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Social Media & PR: View from the Bridge
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Social Media & PR: View from the Bridge



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  • Increasing commercialisation of social media – driving SM comms/marketing into domian of paid media industriesRise of social business – impact of convergence and disintermediation affecting all business areas. Internal (and external) landgrab for ownershipData-driven communications – Significant growth in available data and thuscomplexity of understanding and planning effective consumer and organisational engagement
  • What is social business
  • Who owns comms internally? There’s the perennial landgrabs but also driven by external factors, such as consumer engagement – fine line between customer service conversations in social media and reputational issues. Getting it right needs proactive awareness and strategic action!But also beware external landgrabs…… PR agencies pushing this (e.g. Edelman) but alsot he boutique/niche/specialist agencies (e.g. 1000Heads; WAS; etc) and also Mgt Consultancies (McKinsey; PA; etc)
  • Complexity of consumer and organisational landscape now becoming truly visible and adopted by consumersOpportunity to deliver real, insight led campaignsPersonal exerience is – not always the case – and often assumptive or aggregated or macro-level or media insightsChallenge is to respond appropriately at the organisational and strategic levels


  • 1. Social Media & PR A view from the bridge simon collisterLondon College of Communication, University of the Arts London
  • 2. PR industry “missing the boat”“Within minutes of PRWeeksinterview starting, Grant islambasting the PR industry formissing the boat on digital,allowing advertising and mediaagencies to steal a march.” - Robin Grant, Global Managing Director, We Are Social - PR Week, 24th May 2012
  • 3. Current challenges [in a nutshell]1. Increasing commercialisation of social media2. Rise of the ‘social business’ or ‘social organisation’3. Data-driven communications
  • 4. What’s happening to Facebook?1. Post-IPO social interaction within Facebook is becoming increasingly commercialised2. Shift from ‘organic’ to paid communication pushes Facebook more into the domains of media and ad agencies3. Similar happening with other platforms, e.g. Twitter
  • 5. Commercialisation• Facebook: – Newsfeed not ‘open’ communications channel – Determined by Facebook’s ‘EdgeRank’ – Visibility determined by Affinity, Freshness & Weight of ‘edges’, e.g. links, photos, videos, etc
  • 6. The word from within Facebook• ‘While news feed posts are fine for everyday engagement, businesses should consider using ‘Sponsored Stories’ [i.e. advertising] to ensure business critical information reaches users’ – Advice from Facebook employee
  • 7. The Rise of Social Business
  • 8. Social business strategy absorbs all
  • 9. Who owns social communications?
  • 10. Big Data?• Commonly applied to the vast quantities of data being generated by contemporary socio- technological systems whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time – Bollier 2009; boyd and Crawford 2011
  • 11. What is Big Data?• Search engine marketing performance• Digital ad acquisition metrics• Website analytics• Email communication performance• Online surveys• Social media conversations• Media content
  • 12. Tracking big data • Database of 20 billion social media conversations • 8 million new posts archived every hour • Social media and news sources gatheredSOURCE: Sysomos MAP
  • 13. Impact on PR?• “Metrics driven communication, advocacy and outreach efforts are now becoming the expectation.” – Big Data comes to the Communications Industry• [Political] campaign planning now “involves the computer-automated analysis of blog postings, Congressional speeches and press releases, and news articles, looking for insights into how political ideas spread” – The Age of Big Data
  • 14. Future for PR…?• Much more complex landscape blurring boundaries between traditional industry sectors and organisational models• Strong opportunity to adapt, presuming PR can fulfill its role as a strategic business function• However, need to consider: – Big rethink in terms of skills of PR practitioners – Big rethink in terms of organisational structure and roles – Greater leadership from industry bodies
  • 15. Questions? www.simoncollister.comsimon.collister@gmail.com @simoncollister
  • 16. References• Bollier, D. (2009) The Promise and Peril of Big Data. Extreme Inference: Implications of Data Intensive Advanced Correlation Techniques. The Eighteenth Annual Aspen Institute Roundtable on Information Technology, Aspen, Colarado, The Aspen Institute.• boyd, d. and K. Crawford (2011) Six Provocations for Big Data. A Decade in Internet Time: Symposium on the Dynamics of the Internet and Society. Oxford.• Lohr, S. (2012). The Age of Big Data. New York Times, 12 February. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in- the-world.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all• Luker, S. (2012) Robin Grant: Man on a Digital Mission. PRWeek, 24 May. Available: http://www.prweek.com/uk/features/1133323/robin-grant-man- digital-mission/• Olsen, C. (2012) Big Data Comes to the Communications Industry. Huffington Post, 13 March. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian- olsen/big-data-comes-to-the-com_b_1343310.html