Jun 27 2011
By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
[Disclaimer: This is not yet another PR bashing post, I live and breathe PR/social media and Kudos to @GaryVee for clarifying things for us PR pros on @GeoffLivingston's blog http://geofflivingston.com/2011/06/22/gary-vaynerchuk-garyvee-answers-tough-questions/]
This coming Thursday, June 30th is WORLD SOCIAL MEDIA DAY and I am sitting here nodding my head in “no, we are not there yet mode…” Like you, I am someone who truly believes in human relations as a means to a meaningful end. In its most simplistic form, we Public Relations pros are in it because we “like” people and understand the science and art of “building” relations that positively affect our clients. Whether we do it using paper and pen, iPhones, Facebook or Twitter is secondary to the bigger mission which is to COMMUNICATE. As much as I greatly tout the fact that social media is owned by PR versus Advertising, I also realize we are not there yet in terms of truly leveraging social media. Here are some of the classic blunders we PR agencies make when it comes to integrating “social” with “traditional”
1. Facebook: CHECK, TWITTER: CHECK, Now let’s go back to hibernation: All that landscaping, new tile design, colorful logos in your social garden is a complete waste if you don’t plan your party for at the least the next few months. If you consider just launching yourself on Twitter and Facebook with your branding and daily updates and tweets a huge accomplishment, you have totally missed the boat. If you are the head of marketing/communications at your company, PLEASE, PLEASE ask your social media folks to plan for a well thought out engagement calendar. No not editorial but ENGAGEMENT CALENDAR meaning what do I tweet or Facebook (soon to be a verb) that is of any value to my audience? Do not just arrive on social networks and forget to keep yourself updated and engaged. You made us like you and follow you. Now give us a reason to want to stay that way. Just three meaningful tweets a day, that’s what McDonald’s does is enough. Look active on social media if not pro-active. If your PR agency isn’t thinking through rules of engagement and quarterly new ideas to keep your content fresh and meaningful, you might want to rethink your social media game plan.
2. Push content without Pulling your audience: Yes, free content and thought leadership are AWESOME but I do like to track some metrics behind that great work. Tell me which PR/Marketing professional doesn’t want to see “What did all this social media do for my brand” report? While we spend countless hours churning out great content, we don’t spend half as much time in tracking the outcomes of content generation. In-fact some of us don’t even ask ourselves the most important question, “Why am I hosting a tweet chat or a video contest on YouTube?” I know I am preaching to the choir here but let’s take a step back and define success for our clients before recommending tactics. A well thought out social media strategy starts with identifying a solid strategy followed by key performance indicators followed by tactical recommendations not the other way around. I agree every single social activity can’t be measured BUT there are tons of free tools out there to see how much you are pushing out versus pulling in.
3. Treat SEO, Social and Web as Separate Siloes: This is when I try to keep my blood pressure under control and accentuate the Colgate smile. If your PR agency is doing a website rebranding without integrating it with your SEO ambitions and social media goals, RUN!!! The three elements are closely integrated. Your blog feeds the Google engine which in turn drives traffic back to your website or any social property that YOU want to promote. Again start with an online audit first, where do you stand on Google search rankings? What is your online sentiment (which is not who YOU think you are but who your AUDIENCE think you are). I have seen some companies have multiple vendors with different strategies and tactics to handle SEO, Social and Web separately and they don’t talk to each other. Now if you have the luxury to do that, good for you but some of my clients don’t so we ask that all partners in Web 2.0 strategy connect and work towards a common set of goals.
4. Promise the ‘Stars” without knowing which planet they belong to: Sure, I will get you a tweet from Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki and Larry King but I don’t even know what they are interested in, leave alone following them on Twitter. I hold myself accountable to this; I don’t take enough time on a periodic basis to see what my “influentials” are up to? Let’s first subscribe, follow and like them and then start identifying possible connection points. PR agencies will promise you a blog mention or a tweet out from big names in social media as though they live right next door to Chris Brogan and Guy Kawasaki. Instead we need to first LISTEN to them, find a win-win situation for both client and your influential to get Mashable kind of attention. Ask your agency a simple question, “What makes you think you will get a #1 blogger to write about my brand that no-one has ever heard of?”
5. Viral and Video don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand: Recently at the “Metrics and Measurement” panel at BlogWorld NY, Margot Savell, VP of Digital Measurement at Weber Shandwick made the point, “First of all you can’t create a viral video campaign. We can only create a video campaign with the hope that it will go viral.” I am proud to share CRT/tanaka’s success with the Go Granny video campaign for Network Solutions that we launched during Super Bowl 2011. I am not a big fan of “impressions” but if we were to judge Go Granny by impressions, we garnered over 50M impressions in less than a week especially during the Super Bowl, the biggest media event and most of it just on Twitter. PR agencies can only plan for a video to go viral but setting a realistic expectation with clients that not all videos can go viral is just open and honest communication between an agency and its clients.
My intention here is not to come across as another one of those PR agency bashing blog posts because PR is my passion, my daily bread. I am proud to spend a vast majority of my life doing what I enjoy the most, helping people and brands COMMUNICATE effectively so why not try to get it right when it comes to communicating on SOCIAL MEDIA. I am sure you have your favorite silly, stupid social media moments that you have witnessed, please share it here so we can all learn from you. Thank you!
Image courtesy: http://www.dragonblogger.com/tips-social-networking/.
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