Five Steps to Evaluate Social Media for Your Business Without the Hype!
==== ====1 Wierd News They Dont You To Know...http://tweespi.com/socialmediaguide==== ====The Importance of Social Media for Public RelationsPR professionals today are using social media to either supplement or add to their existingstrategies, signaling an evolution in the role of PR over the last few years. Public relationsspecialists were among the first few to understand the power of social media, making themleaders in the social space. Along with handling website content, more and more PR pros areresponsible for their companys and clients social media presence. The gradual shift towards,what industry experts call the social media release, indicates how the traditional long form pressrelease is changing. According to David McCulloch, director of public relations at Cisco Systems,"The press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcastform, to any choice of device, whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources."eMarketer expects PR as well as ad agencies to witness an increase in their social media revenuein 2011. Findings from a joint study by the Transworld Advertising Agency Network and WorldcomPublic Relations Group show:• In 2010, 28% PR firms said that between 15-33% of their revenue came from social media.• This number has grown by 44% in 2011.• The study indicates that, when compared to ad agencies, the PR industry is more effectivein leveraging social media.The Road Ahead...Industry research firm IBIS World has predicted the factors that are likely to fuel the growth of PRfirms in the coming years and the expected rate of growth.• PR firms are expected to grow at an average annualized rate of 5.7% to $12.8 billion from2010-2015.• This spurt will be attributed to the increase in demand by companies who want PR firms tohandle daily interactions with consumers and the press on their social media sites such asFacebook and Twitter.• The recent shift from traditional media to more direct media (social media) will result in PRfirms specializing in or launching divisions devoted to blogs, social networking sites, mobile mediaand podcasts.• Over four-fifths of PR firms are anticipating an increase in digital and social media work inthe future.Whether it is consulting with clients from the agency point of view or working with an in-houseteam, PR agencies need to be social media ready. PositionÂ² lists a few guidelines that will help
your agency survive and stand out in the digital space:1. Making a PitchSocial media has given a whole new meaning to the concept of pitching. While the idea of e-mailing a press release to journalists, editors and bloggers is not completely obsolete, it is easy forthe readers to hit the delete button and forget about it. Incorporating social media in your PRstrategy will ensure your pitch is heard above the din. In order to effectively use social media inyour PR pitch plan, we recommend a few points that can be added to your to do list:o Avoid the Fancy Stuff:Too much information laced with fancy catch phrases like cutting-edge, mission-criticalapplications to improve business process, etc can put off readers. Keep in simple.o Getting your Tweets Right:If you are planning on using Twitter to make a pitch, keep in mind, you have 140 characters to getit right. According to Nicole VanScoten, a public relations specialist at Pyxl, getting your tweetsright leads to high response rates than e-mail.o Dont Spam them:Whether its journalists or bloggers, no one likes to receive random tweets or Facebook messages.It would be a good idea to learn about the journalist or blogger before reaching out to them. Readtheir Twitter profile or personal blog to find out if these are the contacts that need to be targetedand then make your pitch.o Build a Relationship:Once you have figured out your contacts list, the next step is easy. Building a relationship with ajournalist or editor involves getting on their radar. What you can do is a) check out their Facebookpage and comment on the posts you like b) retweet their messages and c) comment on a blogpost. This will ensure your presence on their radar, even before you decide to make a pitch.Heres an example of a good pitch made by a PR professional to a marketing blogger:For PR pros, using social media to make a pitch saves time as well as money, besides yieldingmuch higher response rates.2. Delivering Value to ClientsThe last 2-3 years have seen PR agencies don an entirely new role in organizations. A large partof a PR specialists job involves educating clients on the benefits of social media. Handling acompanys or a clients account these days includes everything from building brand loyalty topromoting and monitoring content on various social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).In order to be a successful, we believe a PR firm should deliver value to its clients. Here are a fewsimple suggestions:o Creating Content:
