Go Beyond the Headline

April 14, 2016

by Dan Ward

The CIO.com headline, “6 ways Twitter can help your business go beyond PR” quickly grabbed my attention.  Maybe I could learn something about how to use Twitter to go beyond traditional PR techniques.

But after reading the article, I think the headline writer may have a mistaken impression of public relations … since each of the “6 ways” already falls within the PR practitioner’s toolbox.

  1. Lead Generation/Customer Acquisition – PR pros use Twitter not only to engage with existing customers, but also to grow an organization’s customer base.  “Reward your Twitter followers with special promotions and flash sales”?  Yep, we do that.
  2. Recruiting – Our agency, and I’m sure many others, often works with clients to manage public relations strategies targeting the best and brightest future employees, and Twitter is one channel often used for recruitment messaging.
  3. Market Research – Anyone who has ever studied public relations knows that in the “RPIE” acronym used to outline PR plans, “R” stands for research.  And it always comes first.  As we say often at Taking Aim, you can’t fire until you first find your target.
  4. Event Marketing – Good advice here from author Jennifer Lonoff Schiff on using Twitter’s advertising features for event promotion, a core practice area for many PR pros.
  5. Customer Service – Yes, indeed, Twitter is a great customer service tool, and increasingly customers see it as a primary tool for communication with a company.  Companies who manage this successfully are those that involve the PR team crafting the customer service message.
  6. Media Relations – Pretty sure media relations does not “go beyond” PR.  It often begins and ends with PR, and I completely agree with the author that Twitter is a tremendous resource.  We often use Twitter not only to research and identify media contacts, but also as the primary communication channel for pitching stories. And reporters increasingly use Twitter to find resources.  Smart PR pros follow reporters who cover their areas of expertise, and regularly monitor their feeds to mine story opportunities.

Looking beyond the headline, the story clearly offers some good suggestions for practitioners to consider for future PR programs.  One hopes we can use such tools to educate headline writers about the work we do.

‘Like’ Everyone Else

November 4, 2015

by Kim Stangle

Facebook has the “like” denoted by the ever-familiar thumbs-up.  Instagram lets you double-tap to “heart” something. And, of course, you could favorite something on Twitter with the star.

Today, that star became a heart.  And just like that, favorites were no more.  The heart now symbolizes a “like.”  Call it semantics, but the star was so much more than just a heart.  The star was a bookmark for tweets I didn’t have time to read fully … or at all.  The star was for tweets that—pardon the hyperbole—were my favorite.

This might be the end of the star, but if Twitter is listening, it won’t be the end of the favorite.  Unlike practically every other social platform, there is a case to be made on Twitter for the favorite.  Is the heart just the beginning of something new or will Twitter end up just like everyone else?

Brave New World

February 8, 2010

by Roger Pynn

As we work to help a large, sophisticated client develop a comprehensive strategy to deploy social media tools, I’m doing a lot more reading … and, of course, turning to people I trust and have learned from, like Chris Brogan, Lee Odden and Eric Qualman who write artfully on social media evolution.

Our client lives and dies on the habits of a 50+ audience, they’re in a small, wealthy market where they are going to have to be a leader in social media. They’ve accepted that PEOPLE are using these tools, but are understandably wary of how and whether ORGANIZATIONS can use them.

In my search for evidence, I’ve learned a lot … which is at the heart of this brave new world. It changes by the second and every time I log on the wealth of data, reporting and opinion has grown exponentially.

One of the things I’m going to have to share with this client is what Brogan wrote about listening tools.

And Odden alerted his readers that the annual Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 Social Media Benchmarking Report is out and in his review reinforced exactly what we say to clients … that using social media without a strategy is like wandering in the woods:

“What MarketingSherpa introduces in this report is “ROAD” Map, which stands for Research, Objectives, Actions and Devices. The ROAD Map guide along with determining what phase a company is in with it’s social media maturity, helps determine next steps, planning and execution.”

By the way, if Sherpa’s $400+ tab is more than your budget allows, they’ve provided this complimentary executive summary you can download.

Socialnomics author Qualman says the endorsement power of our online connections could rival Google itself:

“You will see search and social media begin to merge with the end result being we will no longer search for products and services via a search engine, rather they will find us via social media. This is one of the true powers of social media! I care more what my friends and peers link than about what an algorithm or opaque rating system spits out.”

I actually find that scary, but I don’t disagree. My partner Dan Ward has written about the intriguing power of anonymity before, but Qualman’s point has to figure into your strategy.

Is an organization’s real goal in the use of social media to overpower fact and drive its audience instead to rely instead on the emotional connections the company has been able to establish?

Can we rely on institutions to build those relationships solely through data and fact? Or do we become much more susceptible to manipulation when we think they are our friend?

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