Creativity that fits "Like a glove!"

Here is a definition of the difference between earned, paid, and owned media, according to Sean Cocoran. According to Cocoran, “they can be applied as a simple way for interactive marketers to categorize and ultimately prioritize all of the media options they have today.”
Here are some items that Cocoran suggests to consider when creating an interactive media strategy:
  • Create a solar system of owned media. Owned media creates brand portability. Now you can extend your brand’s presence beyond your web site so that it exists in many places across the web – specifically through social media sites and unique communities. In a recession in which marketing budgets are being cut by 20%, the ability to communicate directly with consumers who want to engage with your brand through long-term relationships can be invaluable.
  • Recognize that earned media is a result of brand behavior. The term has evolved into the transparent and permanent word-of-mouth that is being created through social media. You need to learn how to listen and respond to both the good (positive organic) and bad (spurned) as well as consider when to try and stimulate earned media through word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Your paid media is not dead, but it is evolving into a catalyst.  Many people are predicting the end of paid media (aka advertising). However, that prediction may be premature as no other type of media can guarantee the immediacy and scale that paid media can. However, paid media is shifting away from the foundation and evolving into a catalyst that is needed at key periods to drive more engagement.
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A Fine Line: Social Media Policy

Social media policies are created to safeguard a company from potential crises as well as from bad publicity from its workers.

However, there is a recent notice from National Labor Relations Board, which says “organizations need to be more specific in the language they use to govern the use of social media policy for US-based employees.”

Under the National Labor Relations Act, US-based employees have a legal right to organize to improve their working conditions, even if that effort includes publicly criticizing their employer or discussing confidential information, such as a salaries, on social networks.

So it raises the question, are social media policies legal? Can we prohibit employees from writing negative information about our company?

As social media grows and evolves, so do the rules and regulations. It is important to stay up to date on information and policies affecting your social media policy so that you are not caught in a legal battle.


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Engaging your public

The practice of PR has changed from the majority of PR in news stories, to now the majority of PR as public engagement.

As practitioners, we must build trust with our publics through continuous conversation engaging the publics. In a report by Edelman, there are certain tenets to public engagement in order to engage new influencers.

• Integrate search into PR. Conduct reputational search and social search to prioritize media and blogger outreach, as well as an outlet for suggestions and complaints.

• Mobilize the influencers. Find out who will most benefit your company. People who are passionate about specific topics, for example. They will need early information and access so they can publicly discuss product or corporate initiatives.

• Inform the conversation. As practitioners, we need to go where the people are, social media, to provide information. Also need to include websites, or apps to utilize the information.

• Understand that every company is a media company. Companies need to offer a depth of content from their core area, so consumers are drawn to your website and well informed.

• Be present and consistent. People uses 8 sources of media per day, and need to hear something 3-5 times to believe it. Involve audiences consistently through many media, and adapt the message to the specific medium.

• Act in a democratic and decentralized way. Give a voice to the people.

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Building a Brand via Social Media

With the growing power of the consumer’s voice through social media, companies now have less power over their brand messages. The public now has the opportunity to help shape a brand and influence the buying power of others.

Consumers generally get their information about products from the internet before making a purchase. People can now post their thoughts and experiences with a product. Via social media vehicles, consumers now make purchases based on what their networks think about a product.

Bad news about a company spreads virally quicker than good press, and consumers are more likely to post negative feeback than they are positive feedback.

Companies need to counteract this negative feedback as well as build a strong brand community. An article by Christina Faeh outlines how to build brand champions.

  • IDENTIFY the company mission or values that consumers can share. Providing inspiration or a vision for the company’s target audience can enable them to become followers and swear by the brand.
  • REACH OUT to established communities or online social networks that share the values of the brand. For example, if the company sells organic baby food, then engage a network of mothers who are health conscious.
  • EMPOWER champions with the tools and resources to spread the brand’s value and voice that they share, connect with and live by.
  • NOURISH the company’s champion community through engagement and sharing. When launching a new product, ensure the champions get an early release or have the ability to test and provide feedback. When starting a new campaign, determine how the company might include the champions as part of the campaign voice.

Loyal customers want to have a connection with a brand, so give them content and information that means something to them.


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Together or Separate?

The biggest question concerning social media usage is whether or not to have a unified page for personal and business use, or two separate pages. An article by Melanie Pinola discusses the pros and cons of having a unified social media page or a separate one.

Use One Profile for All Social Media Networks

  • Simplicity; easiest method to use
  • Build a well-rounded online identity
  • Update all of your contacts at once


  • Might cause you to be more reserved than you normally would be if you had a separate personal account– your professional contacts probably don’t care about your Facebook virtual farms and your friends may not care about the details of the conference you’re attending

Use Separate Personal and Professional Profiles

  • Helps maintain work-life boundaries
  • Less fear of your colleagues or boss seeing personal details you may not want to share, so you may be more candid
  • Messages from contacts will be more relevant to the account type (i.e., you’ll see mostly work-related posts in the professional acocunt)


  • Can be tricky to maintain — you need to be sure you are logged in to the right account before posting
  • Harder to see or share updates across all your contacts. Solution: Some programs, likeTweetDeck solve this problem by allowing you to post from multiple accounts on multiple networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Use Separate Social Networking Services for Different Purposes

  • Same benefits as maintaining separate personal and professional accounts on each network, but a bit less confusing. When you’re in Facebook, you write about your life. When in LinkedIn, you can be all business.


