Tag Archives: Social media

Are you Lissted?

Journalists have adopted Twitter wholeheartedly, so wouldn’t it be useful to have them all in one place, accessible to PR professionals and businesses alike?

Lissted is an attempt to fill that need.

It is an easy to use tool that allows users to select on location (UK, USA as well as worldwide), sectors (which can be broken down in a number of subsets), by individual or outlet.  You can even see someone’s Klout score if you really want.

For those wanting to invest (between £99 -£ 149 a month) there are additional features such as tools to monitor key terms, sentiment and influencers – reputation management rather than media relations (no value judgement intended).

While it is quick amass a wealth of Twitter addresses that you can follow, is it really useful?

I like it and it is a short cut to acquiring journalist’s Twitter addresses although PR databases generally offer this information.  Nevertheless it is probably an easier to use method although some will prefer doing it while building lists and campaigns on their current systems.

However if a business believes this will give it access to millions of pounds worth of editorial coverage it could be disappointed.

Why Lissted is not a complete solution (at a basic level) for gaining coverage for businesses:

  • Journalists often do not talk shop online – I rarely see them asking for specific stories, people, companies etc.  It is often used as a personal social media tool.
  • Journalists have to follow you or your brand to find stories, they often don’t follow back, unless they have time to search.
  • If journalists do follow back can you provide good copy, do you know a good story?
  • Do businesses have the time to monitor and analyse in addition to their roles?

Listted is a very useful addition for those looking to expand their Twitter horizons in regard to journalists.  However e-mail and databases are still are the language for media relations communication although there will be stories of success using this approach.

It might be that the reputation management is the selling point (as the access to Twitter addresses is free).

Lissted is a useful addition and I have used it to follow several PR and marketing journalists all within 10 minutes of signing on.

Social media salaries – is the only way down?

socialmedia salaries
Social media salaries will suffer from too many people being able to offer them as there is no barrier to entry, won’t they?

Social media salaries can be attractive to say the least.  But is this a transitory stage of the social media profession, one where things might not remain so upbeat for those making a career in this brave new world?  I think it might be.

Social media is at a stage where there is a notable skills gap but also a desire or pressure on companies to “join the conversation.”  Add a lack of resource, time and staff that understand social media and you have a recipe for over inflated wages surely?

Outsource to an agency to run everything and bills can mount up quickly.

But can this state of affairs exist for long, probably not.

The reasons for this seem fairly evident:

  • Social media is becoming more familiar to non-marketing professionals and those that might be seen as keepers of the blog or Twitter page that already reside in the business.
  • More and more younger professionals, having grown up with social media, are available and are willing to work for quite low wages in many cases
  • The ROI has not been proved to many businesses and so they are unwilling to pay large sums

So perhaps the days of outsourcing community management projects are coming to an end for all but the big brands, and social media will become part of a PRs or marketer’s role in SMEs.

Indeed, at a recent CIM talk on social media benchmarking an attendee from a leisure company complained that he was being quoted the princely sum of £700 a month!

It does not seem an unreasonable sum to outsource social media all in.

What it shows is in this one instance the value of social media to a company, and a director level professional’s appraisal of its worth.

(That is not to say that a manager of blue chip accounts with the attendant pressure might not command attractive wages).

While agency social media roles look attractive at present, surely that will erode for many.  The question is will it be quick or slow?

Social media as a vehicle to amplify press release reach

This interesting infographic about sharing press releases by social media should make it clear why social media should be considered as a key delivery tool for many b2b and b2c businesses alike.

Traditional media generally through e-mail is still key to delivering content to journalists at newspaper, blogs, websites and through forums, and this should not be overlooked.

What will be noticeable is how the use of images, audio and video engage audiences on social media.

While the old line about damned lies and statistics can be trotted out here and there needs to be some qualification, such as the subject of the press release as against it being viewed, nevertheless more enriched content seems to be the right direction PR professionals should be going if using social media to deliver releases.

US PR report shows big use of Facebook in engaging with publics

When it comes to marketing, UK professionals often look to the US to see what new trends and practices being developed that will wash up on our online and offline shores.

So it is with some interest that I came upon University of Southern California’s Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center’s bi-annual PR report.

I do have a note of caution that there are notable differences in the scale (for instance US trade magazines generally having much larger readerships), approach and delivery as well as the business culture.  Something perhaps that is overlooked, as US culture seems so familiar to many in the UK.

However the results of the report still might have resonance for UK based PR professionals.

The GAP (Generally Accepted Practices Report) VII is quite a detailed document so I will look in this entry at digital marketing section and how it relates to PR and look to cover another aspect in a following post.

Firstly the report rates social networking sites and sharing online video as the most used digital tools by (corporate) PR professionals.  Online audio comes in lowest although it is simple to utilise mobile apps such as Audio Boo as an expedient way to place content (and higher quality should be easy to implement as well).

