• what it is
• how to use it
• how not to use it
• how social media can help & harm
• how to monitor it
• how to use it in your life
“If you’re not online, you don’t exist”
--British Futurist Peter Cochrane
• In the past, publicizing your message was limited to
those with the financial resources to access mass
media. The emergence of low-cost and highly
accessible communication tools, however, has
changed all of this. Now, anyone with an internet
connection has the ability to share their message with
a worldwide audience.
• PR professionals must be conversant in all elements of
communication. And in the 21st
communications element is more important than the
Internet spans every area of PR:
external communications: reach public w/o
filters using blog, Facebook page, website
internal communications: email is easy, popular
media relations: journalists read websites, blogs,
use HARO, preferred to be pitched via email. All
media outlets have websites and use them to
break stories. That’s created a 24-7 news cycle
crisis communication: have to monitor web to
see what people are saying about you. Lots of
criticism on blogs. Some of it may not even be
true. Losing your credibility is only a Google
search away. Can respond online.
PR professionals have many different tools they
can utilize on the Internet:
• Research: Google, LexisNexis
• Social Network sites
• The website is first face of organization. Many
customers and clients will never see your
office. Increasingly, many companies are going
all virtual. All people know about you is what
they see on your website. Remember what
they say about first impressions.
Website should be top priority
• The good thing about having a website and
electronic communications is that you control
the info that’s out there about you. You can
reach customers directly. You can disseminate
it to the masses without any sort of filter. You
don’t have to go through a gatekeeper like the
Not easy as 1, 2, 3
• But, the thing is, everyone is online these
days. Everyone has a website, blog, Facebook
page, etc. So, if you want people to come to
your website or blog, you need to stand out.
Just putting up a website isn’t enough. There
are millions of websites and Facebook pages
just sitting there waiting for visitors.
What makes a website good?
• Think about the sites that are successful. The
sites you visit regularly. You keep going back
because they have info you’re interested in
and it’s updated regularly. If it’s not regularly
updated, people don’t have a reason to keep
coming back. Eventually, they may forget
about you and move on to a competitor’s
Get website visitors involved
• Good websites also tend to be interactive.
They don’t just present info. They allow you to
send feedback, e-mail people, order products,
stuff like that. Remember, PR is a 2-way
Have a professional design
• Good websites are easy and intuitive to
navigate. Finding the page you want shouldn’t
be like moving through a maze.
• They aren’t too cluttered. They have the bells
and whistles people like, such as video and
APIs, but they don’t overdo it.
• They are informative without being
extraneous. Remember KISS – keep it simple,
silly. No one likes reading a lot of text online.
• SEO or search engine optimization involves,
among other things, using the right keywords so
that visitors will be able to find your website
through an Internet search.
• Unless you’re a brand name organization, such as
Harvard, American Red Cross, Kmart, etc., most
web traffic won’t be direct. Rather, people will
stumble upon your website through a Google
search, such as “Garden City salon” or “Long
Island hardware stores”.
Have a media relations page
• Create an online newsroom, with press
releases, news clippings, events schedule,
annual reports, FAQs, press contacts, a search
• Too many organizations overlook this, making
the reporter’s job more difficult. Remember
what I said about making the reporter’s job
Bad website examples
Good website examples
Worth the investment
• Creating a good website takes time, money,
innovation and constant improvement. But it’s
worth it. It gets you more of an audience,
more exposure and ultimately more business.
In the long run, it can save you time and
money. Most people go to the web now to get
their initial info. If your website answers their
questions, they wont have to call you up and
tie up an employee’s time.
But takes times
• The good thing about the PR and the Internet,
is anyone can do it. Anyone can build a
website or write a blog. But making a good
one, one that attracts lots of people, is not
easy. It’s not something you can do overnight.
What is social media?
• The term “social media” represents media
that users can easily participate in and
contribute to. Forms of social media include
blogs, forums, virtual worlds, wikis and social
The key to success: create value
• Social media should provide value, not be a
shameless advertisement. For example, look at
the blogs at:
These two companies share their expertise to
help build their brand. If you establish yourself as
an expert or “thought leader” in your field by
having a good blog, people will take notice and
want to work with you.
• Similarly, Ford Models, for instance, became a
YouTube sensation through a series of videos
that featured its models giving beauty and
(4 million-plus views on YouTube)
• Boost your credibility by helping others. For
service providers, establishing yourself as an
expert in the field can bring in a steady stream of
business. LinkedIn's Answers feature enables
business owners to do just that.
• Heidi Cool, a Web design consultant in Cleveland,
browses LinkedIn Answers for inquiries related to
her industry and spends one to two hours per
week answering them. In one month, she
generated 29 leads for her services directly from
If you must sell, offer something
extra thru social media
• For example, include a discount code on your
Facebook page that allows customers to get 10
• Sprinkles Cupcakes, a bakery chain based in
Beverly Hills, Calif., uses Twitter to send out daily
promotional offers. The tweets, which ask
customers to whisper a "password" to receive a
free treat, have helped the company draw more
than 110,000 followers.
• Offer a sneak peek of new products. It can help
build buzz and demand and provide critical
feedback to help smooth the launch. Or
demonstrate what your product can do.
• To show just how powerful his company's
blenders were, Blendtec's head of marketing,
George Wright, created a series of videos
showing the appliances churning up such diverse
items as a rotisserie chicken, a Rubik's Cube, and
an iPhone. The series' 100 million combined
views helped boost Blendtec's sales by 700
It all goes back to creating value
• Target created a Facebook page about dorm
room survival. They had practical tips, they had
photos, they let users upload their own photos.
