Category ArchiveElectronic PR
The use of social media has revolutionized the public relations and marketing world. According to Facebook, its users spend 500 billion minutes per month on the site sharing more than 25 billion pieces of content. Other social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have reported similar results. Re:NEW Michigan, a trademark of Eiler Communications, conducted a survey in April to further investigate the growing prevalence of social media sites among Michigan businesses.
The survey compared to a similar survey from December 2008. Not surprisingly, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn all saw dramatic increases in usage in the time period between surveys. The biggest leaps came from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook saw a 28.5% increase in usage, and Twitter saw a 30.3% jump.
A more unexpected and enlightening trend was revealed by the results. Michigan businesses reported heavily using social media websites in seeking news and information.
This is most likely due to news sites directly posting on social media sites or links exist between these social sites and news sites.
Whatever the reason, survey respondents admitted to using Facebook, Twitter and blogs just as often as they use more traditional news sites such as CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times when they seek news and information. Many even reported using social media websites as their primary source of information.
This information poses the question of what the future holds for this evolving issue, both social media and news information websites. No answers yet, but here are some observations.
The benefits of using social media websites for seeking news and information are obvious. They provide the instantaneous results demanded by people’s quest for instant gratification of information. The large amount of time spent on these sites and the great amount of traffic to these sites is favorable for spreading a story.
But are social media websites sufficient in providing a business with all the information it needs, or are they simply being used to find leads that require further investigation? Do social media websites have the potential to make news information sites obsolete? Re:NEW Michigan plans to address these questions and others involving social media websites in our next survey in October.
Social media (SM) users are relying on the web 2.0 sites for more than just networking these days. Might SM’s greatest contribution be mental health? SM’s use as a therapeutic outlet was studied and explored by Mental Health Camp, a Canadian-based conference in April 2009. This collaborative project investigated SM’s influence on mental health, both from a PR perspective and as a therapeutic outlet.
The all day Camp looked at ways to erase social stigmas associated with poor mental health “one tweet at a time” through social media marketing. Camp presentations and discussions pitched SM as an opportunity to release public service announcements from a personal perspective.
Additionally, presenters positioned SM as an outlet for those dealing with stress and anxiety. In terms of daily relief, individuals can blog and tweet away mental angst. According to Mental Health Camp counselors, mental health ranges from mental wellbeing (e.g. minimum stress, interpersonal problems) and serious illness (e.g. addiction, schizophrenia, anorexia). Mental wellbeing is our focus in this blog. Rather than keeping thoughts and burdens weighing on your mind, why not write a soothing blog or post on Twitter? In this sense, SM is a new age, productive version of the punching bag or stress ball.
Although the Camp concluded in April, online therapy continues on the Mental Health Camp’s website (here) as well on sites throughout the internet. As we have documented on this blog Web 2.0 and SM continue to weave into communication networks in productive ways.
Personally, I find blogging and other SM software both fun and therapeutic. In addition to a quick cure for boredom, networking with friends on Facebook is a great distraction from daily stresses. And when my girlfriend and roommates are sick of listening to my rants about my favorite sports teams, I continue the discussion on the blogoshpere. I know, I know…how pathetic right? Well, the stigmas surrounding these online outlets are quickly disappearing while the benefits are becoming more apparent.
If you’re at all into Social Media you know about Twitter; but do you know how you can use Twitter to effectively market your company?
One company using Twitter to their advantage is Kogi BBQ, they are a Korean-Style taco vendor that sells their food out of a lunch truck, and they are using Twitter to their advantage. Kogi “tweets” the location of their two lunch trucks throughout Los Angeles as well as extra items not mentioned on the menu. Kogi has only been around since November but is already one of the most recognizable names in the country. They have close to 24,000 followers.
Another company out in Los Angeles using Twitter is The Westin Bonaventure, a hotel in the heart of LA’s financial district. Recently they gave away rooms to twenty-five followers. This created such a buzz that media outlets such as USA Today and The Los Angeles Times picked up the story. Obviously, all their followers knew about it and around 100 of them retweeted the news as well. In an interview with the PR firm responsible, an estimated twenty million impressions were generated from this campaign. Twenty million impressions resulting from a single tweet, you can’t ask for anything better.