PR companies are expected to be experts when it comes to writing. Therefore clients expect youragency to figure out how to turn a boring announcement into interesting content. This could eitherbe a campaign or a company blog. Churning out good content will not only get the required mediacoverage, but will also help generate leads.o Identifying the Influencers:Identifying and developing relationships with the influencers in the PR domain is an addedadvantage. Instead of simply looking for bloggers and journalists who are magically expected tocreate buzz and drive sales, it will be wiser to:o Determine who the real influencers in a noisy market place are. This can be done by connectingwith reporters, bloggers and journalists who cover the topics that are closer to the market yourclient is interested in.o Keep in mind, the size of ones audience does not always translate into influencer popularity.o Engaging and Monitoring Conversations:Social media monitoring and engagement is vital for any PR agency that wants to deliver value toits clients. Brands understand that they not only need a social presence, but are also keen to workwith PR agencies to know what is being said about them in the market. By using social mediamonitoring tools such as Brand Monitor, you can:o Measure your influencer scores: Social media monitoring tools make it easy to identifyjournalists and bloggers with high influencer scores.o Handle Crisis Situations: By keeping a watch on blog conversations, twitter messages andFacebook posts, your agency can help identify signs of trouble. Following this, you could eitherdiffuse the situation yourself, or alert your client asking them to respond as necessary.o Measure the consumer sentiment for clients brand (s) and products (s) and quantify impact.o Measure the connection between press releases and news coverage with social media activity.o Assess the effectiveness of your communication strategies.o Provide you clients with domain expertise based on the data obtained.o Measure detailed metrics such as popularity, share-of-voice etc.When videos of rats running around at a Taco Bell outlet in NYC were posted on YouTube, ownerYum Brands saw its stock sink to an all time low, with customers doubting Taco Bells hygienestandards. Within hours, duplicates and versions started multiplying. Customers looking forreassuring information from the brand had a hard time finding it. Although Yum Brands PR teamwas not entirely ignorant (the CEO posted an apology on YouTube), monitoring the situation betterand engaging with customers in real-time could have averted the PR crisis.With the public relations industry evolving rapidly, the need to monitor social media channels has
never been more important. According to Daryl Willcox, founder of PR industry information firmDaryl Willcox Publishing, listening is a critical part of social media strategy - a proactive process asmuch as a reactive one. A survey by his company indicates that almost 60% of PR agencies anddepartments that monitor social media channels spend less than two hours a week doing so.These statistics indicate the growing need for PR companies to monitor social media.3. Sorting Out your Social Media ToolkitWith so many social media platforms to choose from, how would you know whats best for you? Asprofessionals in PR domain, its not always about putting a PR pitch on Twitter or Facebook; thesocial media platforms with the most value must be used to connect with a clients target audienceand should function as a meaningful place for brands to connect with journalists, bloggers andconsumers. We believe that each social media tool has its own benefits, depending on what youragency wishes to achieve.o Facebook & LinkedIn:While Facebook and LinkedIn are almost perfect for establishing and maintaining relationshipswith media, these tools are slightly more personal than Twitter. It would be wise not to startsending friend requests to every reporter possible. After using Twitter to initiate a friendship with ajournalist or a reporter, you can then follow this up by connecting with them on Facebook orLinkedIn.If you are looking to increase engagement or reinforce your brands reputation for value, thenFacebook is the place to be. For instance, when the Healthy Choice brand aimed to grow its fanbase and increase engagement, the company decided to target its huge Facebook fan base andlaunched a progressive coupon on the Healthy Choice Facebook Page. This was supportedthrough a variety of PR tactics. Efforts by the brands PR team resulted in the Healthy ChoicesFacebook page growing from 6,800 to nearly 60,000 fans. The PR team also distributed over50,000 buy-one-get-one-free coupons.o Twitter:Twitter is a great tool:o If finding influencers in on your agenda: What you can do is look for influential blogs in yourindustry, subscribe to them and start following the authors on Twitter.o For connecting with other independent PR professionals: This will help establish valuablerelationships with other PR agencies and professionals. By using Twitter, you can connect with therapidly growing independent PR community to exchange advice, references, and suggestions ingeneral.o For Increasing Tweetability: Writing a headline with tweetability in mind can influence thenumber of tweets or retweets your press release registers. This will help get your agencies orclients name noticed in the social web. While writing a tweetable press headline you must: a)keep it short enough to include a Twitter handle and link b) ensure that the company or productname is in the beginning so that it does not get cut off c) add relevant keywords to make itsearchable d) and keep it attention-grabbing enough to generate retweets.