Facebook comes out top in the increase of use, substantially above Twitter and blogs, which are still growing in numbers, some 181million (for all uses) according to Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere.

Perhaps, not unsurprisingly virtual worlds are declining in popularity, and so are wikis. (It would be good to have further explanation, a weakness of the report).

Budgetary and strategic control (over 50% in both cases) of digital marketing, including SEO, is favouring the PR department rather than the marketing or customer service teams, the latter by a considerable margin.

66% of not for profit organisations – the highest recorded, compared to 36% public and 47% private companies – are frequent users of digital and social media tools and they favour Facebook and Twitter most.

So the most intriguing issue is Facebook emerging as the preferred mode of engaging audiences.  Why do many US PR companies and practitioners favour a medium that corporate B2B and public sector would often treat with caution for their PR delivery in the UK?

But without deeper analysis, interpretation and more qualitative information we are perhaps just seeing the surface and not what lies beneath.

What’s your Klout?

Klout

While we are busy racking up followers, friends or connections, getting a re-tweet or comment here or there, how much do we analyse the effectiveness of our social media output?

Probably for many it is based on just that: amassing a large number of followers, with some nods towards interaction.  How else can you do it?

One free tool available on the Internet is Klout.

Simple and easy to sign-up with and use, it assesses the power of an individuals or company’s social media through algorithms that give feedback on three key elements:

How many people you influence (True Reach)

How much you influence them (Amplification)

How influential they are (Network Score)

If we take Twitter (there are other social media that can be analysed such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook) I have a Klout score of 37.88 out of a possible 100, up from 34.65 a few days ago.

My true reach is 286 (rather than the nearly 800 followers I have) although I am not sure if the lists I am noted on are included, there are about 50 and range from one follower to several hundred.  It is an important point as I have more followers on lists than the almost 800 cited.

Network influence is 41 and and amplification stands at 14.

I am also influential about “lawyers, journalism and Manchester.”

I thought I saw “Alan Carr” the other day in that list, but  it must have been my imagination.

It is quite fluid system, scores can go up and down.  When I looked at “I Love Manchester’s” scores, as a test, it went up straight after the riots when many wanted to show support for the city – so first test passed.

With a claim of over 85 million Twitter accounts assessed, you are free to compare scores, quite impressive as the majority of accounts are not signed-up to Klout.

I will mention two more features.

The first is a grid, reminiscent of a marketing or business matrix.  This is an account’s “Klout style,” mine is between “casual and listening” and “focused and consistent.”  As with the other indicators comparisons with friends or rivals accounts can be made.

It adds: “You actively engage in the social web, constantly trying out new ways to interact and network. You’re exploring the ecosystem and making it work for you. Your level of activity and engagement shows that you “get it,” we predict you’ll be moving up.”

I am getting falshbacks to school reports.

The other is “Klout perks.”  If you are an influential social media operative you can try or be given gifts,  with the aim of promoting the brand – being influential on journalists and lawyers might not be helpful in this regard, but Manchester might be.

So for any PR that has to justify social media or simply for interested parties who want the gratification that their hours of tweeting are changing the world, it is a fun, easy and perhaps a useful tool.

Corporate marketing & social media – SAScon debate

The issue of who owns social media and how it is best applied is still being grappled with by larger enterprises.  So the SAScon debate on social media on this issues was particularly interesting.

The panel was:

Will McInnes of Nixon McInnes

Phil Jones of Brother UK

Neil Hardy of Co-Operative Travel

Ivan Croxford of BT

And Malcom Coles

I will start with a Phil Jones quote: “Social media is B2me.”

Will McInnes followed with “sustained conversation is expected with social media.”

Quite simple pronouncements, yet many big enterprises get it wrong, perhaps it is years of pushing through messages through mass media channels and not having to interact as much on a one to one basis in their marketing:  Sainsbury’s being one possible example of how difficult larger businesses fail to grasp this.

Maybe smaller concerns are more geared at establishing a one-to-one relationship.

On the question of who owns social media and how it should be applied, well, there was a multitude of answers.

I was surprised, not that I should have I suppose, that customer services was a strong candidate for ownership (as Ivan Croxford pointed out at BT customer services had embrassed social media).

My vested interests said PR.  It could be marketing as well.   But it really depends on the application.

Neil Hardy looks on Twitter as a helpline for instance.  The conclusion surely is that it it is a versatile instrument and will be used as best fits purpose?

Phil Jones again: “Social media should be integrated, should engage and lead to “marriage.”  I agree.

Malcolm Coles: “Social media helps engagement with customers that do not use current channels.”   In this alone is must be seen as essential.