As you can see, Twitter can be very powerful. If used correctly, it’s a great way to reach the masses in expensively. Find a unique way to grab people’s attention, and the rest will follow. Twitter is free and easy to use, so if you and your company aren’t already using Twitter, it’s about time to start. Happy Tweeting.
Moviegoers were graced with a glimpse into the world of journalism in April with the premiere of two top-notch press-centric films; State of Play and The Soloist respectively. The investigative reporting and journalistic flair of newspaper writers drive the two films. State of Play and Soloist are just the latest in a long line of movies centered on the cunning investigations pivotal to the newspaper world. Remember All the Kings Men? Citizen Kane? Or The Pelican Brief? While the most recent cinematic journalism adventures are far from the first to feature press writers, might they be two of the last?
As newspapers continue to search for new business models, the “Watchdog” function is changing or disappearing. New forms of social media have accelerated the public’s demand for news. Whereas reporters once had weeks to cover an in-depth story, the editorial calendar has shrunk significantly. Instead of investing in investigations guarding public interests, newspapers are forced by high print and distribution costs to watch over their pocketbooks.
Some of the best movies of this generation are marked by newspapers in some way. If newspapers continue the current downward spiral, it will definitely be reflected at theaters…but how much remains to be seen. Five years from now, Denzel Washington may be on stage accepting an Oscar for portraying a Twitter-er. Or M. Knight Shyamalan might be directing a horror flick about Facebook. Enjoy the likes of The Soloist and State of Play while you can. Journalism has been celebrated in our society for many, many years, but the changes on the printed page are usually reflected on the reel.
It’s hip, it’s fun, but most of all it’s entirely original; it’s Skittles new website. If you haven’t gotten the chance to check it out yet, here’s the link www.skittles.com. Skittles created a fresh new site that is nothing but their Social Media pages. Their Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr, and Youtube pages make up the bulk of the website. This is a pretty daring move since they can’t very well control the information being shared. Skittles must have a strong belief in their brand because all it takes is one bad comment to start an avalanche of negativity. Looking at the comments left on their Twitter and Facebook pages this seems to be a success.
Skittles has done a great job appealing to the social media crowd, which, let’s face it, is pretty much everyone now. This website has generated all types of buzz over the website, surprisingly bloggers hate it. This is interesting because everyone posting on the site seems to love the idea.
Here’s a list of a few things I think Skittles could do to better the experience.
1. For it to truly be social media Skittles will need to step in and engage in conversation.
2. For the people who aren’t in to Social Media or just don’t understand it, there needs to be a out-out option that will bring you back to their old website. This way using an analytics site you can track the number of users on the new website versus the old which will tell Skittles when it’s time to switch back to the traditional style website.
3. The widget-like menu needs to be movable.
If they can change those three problems, then all that negative buzz over their website will begin to fade.
An over-whelming majority of blogs out there regarding this subject, seem to think it’s over the top or think that Skittles took the easy way out. Even so, Skittle’s new site has all the information that any other website would have but they did it unlike anyone else.
Kudos to Skittles for being bold and trying something never done before, but as great an idea as this is, I think it won’t last very long. This is a great way to temporarily boost interest in Skittles and learn about their customers; but in the end the hype will wear off and people will want the website back to the traditional style.
I’ve been trying to explain Twitter and Facebook to my parents for some time now, and despite my best efforts, they still find the lack of privacy a little unsettling. “You mean everyone will know when you go to the bathroom?”
Not exactly Mom, you don’t tell people everything you’re doing. But her point is a good one. Social Media (SM) allows individuals to effortlessly communicate and share ideas across broad networks, but some recent news has shown what happens when social media goes wrong.
