintain longer relationships with its users.  Most users make a profile, find a significant other and stop using the site.  Other users simply get frustrated when they can’t find that special someone and stop using the site as well.  Zoosk wants to keep users around for longer, even after relationships have blossomed.  

Zoosk wants to incorporate ideas and activities that most social media, especially dating sites have not established.  They want to promote birthdays, anniversaries, special dates, gift ideas, dating ideas, etc.  As Zoosk expands so will their activity with other social media.  Facebook and Zoosk will be hosting the same profile pictures of significant others if the feature is enabled by users.  

Co-founder of Zoosk, Alex Merh summarizes it by comparing Monster and LinkedIn.  He states, “Monster just focuses on the job-seeking phase of your professional life, whereas LinkedIn covers your entire professional career. We want to provide a service like that for your entire romantic life”.

 I think this is a great idea and marketing strategy by Zoosk.  It has over $90 million in revenue in 2011.  I think these new features will draw even more web traffic and get users to stay on the site as least twice as long.   However, I don’t know if the idea will succeed.  Once users find a significant other for an extended period of time, I don’t think couples will be looking back to Zoosk for advice.  

What do you all think?  Will this work? 

Click here for more information on Zoosk from Forbes. 

For more articles by Sam Laird, click here.

-Eric Hughey

 www.hugheymedia.com

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Taco Bell Bounces Back

There is a lot of speculation behind fast food and the ingredients it contains. Fast food chains such as Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Burger King are known for having questionable ingredients in the food they sell.  Documentaries such as “Super Size Me” have led fast food chains to re-think their platforms to their publics.

With the vast elements of social media, fast food chains have taken even more hits with viral YouTube videos, Tweets, and Facebook messages that place the company in a bad light. Tim Wasserman explains more in an article I found on Mashable.

Most recently, Taco Bell faced a crisis when a lawsuit was filed against them that claimed their ingredients of their beef were misleading.  There was also a photo posted on a blog of prepackaged Taco Bell meat, and the ingredient list looked very long and questionable. With Taco Bell taking a hit via social media, they decided to respond using the same tools.

Taco Bell placed this video on YouTube of their President, Greg Creed. Throughout the video Creed assures the audience that the Taco Bell’s meat is “88% USDA approved meat”. He goes on to describe the remaining 12% of the meat contents and mentions that it is a “Taco Bell Secret, and I’m going to share it with you”.

I think Taco Bell did a great job in combating this lawsuit and social media attack.  They responding promptly and confidently and assured the audience they had nothing to hide.  They have a page of their website dedicated to showing the ingredients of the meat to the public. The public claimed they were hiding something, but they responding with a simple strategy of “Nothing to hide”. I think this was a great strategy and response to end a crisis the way it started, through social media.

-Eric Hughey

www.hugheymedia.com

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CrowdSpring.com “Tell us what you need”

When businesses are in search of creative help, whether it is designing a logo, slogan, or campaign- it can be tough to create something outstanding with little resources. A lot of times, a business may not have enough resources in their design department or not enough funding to outsource the project.  The new and growing system of “crowd sourcing” has become very popular and effective.  

crowdSPRING.com is a crowd sourcing site for creative logo and web design.  The process is fairly simple while being very effective.  The business can post a short bio as well as the type of project it needs completed.  The business can name their price range, and the time deadline.  On average, over 100 designers reply to every post by a business in need.

There are over 100,000 designers connected to crowdSPRING.com around the world.  I believe this a really great way for small businesses to stay competitive in the market.  When businesses do not have the funding, man power, or time to spend working on in-depth website or logo design, they can name their price and still get hundreds or possibilities in return.  This allows the business to focus their efforts on the main part of the campaign and objectives while receiving hundreds of design possibilities for the same price.  This is also a great way for free lance designers to make some money between large projects or contracted jobs.

Check out crowdSPRING.com and how it works.  There also very similar such as 99designs.com. 

-Eric Hughey

http://hugheymedia.com/

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Press Release Faceoff

I found this article on Mashable that was posted by Sundeep Kapur of Click Z, a partner of Mashable that provides marketing and business news.  They provided a list of the “Top 11 Social Media Sins for Brands”.  I have paraphrased the list below but you visit the more detailed and descriptive list HERE.  I stopped at number five because it’s the most important for this week’s theme of social media news releases. 

1. Don’t run specials all the time.

2. Don’t wait for people to come to you.

3. Don’t run contests and games all the time.

4. Don’t block negative feedback on your media platforms.

5. DON’T LAUNCH PRESS RELEASES ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

6. ….

Kapur makes an interesting point in the article as she describes the logical thinking behind this point.  Kapur states, “Do you pay attention to more than 300 characters or watch long video clips? Brands tend to forget the conversational nature of engagement on social media sites – short, interesting stories are a much better way to engage.”

In our textbook Engage, Solis states “It’s not if, but WHEN the traditional press release will be killed off by the social media release”.  I agree that social media press releases will start to make a more wide appearance on the web but, I believe that standard press releases will still serve a purpose.  Kapur makes a valid point when stating that social media is made to be concise and to-the-point.  Thus, I believe the social media press release and standard press release will complement each other in the future, not one killing off the other.

Social media press releases should be used at the shock and awe factor and should drive traffic to the full length press releases in standard form.  Why limit yourself to 160 characters to tell a “concise” story when you can use 160 characters as an avenue to the full story.  What do you think will happen with this “press release faceoff”?

-Eric Hughey

www.hugheymedia.com

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Obama Hosts Google+ “Hangout”

Public relations is an important practice in any form of business communication.  Listening to your audience is one of the most important tasks.  Businesses can publicize and promote themselves like crazy but until they start listening, they will never be successful.  Without an audience or customer, the business will fail if it doesn’t take time to LISTEN. You must keep your audience happy and always keep them in mind.

 

PR functions such as “listening to your audience” can even be seen at the highest governmental levels.  For example, President Barrack Obama will speak online on The White House’s Google+ page at 5:30 pm next Monday, January 30th.  The President will give a short address and then answer the questions that are the most highly voted on by viewers and general public.  Viewers can message in via video or text with questions.  The White House is even publicizing it as a “hangout”.

 

This is a perfect example of “listening to your audience” within PR. Obama has to keep the citizens happy because the citizens control his fate of office.  This is also very relevant to our text reading, Engage. On page 44 Solis states, “Go where your customers [audience} are, not where they aren’t”.  This is illustrated by the President and his staff by holding online video chats that incorporate social media, podcasts, blogs, etc.  There is a very high percentage of young people that don’t vote each year. But where young people are involved, is social media and the internet.  This is a way for the President to capture the voices and opinions of those people.  Social media allows for an aspect of listening and feedback.  Through traditional media such as newspaper articles and nationwide addresses on television, feedback from the audience is far more difficult to obtain.

 

-Eric Hughey
http://www.hugheymedia.com

 

For more information check out these sources:
-http://mashable.com/2012/01/23/barack-obama-google-plus-hangout/
-Book: Engage by Brian Solis

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