Conestoga College Public Relations Program Presentation Notes
Presentation for: Conestoga College Public Relations ProgramTitle: Social Media for Fun, Profit, and PostRankPresented By: Melanie Baker, Community Manager and Jason Santo, MarketingManagerDate: April 11th, 2011Intro to PostRank and What We DoPostRank has been in business for about four years. We started as aninformation management service to help filter content from RSS feeds andreduce “information overload”.Since the beginning we’ve been collecting vast amounts of social engagementdata – millions of URLs from blogs and other websites – and all the engagementactivities online audiences perform with them, like bookmarking, tweeting, liking,commenting, etc.This data forms the backbone of all of our services. Our original free service stillexists at postrank.com – you can plug in a URL for a site such as your blog, andsee all the engagement for recent content. Basically: who’s reading my stuff,what are they doing with it, and on what social networks?PostRank Data and ServicesOur main services now are Analytics, Connect, and Data Services.Analytics is a service for individual publishers to monitor and measure how theircontent is performing with their audiences, to find out what sites their audiencesare active on, to develop relationships with those people, and to learn what typesand topics of content resonate, which enables publishers improve their content’sperformance and grow their influence. (This influence makes them very attractiveto brands and agencies, but only if it can be demonstrated and measured.)Connect is a service that enables brands and agencies to develop relationshipswith online publishers and work with them on campaigns, contests, and otherinitiatives. Currently the blogger side of Connect is live, and people who signup provide some demographic info, information about the sites they own and/or write for, social profiles, and their pitch policy interests. They also get a freeAnalytics account when they sign up.The brands side of Connect will go live in a few weeks, and it will enable brandsand agencies to query the system to find publishers who fit specific criteria, likeage, location, blog topics, etc. and get a list of people they can approach to workwith on campaigns, contests, consulting, etc.
Data Services and Reporting are the services most closely based on ourraw data, and enable us to do a lot of research and analysis on just about anyindustry or content. We can slice and dice the data by URL or keyword, and inaddition to finding all the social engagement data, can also apply geographicfilters, sentiment analysis, and other relevant metrics.Recently we’ve been publishing daily results of how the Canadian federalelection campaigns are going for the political parties on the social web, sincethis election is already more social than any before it. We also do research foragencies and many industries, including automotive, online travel, credit cardcompanies, newspapers, and a host of others. Companies use these reportsboth for improving their own marketing, and for competitive analysis purposes.How PostRank Helps BusinessesCompanies expend a lot of resources to create “destinations” – websites for theirportfolio companies, products, campaigns, etc., to which they want to drive webtraffic.Except that what happens 80% of the time is that links we see, content we share,etc., isn’t on the originating sites. We take it and share it, organize it, save it, etc.on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Delicious.So for all the time, money, and resources companies spend on building greatwebsites, only 20% of our online interactions as audiences and consumers takeplace there.Even more “urgently”, when a new news story, article, blog post, etc. ispublished, half (50%) of all of the attention and engagement activities (so thosetweets, likes, comments, etc.) that that story will get happen within the firsthour after it’s published. Internet time moves FAST, so publishers, companies,agencies, etc. don’t have the luxury of 24 hours or more to respond to questions,complaints, or feedback.Even for individual bloggers, timely responses are one of the best ways to beginbuilding relationships with your audience. And even those who are complainingare surprisingly easily mollified if they just know you’re listening to them and willhelp if you can.Companies, of course, want to know what people are saying about them andtheir products, but the Internet is a really big place, and the social web is a reallybig part of that. Sure there are a lot of tools out there, but it has traditionally beena very manual, resource-intensive process to find conversations, analyze thecontent, and determine how (or if) to respond.