Twitter’s rapidly growing population consists of celebrities, presidents, companies, neighbors and even pets. Charlie Villanueva, Forward for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, has become an infamous Tweeter after two incidents last month. First, Villanueva or CV31 as he’s known on Twitter, posted a Tweet at halftime of a game against the Boston Celtics. Bucks’ head coach Scott Skiles quickly reprimanded these actions. (The Tweet can be read here.) For an encore, CV31 cited an inside source when he announced that Jim Calhoun, the coach of his Alma mater would coach in the next game of the NCAA Tournament for the University of Connecticut after health complications kept him out of the previous game.
“Juror Jonathon” ran into trouble in March for Tweeting details of a $12.6 million case from his cell phone. These Twitter updates, while not explicitly forbidden by courts, are believed to be grounds for a mistrial.
These two incidents are yet another example of technology moving faster than regulatory rules (or just a lack of common sense). Social media is a great public relations tool, providing ways for businesses and individuals to control their messages. But as more companies and businesses enter the social media circus, they must be wary of information leaking to the public through blogs, podcasts, Facebook pages, MySpace, Twitter, etc. The traditional walls of privacy my parents are familiar with are being torn down in favor of faster communication. Until rules are in place to control the expansive social media capabilities, remember to balance networking with personal responsibility and common sense.
About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &Marketing &Media &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 20 Mar 2009 03:51 pm
Are you a thought leader? Thought leaders are credible, insightful industry professionals (often heads of companies) with the expertise to comment on industry trends and issues…basically, the leaders of thoughts. This is highly desirable brand position requiring a focused public relations (PR) effort and a commitment to hard work.
Thought leaders provide insight and vision and therefore, are “go to” sources for members of the media often providing quotes and commentary for news coverage. Highly visible examples include Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page of Google, Richard Branson of Virgin Megastores, or Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. These leaders provide insight of global scale due to their product’s popularity around the world. It is also possible to carve out a niche for your company’s product or service locally or wherever you define your target market.
A few thought-leadership tips from www.skmarketing.com, a Minneapolis based business-to-business marketing agency:
1. Availability: Respect the hectic schedule of the journalists and other members of the press and return all calls ASAP.
2. Preparedness: As a thought leader, you are expected to possess wisdom and a familiarity with a wide variety of topics in your field. It is advised that you prepare talking points prior to any media engagement/interview.
3. Be Opinionated: Donald Trump might be the best example of this type of thought leadership. Thought leaders are expected to bring something new to the conversation without sitting on the fence. Be bold, compelling and dramatic.
4. Persistence: Create your own fortune through thought leadership tools. Examples include determined press releases, knowledgeable speaking engagements, effective social media, white papers, by-lined articles, and/or case studies.
Eiler Communications has practiced these skills for over twenty years, establishing brand messages and thought leadership strategies for local and national businesses. David Mielke, Dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, is an example of a local thought leader Eiler Communications works with consistently. Mielke has established a voice in the business community writing articles in the Ann Arbor Business Review and on www.MLive.com, often times commenting on the current state of business ethics. Mielke also serves on a number of economic and business boards.
So, are you ready to be a thought leader?
What Does Twitter Do For My Business?
According to the IDC (Premier Global Marketing Survey Company)Internet users spend an average of 32.7 hours online each week. That’s close to half the time they spend on any media (70.6 hours), twice the time they spend watching TV (16.4 hours) and close to eight times as much time as they spend reading magazines and newspapers (3.9 hours). The two fastest growing categories are video and social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogs, YouTube, etc).
Clearly, attention is shifting on-line for all of our social and business needs.
Abrams Research recently asked over 200 social media leaders at the Social Media Week 2009 conference, what social media site would you recommend your business to pay for
(if they had to)? Twitter beat Facebook by more than two to one. Why? One of the most typical responses was, “ It is the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways.”
So, what is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time and is one of the fastest growing communities online. It allows people to send public or private messages in 140 characters or less via the web or mobile phone. Think of it as a Facebook status update on steroids. The idea is to sign up and find people that you want to follow. Once you follow them, you receive updates minute by minute on whatever they “tweet”. A “tweet” is a 140 character or less statement or link to information.