  • Harder to share or see updates across all your contacts. Again, though, you can use applications to merge multiple accounts.


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To pin or not to pin

With Pinterest‘s recent spark of popularity, it raises the question whether or not companies should jump on the band wagon.

The social network, which features a highly visual, virtual pinboard interface, had 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in January 2011, according to comScore.

90% of Pinterest users are women, so companies who are targeting that audience simply cannot ignore this new medium to get their message out. Companies should capitalize on an opportunity to expand their audience base and engage in an effective way.

However, with social media managers for these companies, is it a necessary tool to help get your message out? They are already balancing multiple accounts, and will just add more to their plate.

What do you think about companies engaging with audiences on Pinterest?

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Social Media Crisis Response

When a company is in crisis mode, it is important to have a plan already established to help guide actions via social media.

Five tips from PRNews for a successful social media crisis response:

  1. Build your networks before you need them
  2. Respond quickly: Social media is immediate. When it’s working against you, you must engage within minutes or risk your message vanishing into the clutter.
  3. Fix the problem
  4. Be human:  Talk to customers as though you were talking to them face to face. Don’t be anonymous or hide behind your logo.
  5. Use the right medium: If you’re being attacked on your company Facebook page, respond there.

It is also important to make sure your social media efforts are valuable to crisis communication.

How determine which social comments to respond to in crisis from PRNews:

      Social Influence + Intensity of Comment = Value of Responding

  • Social Influence: How likely the person is to have an influence in the social world. How likely are the followers to engage in the content.
  • Intensity of Comment: Target comments that will most likely generate responses.
  • Value of Responding: Your goal is to engage the social conversation regarding the crisis—every time that conversation extends further (social influence), you want to engage it with either feedback or support.
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Tempur-Pedic’s use of Crowd Sourced Content

I’m sure we have all seen the new Tempur-Pedic commercials that feature diverse couples sharing their story about their beds. They are now encouraging viewers to get on Facebook to tell their friends about their beds, and urge other non-owners to ask their friends about their Tempur-Pedic.

In an online review of the campaign by Mandy Kilinskis, she states that “it adds another layer of trust to the brand and makes the consumer more comfortable about their potential purchasing decision.”

On the Tempur-Pedic’s website, they feature Facebook comments made by consumers, non-paid, with active links to go to the website.

This is the perfect example of crowd sourced content. They are trying to shift the marketing from company to consumers via social media websites.

What the campaign is lacking, however, is a Twitter presence.


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How to Effectively Write a Social Media News Release

The social media release is an end in itself. The company writing the news release is the publisher of the content. It is not necessary to depend on another outlet to use and disseminate the information. Media pick-up is irrelevant.

An article on Forbes describes how to effectively write a social media news release, and what information should be released in this manner. The best thing about these releases is that they are mass communication intended for the largest possible audience.

The article’s tips include:

  • Create conversation around your news by asking a question, making a joke or a thought provoking statement. It makes people interested and want to keep reading.
  • Keep with social aspect by incorporating pictures or video into your release.
  • Write news that could be deemed newsworthy by customers and potential customers. Keep in mind: significant news for the target audience.
  • Share the news of what’s in the release, but personalize it. Then link to the release from your website or an outside outlet.

These tips will help you keep your customers interested in your news releases.

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Issue Resolution on Social Media Websites

While social media is increasingly becoming one of the main ways consumers contact corporations, it is important that corporations know and understand how to handle consumer complaints.

An article by Duke Chung on Mashable describes how corporations should respond to negative comments made by consumers about a product or service on their website.

 “Happy customers who get their issues resolved tell an average of four to six people about their positive experiences”

To resolve issues quickly and by listening to your audience, you will not only find repeat customers, but positive word-of-mouth messages sent via social media. This will reach hundreds of people without the company being the message sender. Chung says that satisfied customers are one of the most influential brand ambassadors.

How to turn customers into brand ambassadors:

  1. Be Fast
    -25% of social media users expect a response within one hour
    -Since the internet and social media are instant, it is important to keep up.
  2. Be Visible
    -Think of each response as being a reference for any other customer with
    the same issue.
    -Join in the conversation about your brand to better understand the
    community that follows you.
  3. Be Consistent
    -Brand accuracy drives confidence and credibility, and helps build brand
    loyalty among your customers.
  4. Be Organized
  5. Be Human
    -Your customer support should make customers feel as if they’re posting a
    normal question on a friend’s wall. Creating that kind of relationship
    with your customer should be the priority of any company.

Your company’s support system, through social media, turns into an open, interactive community, where customers can share their positive experiences with one another and spread the good word about your products and services – all on your behalf. This is why it is beneficial to listen to your customers and resolve issues as Chung suggests.

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