Many agencies and companies have not been effective at blogger relations,either trying a “bulk” approach that treats everyone generically and the same, ornot doing their homework and often insulting bloggers by getting their names orinformation about them wrong. (E.g. contacting a woman who recently bloggedabout dealing with miscarriage and asking her to join a campaign for diapers…)PostRank Analytics, as one example, aggregates all the social engagementevents that content is getting in real-time, so you know exactly who is sayingwhat, where, and when, and can make fast, smart decisions accordingly.Our Data Services APIs enable even deeper analysis into online audiencesand consumers. Companies can specify search for specific topics (i.e. keywordsearch), including their own lines of business or those of competitors. They cansee the reach of specific content (i.e. URL search), as well as what social hubspeople are engaging on, what geographical regions the engagement is takingplace in, what the sentiment of the activities is, and more.Overview of Five Popular Social NetworksPostRank tracks over two dozen engagement sources. The ones shown(Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, and Reddit) are some of the post popular,particularly for North Americans. For most of our sources we gather newactivities on those sites as they’re happening.Facebook:Founded: 2004Population: >500 million (3rd largest country in the world by “population”)Average User Age: 38Largest Demographic Age Group: 18-34 (42%)Gender Distribution: 57% women, 43% menTwitter:Founded: 2006Population: ~150 millionAverage User Age: 38Largest Demographic Age Group: 18-34 (45%)Gender Distribution: 53% women, 47% menDelicious:Founded: 2003Population: ~5.4 millionAverage User Age: 41Largest Demographic Age Group: 35-49 (42%)Gender Distribution: 52% women, 48% men
Digg:Founded: 2004Population ~12 millionAverage User Age: 36Largest Demographic Age Group: 18-34 (39%)Gender Distribution: 36% women, 64% menReddit:Founded: ~2004 (unconfirmed)Population: ~5.2 millionAverage User Age: 37Largest Demographic Age Group: 18-34Gender Distribution: 24% women, 76% menPR/Marketing and Social NetworksMost obviously, there are a LOT of people online. Canada leads the world in timespent online, and about 80% of us are included in that. If you want to get ourattention, the Internet is the place to do it.People in younger age groups especially don’t trust (or often even use) traditionalsources of information and authority – news, brands, etc. Their friends and thosethey look up to are much more influential, they get their info from “new” media,and all these people interact and spread branding online.The Internet, especially the social web, is designed for spreading informationquickly and easily. If you can create something great that people want to share,they can send it to hundreds of people with the click of a button. Try that withdirect mail.Tools are getting more sophisticated, so it’s easier to quickly find out howyour marketing efforts are performing and tweak them to improve. What arepeople saying and how do they feel? If people love the messages, you’ll see thespikes. If people hate them, you’ll see the dips – and you’ll be able to respondimmediately to try and solve things before they snowball.The Internet is really flexible, so companies have a lot of creative options in howthey want to get attention. Text, photos, and video are just the beginning, andonline and offline marketing can be combined to create immersive experiences,incorporate game mechanics, involve the consumer in content creation as well asdistribution, and other attention-grabbing functions.Campaigns that worked: Old Spice, It Gets Better Project, Ford,Volkswagen’s “fun theory”, Best Job in the World.
Reputation Management consists of listening to conversations online tounderstand brand perceptions. Companies can identify opportunities to intervenein conversations (often negative or incorrect) and re-orientate perceptions.Typicslly this is done using social media monitoring technology, both keyword-and URL-based.Integrating “Old School” and “New School”MarketingPeople do combine online and offline media consumption. One report fromLiveHive Systems notes 59% of survey respondents saying they are online whilewatching TV. That number may skew high given their audience, but it’s true thatmore and more people are combining their media consumption.And there’s the basic fact that more and more of us are consumingour “traditional” media via non-traditional means. Ditching cable and downloadingtv shows and movies and flipping through newspapers and magazines via iPadapps are just two examples.People will look up products, services, companies, destinations, etc. that theysee on TV and in magazines online. People will do online comparison shoppingand then go buy the products in a store.Augmented reality is supposed to be one of the next big things, combining real-world locations and businesses with digital data accessible by mobile devices.QR codes enable people to do a quick scan with a smartphone and then accessa wealth of online content about a site, event, person, or other topic of interest.Location-based services and group-buying services continue to grow, so you cancheck in on Foursquare on your phone, then get 15% off your dinner because ofit. Or sign up for a discount on car detailing from an offer that got emailed to you,then drop your car off at a real shop to get a wash.The Mont Blanc direct mail “spam” re. Nigerian email scam is a clever exampleof using technology in an unexpected way (or in reverse) to surprise and delightpeople (which you really need to work hard at when your product is very non-digital).It also works in reverse, where we’ll see a great deal somewhere on food orclothes or what have you, and then post it on Facebook or email or tweet it to ourfriends and followers to let them know.
Social Marketing ROIStart by seeing how much engagement an effort received, whether it’s a blogpost or contest or online deal. Look at how many people accessed it versusactually signed up. Or how many people got an email versus opened it andclicked links.See how many people friend or follow or like your company, and over time howmany of them remain engaged – still following you, or commenting on yourFacebook wall, etc.Compare the response rates and average sale amounts of a socially-drivencampaign versus a prior “real-world-only” one marketed to a similar audience.Facebook offers Insights, its own integrated analytics services for pages.With this tool you can see page likes, average views, active users, userdemographics, user activity, counts of specific interactions ( e.g. discusson boardposts and media consumption).Other keyword-based monitoring services: Radian6, SysomosWeb Analytics: Google Analytics is free and very powerfulURL Shorteners: Bit.ly offers a lot of data when you use their shortened links foryour content.