o Blogs:Blogs can be useful for sharing multimedia content and news that does not always require a pressrelease, but is important enough to pique the interest of the media. Blogs are beneficial:o If you have a small budget, but want to influence your customers and increase readership.o For creating a sense of community with your present and future potential clients and customers.o For providing valuable content to your clients or their customers instead of simply advertising tothem.o For publishing successful case studies; this will also help build your brand.o For designing campaigns for your clients.When the BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire decided to use social media to standout in the digital space, the hotel partnered with agency bobdonpaul. The agencys PR strategyinvolved selecting one resorter from several entries and allowing him to blog and post videos (inaddition to other social media activities) about his experiences. The campaign was a success andsaw 20% increase in hotel bookings in a month.4. Measuring ROIHow can you tell if your public relations efforts in social media are working? To determine thesuccess of your PR strategy or programs, we suggest measuring the return on investment (moreappropriate in case of PR- return on efforts). The benefits of measuring ROI include:o Knowing if your efforts are generating the desired results.o Helping you decide if your current strategy needs to be reworked.o Bringing about positive changes in popularity and online traffic.o Helping your client make informed buying decisions.How to calculate your social media ROI?o Assess you reach: Evaluating how many Facebook fans or Twitter followers you have. Howmany likes has your Facebook page registered.o Tracking how many likes on your clients Facebook page are actually converted to sales.o Comparing Results Before and After Launching Social media initiatives: Has your newlylaunched Facebook page or your new twitter account make any difference to your brandsreputation online?o Listen, Measure and Engage: Social media monitoring tools like Brand Monitor offer you aplatform to listen, measure and engage with customers across the social web.ConclusionWhat gives the modern PR firm the edge over its yesterdays counterparts is the fact that todays
public relations professionals are more open to syncing social media with their existing strategies.Whether its in-house assignments or working for external clients, PR agencies understand thatsurviving in the digital space is centered on getting their social media strategy right. While masssocial media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will continue to be important to acertain extent, niche, industry-specific networks are expected to be of greater value in the future.In the next five years, the most important tools in PR will be monitoring and measurement tools.PR specialists, as well as their clients, will be more concerned with what happens after a messageis out there. We expect PR companies to not only dedicate a budget for their social media effortsin the future, but also hire social media specialists to handle their clients social media activities.The social media world is dynamic; however, the job of the PR person remains the same:generate positive coverage across media to help build brands. It will be interesting to see how PRpros in the years ahead will leverage the power of social media to do what they always have beendoing; communicating and connecting.Position2 is a Search and Social Media Marketing firm that delivers continuous growth for ourclients using our proprietary "Surround and Intent" Marketing Methodology, delivered by ourproducts. Our proprietary methodology is a result of years of experience in working with diverseclients to deliver customer acquisition goals through search engine optimization (SEO), socialmedia marketing (SMM), and Pay Per Click (PPC) and online media advertising.Position2 was founded in 2006 with funding from Accel Venture Partners, and has offices in PaloAlto, Bangalore and Mumbai. Position2 is a certified agency with Google, Yahoo, Bing and is alsopart of the Google Adwords advisory council.http://brandmonitor.position2.comArticle Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Maanasi_Rao