For instance, I follow people that are relevant to my business. By sharing quick bits of information, I can stay connected to them, know their interests and appeal to them for my professional or personal needs. The key is to “tweet” about relevant topics. No one cares if you are having coffee (unless of course you own a coffee business and are sharing your favorite brew). As a Twitter courtesy, if you follow someone they usually follow you back so, get out there and start following and watch your site grow! Think about this. If you send out one “tweet” that directs your followers to relevant news about your business, which directs them to you or your website- you can reach thousands of Twitter followers by the minute.
The key: No one likes a constant sales pitch. Twitter about relevant issues that pertain to your business or your interests. This will position you as an expert and drive traffic to your site.
It’s hard to turn on ESPN these days without a report on Michael Phelps or Alex Rodriguez. Both superstar athletes have suffered massive blows to their public image in the past few weeks, but each has taken a different approach to managing their respective crisis.
Various media personalities heralded Phelps as the greatest athlete in Olympics history (a modern history dating back to 1896) after he swam to eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. Equally captivating was the recently released picture of Michael holding a bong at a college party in November. The Phelps camp has been frantically trying to save the swimmer’s reputation ever since the picture hit the internet. Strategically, Phelps management agency, International Management Group (IMG) is playing the “youthful spirit” PR card, asking for understanding and forgiveness…a very sound strategy. But the drawn out saga that has unfolded probably wasn’t in their plans. Every additional apology Phelps’ issues goes straight to the front page; every informal poolside press conference has Phelps out of breath and un-groomed. Phelps needs his character and integrity reaffirmed, but neither his coaches nor friends have displayed support to the media. More proactive PR tactics are needed in times of crisis management.
Alex Rodriguez and his PR staff were far more aggressive in handling his recent admission to steroid use in Major League Baseball (MLB). Sports Illustrated broke the story on Sunday and Rodriguez disclosed all in an interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons on Tuesday. He attacked the allegations and tried to minimize the damage by giving answers to questions sports fans were asking. Pulling a page from Phelps’ book, Rodriguez blamed his humanity for “making a mistake”. While Rodriguez’s image will never be the same, he was able to control the story, instead of letting the story control him.
These two sport-related cases offer lessons in crisis management. While the public will never forget these two incidents, savvy PR practices can minimize the damage to their respective reputations. Basketball’s Michael Jordan was able to stay in the public’s favor for years despite gambling allegations. Many businesses, company leaders, athletes, celebrities, etc. make mistakes because they are human. PR specialists must realize this fact and build a plan to emphasize the way individuals learn from mistakes.
I was recently reading an article in Fast Company magazine about the most influential women in technology. The article was the second in a series that was originally called,
“ The Most Influential Women in Web 2.0.” The first article became a heated debate on many social media networks, including Digg because some readers felt the article was sexist. Sexist? Come on.
This lead me to think about what a disadvantage that women have had in the technology department by any metric: average salary, top-management representation, board memberships and many geographic areas like Silicon Valley are still just a boys club. In fact, most of technology seems to be a “boys club.”
The fact of the matter is now that social media has taken off with such rapid fire, women are becoming very influential and making a dent in the technology world. For instance, look at some of the executives of large social media and technology firms. Susan Decker, President of Yahoo, Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook, Megan Smith VP, New Business Development of Google.
What about some of the fastest growing social networking sites? Caterina Fake
Co-founded the photo-sharing elephant Flickr and then sold it to Yahoo for a reported $35 million. Everyone is buzzing about her highly anticipated project called Hunch, which is in development.
Women Bloggers? Look at the site http://www.blogher.com/ and you will find over
2,200 women bloggers and counting. This site has become its own community that even has its own blogging conference. Anyone can sign up and have your blog posted. There are even large advertisers on the site such as Cover Girl and Oil of Olay. Wonder what Eilsa, Jory and Lisa (the founders of Blogher.com) made on that contract?
It’s not just about money, although that is a great perk. Blogging allows us the freedom to write and discuss things that are relevant to us and to have them published. Anyone can blog and anyone can use blogging to drive traffic to his or her site, develop their own company or just have an opinion. It has become the way of communicating these days and it would be a shame to not take advantage of this great tool in marketing and PR.
Jennifer L Peak