• They made the marketing very subtle and were
rewarded by posts from people saying how much
they love Target.
• Contests and promotions help – look at how
many people register for Ben & Jerry’s free ice
cream cone day on Facebook.
But don’t overdo it
• While social network users have proven to be
open to marketing—especially if it involves a
discount—they're not flocking to Facebook or
Twitter to hear sales pitches. If your profile or
blog reads like an ad, it will turn visitors away
Interact with visitors
• Just putting up a blog or a Facebook fan page
won't do much good if visitors sense the flow
of conversation only goes one way. In fact,
Matt Mullenweg, founder of blogging
platform Wordpress, lists not participating in
comments as a surefire way to kill a
community. Mullenweg and his team field the
many suggestions users have for Wordpress
through his blog.
Create a forum
• Including a customer forum on your website
or social network profile can help enhance
your customer service while building a sense
of community. This enables you to respond to
customers concerns (and show you care). It
can also save time. Once you answer a
question, you don’t have to answer it again.
Also, other customers can help each other
• At PoolCenter.com, a swimming pool
equipment retailer based in Arlington, Va.,
customers often field each other's inquiries on
swimming pool equipment before they reach
customer service reps. Get Satisfaction and
Fixya are two sites that offer dedicated spaces
for customer service forums.
Using social media to
find new customers
• Frequently on the go? Twitter can help your
customers keep track of your latest
destination. Kogi Korean BBQ, which operates
a food cart in Los Angeles, keeps its Twitter
followers constantly informed of its location
on the street. The real-time updates help Kogi
keep up demand, as customers line up in
advance at the broadcasted locations.
Use social media to find new clients
• A quick keyword search can help you find
prospective customers who may not be aware of
your company but could nonetheless benefit
from your product or service.
• Bob Scaglion, a senior managing director at New
York real-estate management company Rose
Associates, generates 100 leads per month on
Twitter for his company simply by replying to
users whose tweets include phrases such as
"moving to New York City" and "no-fee rentals."
Use social media to target customers
• Many sites, such as Facebook, allow
businesses to run ads that attract specific
groups of users based on what information
they include in their profiles. By running
Facebook ads targeted at students at specific
colleges, StorQuest Self Storage, which has
locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, and
Hawaii, increased its number of rentals by
more than half.
Go to where your audience is
• Don’t assume Facebook is the be all, end all of
• Increasingly, millennials are opting to use
Instagram and Twitter over Facebook.
• Depending on which group(s) of people you’re
trying to reach, certain niche discussion
boards and online communities may work
better than popular, mainstream social media
Down side of social media
• No organization or person is immune from an
• Google “Rick Santorum” and “Wal-Mart” and see
what comes up.
• Look at the mini case study on pg. 185 of the
• As you can see, the Internet can be used to harm
and destroy reputations. Blogs, discussion
forums, parody websites, even Facebook pages
can all be used to launch attacks.
See what people are saying about you
• A quick search for mentions of your company on
Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp can yield a goldmine of
information concerning your reputation. Several users
on Yelp, for instance, suggested that employees at
Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago were less than
welcoming. After reading the comments, the owner
focused on improving customer service. Applications
such as monitter and Trackur can help you keep track
of the conversation across the Web. Additionally,
Google alerts are a free and easy way to monitor
what’s being said about you online.
What people say about
you online matters!
• 62% of people trust the recommendation of a
complete stranger on the web over traditional
commercial advertising ~Forrester Research
• According to a global survey of 26,486
Internet users in 47 markets, consumer
recommendations are the most credible form
of advertising among 78% of the studies
respondents. ~AC Nielson 2008
Makes amends with
• Andy Carlson, owner of an Ace Hardware
store in Denver, once came across an angry
Twitter update from a customer who had
bought a tool that broke after one use. He
resolved the issue in a matter of minutes by
referring the customer to an area store and
notified him of Ace's lifetime guarantee. Best
of all, he was able to catch the complaint after
store hours—and prevent negative word of
Don’t get defensive
• A harsh rebuke of your business on sites like
Yelp can not only bruise your ego but also hurt
your livelihood. But resist the temptation to
lash out in public. Apologize and promise to
look into it and makes changes.
Online reputation management
for college students
Advice for you
• Most employers admit to checking out job applicants online. Many
graduate schools also admit to doing it.
• Have an online presence – people think it’s weird if you don’t
• Create a personal website: put a photo & bio, work samples,
resume and contact info. Create a free website using Weebly.com –
it’s so easy to use! Register your domain via godaddy.com
• Facebook: Privacy settings aren’t enough. Golden rule: don’t post
anything you wouldn’t want your parents or boss to see.
• Regularly do Internet searches of your name
• Set up a Google alert
• Join LinkedIn – remember, it’s a professional networking site, so
keep it strictly professional
• Pay parking tickets, keep a good credit score – employers can also
look at this stuff and may reject you if they don’t like what they
find. If you want to be a lawyer, you may not pass the Character &
Fitness check, if you have outstanding parking tickets.
• After you get your job, don’t let your guard
• Your organization can legally monitor all of
your Internet activity at work. They can also
read any email you send or receive using your
organization’s email address.
• You can get fired for what you do online
outside of work
• The Internet is only going to continue to grow
in size, scope, reach and influence. It’s
important that you be able to blend the
traditional communication skills of writing and
speaking with online skills. Just having a
Facebook page and knowing how to send e-
mail isn’t enough. Consider taking a web
design course, new media, or web journalism.
It will make you much more marketable.