What came out of the debate was a recognition – as you would expect – that social media has to be applied and that its exact role is still developing.

I will leave the last word to Malcolm Coles about the need to experiment to find out social media can be best applied: “Getting it wrong is not a disaster.”

Foursquare – and is it a ten? Tech journalist Martin Bryant gives his views on the location social media platform

Foursquare
Foursquare – is it a hit or miss? Martin Bryant gives his lowdown on Foursquare click onto the audio link below

Martin Bryant is the digital content editor of Marketing Manchester and the editor of tech and business blog The Next Web   I met up with Martin, at Social Media Cafe Manchester, and asked him what he thought of Foursquare and its potential, here is what he had to say:

Martin Bryant Foursquare interview click here

Is Facebook appropriate for business?

Could you imagine a lawyer or accountant using Facebook to engage with their publics?  No, unless they are catering to a rather young set, this would be the received wisdom.

Personally I have not historically been a fan of Facebook.  It is a bit, well, it’s for kids isn’t it and other people with hands on their time?  I never really took to the platform and I never bothered.

Of course for B2C products and services it is rather more promising.  Unfortunately my work is nearly all B2B – PR for men and not boys – actually happy to receive inquiries from B2C businesses.

So does Facebook have a role for those that do not run B2C campaigns?

I think it can.  I have been using it more recently and although I prefer Twitter and LinkedIn to help my clients craft their communications, Facebook can have a role, for me at least.

Your clients are your sales team, if you do your work well.

But your friends can also take up that role, if only occasionally.  With a Twitter app pulling through content it is possible to give your friends more of an idea about what you do.  They might have a vague idea, but if they become more familiar with your enterprise, well.

The other thing is that Facebook builds up relationships, which is what social media is all about.

Some friends on Facebook will not know you as well as an old school friend, so there is the opportunity to talk and get to know each other.  Sometimes small talk and fun is the best way for friendship, for work.

Now I know what you are thinking: it is all a bit mercenary.

I wrote a little time ago that the boundaries between work and the personal life are disintegrating.  I am not happy about it.  Yet where does your personal life stop and your business life begin?  Mmmmm

So where before I refused requests from business contacts into my Facebook arena, now I am minded to accept.

There is the ever present danger of not looking professional or exhibiting an opinion that is not for professional consumption although my Facebook pages are not really controversial.

The thing about social media is that it is like water: you can contain it for some time, but if it wants to break a barrier, social media will and can.

Don’t get me wrong I will continue to use Facebook for friends and it is not a business tool primarily.  I will just occasionally mention my work – I have anyway given in to trying to stop the tide.

Postscript

Toprankblog has a good little entry on using Facebook more effectively for business – take a look.

Blog talk at Manchester Business Breakfast Club

Artisan will be giving a talk about blogging at Manchester Business Breakfast Club this Friday.

It’s just an introduction so businesses can understand what blogging is all about and judge if it will be of help to their enterprises.

Manchester Business Breakfast Club is all about networking, members helping members to grow their businesses through referrals, advice and sometimes direct supplier relationships.

The club has 35-40 members and about 25 attend at any one meeting.  The club is always looking for new members, including:

Architects

Recruitment professionals

Arts venues

Surveyors

Couriers

Hotels

Leisure (although we have a football club, none other than Wigan)

If you are interested in coming along please leave a message or e-mail.

“The private life is dead”

“The Private life is dead.”

You might know this quote from Dr Zhivago – the film version, not the novel; I believe the novel does not contain that phrase. (Uttered by Pasha Antipov played by Tom Courtenay in the film if you want to check next time it is on TV, which is every Easter or Christmas).

That was about the Russian Revolution,which I am not sure  ever succeeded in its aim to dominate all aspects of an individual’s life.

The social media revolution seems to be inadvertently achieving it, or at least blurring the line between private and working lives as soon as you engage in it.

My opening is a little journalistic but a few days ago a business contact asked to be accepted onto my Facebook circle of friends.  I have not replied.  I don’t like saying “no” but this is not the place to engage with someone you know only in a business context: I really do use it for informal personal communications by and large.

I didn’t think much more of it until Matthew Goldsbrough a marketing consultant was speaking at a recent Manchester Chamber meeting about social media.

Matthew made the exact point that our work and private lives cannot be compartmentalised anymore, certainly not as we might wish.

We all know stories about someone misbehaving on holiday or saying something a little too frank about their boss on their Facebook or Bebo page and losing his or her job, or indeed having an offer for one withdrawn.  These stories having been doing the media rounds for years, so there is little surprise to be really had.

The realisation that “I am a brand” – a concept I do not like or completely agree with seems to be being imposed upon me.  But there it  is, if you aim to use social media for work you have to accept that your marketing, image and reputation do not get put on hold when you leave the office after a hard day’s work.