PR, Social Media, and Everything in Between

Archive for February, 2011

Location-Based Services: I’M HERE!


Where in the World is…?

In a world of increasing connectivity, location-based services are the next step in social networking. With sites like Foursquare, individuals can check-in to locations via their cell phone. You can see friends nearby, and sometimes swoop in on special deals.

Image Credit: "dodgeball vs. Google Latitude? (at least now we know why they're phasing out good 'ol dball)" By

I was discourage when I first learned about foursquare. As a college student, my mom graciously pays for my cell phone service. That doesn’t include a smart phone. Most lBS are only compatible with smart phones. When I went on the four square website, I found a video that explained foursquare (Howcast and wordpress don’t communicate well, so I was unable to post it.)

I’m going to start engaging with foursquare via text message! What do you think of IBS applications?

Business Perks

I recently attended the Social Fresh Tampa where @SchneiderMike gave a presentation on LBS. He’s co-author of “Location Based Marketing for Dummies” (buying this book for myself soon). He talked about the different way companies can engage consumers beyond check-ins.

1.      Content (i.e. Photos, tips, and recommendations)

2.      Activities (i.e. Challenges and games)

3.      Rewards (i.e. points, coupons, and free stuff!)

@SchneiderMike also highlighted the importance of making sure the rewards are cool and available to everyone. For example, Ben & Jerry’s has a special for everyone: 3 scoops for $3 (the mayor gets an extra scoop for free of course).

Sad Face of LBS

Eric Leist wrote all about the future LBS in the blog post “Beyond The Checkin: A Look At The Future of Location Based Services.” Leist points out that on drawback of LBS are the privacy issues. LBS check-ins might one day be linked to the swipe of a loyalty card. But do you really want everyone to know where you shopped and what you bought?

Another potential drawback dealing with privacy issues would be the ability for someone to track your movements. Stalking suddenly just became a whole lot easier. If you use LBS, are you concerned about privacy?

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Jump On Board with Social Media


In the podcast “Speakers & Speeches: Social Media, Friend or Foe?” a panel at a Ragan Communication conference mock pitches social media to a CEO. The panel discusses a wide range of topics including blogs, facebook, and management of social media within a company.

Image Credit: "Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept" by lumaxart

I learned about company intranets, which I found useful. I’m currently a student, and have little interaction with intranets. Florida Southern College uses the “portal” to communicate with students, but the site has limited functionality. I think it would be helpful if the site had more functions that instructors knew how to utilize. The idea of a college-based intranet was the foundation for Facebook after all.  Where do you see the future of social media and education headed?

 

The panel also discussed splitting the work load of a blog among the company’s employees. I know that many blogs I read feature several different contributors. Disney actually uses this model on their company blog. I think the model works effectively for them. Do you know of any other company blogs that clearly identify multiple writers and use the model effectively?

Best Buy‘s employee social networking site was a highlighted case study in the podcast. Best Buy created Blue Shirt Nation as an internal social networking community for their employees. The site link is currently down. I went out and tried to find another example of an internal community. I was unable to locate one. Send me another one if you find one. I’d be interested in seeing what one looks like.

Lastly, I heard the idea of a “cloud” come up several times. My understanding of the term is that it’s a place where digital information is stored and can be accessed. I googled “digital cloud,” and it seems that the term refers to any information on the web. Do you think the world wide web is a cloud or a storm of information?

Tweet Your Speech


Image Credit: "the 44th President of the United States...Barack Obama" By jmtimages

When President Obama gave his 2011 State of the Union address, I was at home watching and tweeting.

I could comment and like some quotes. I also replied to comments friends made. Some comments were witty and others were not.

Regardless, this marks the first time that I sat through an entire state of the union address. How did I manage that? I think the comments on twitter and Facebook made the engagement… fun.

From a PR perspective, Obama’s simultaneous tweets during the speech was amazing. Congress.org wrote an article that highlighted that most of his quote were 140 characters or less. Almost as though the speech was written for tweeter.

The article asks whether twitter has become the new sound bite. I think the answer can be seen when you look at the number of media outlets that use screenshots of tweets.

Do you think his speech was written for twitter? If so, is Obama doing for social media what JFK did for television?

Is Anybody Listening?


Image Credit: "Twitter Follower Mosaic" By joelaz

So does anyone care what you think? If so, does your influence really matter?

When it comes to social media the answer is an overwhelming YES! The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about social media influencers. These are the people that have the most influence over others on the web. They get all kinds of cool prizes and freebies from companies that want them to say good things about their brands.

I was wondering though… does social media influence equal influence in the real world? Do these people have the same influence on Twitter as they do on Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and Hollywood?

I think the answer is again yes. People like Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Lady Gaga make powerful statements that ripple through their spheres of influence. For Barack Obama, I would argue that his immense social media influence was a primary factor in how he got elected.

I was being conceited and looked up my own score. @Megangetter has a score of 10 on Klout. Not so impressive. I was disappointed it wasn’t higher, but then realized that I don’t use twitter very often. Maybe one day it will be in the sixties. For now, 10 is fine with me.

 

Update: My Klout Score on March 29, 2011 was 29.  53 Reach | 14 amplification | 37 network

Classification – Dabbler

Selling At The Big Game


Super Bowl Sunday boasted a lot of great commercials, and some were pretty terrible. There will be those that are remembered, and those that will be chalked up to overzealous ad creatives. Here are the best and the worst of Super Bowl Sunday 2011.

The Best

The Force (Darth Vader)

I have a personal connection to Volkswagen, so this ad really warmed my heart. I think little kids are great, and the best part is that the ad is genderless. Growing up, I would have worn a Vader mask if I could have gotten my hands on one.

Imported From Detroit

Eminem is cool. Detroit is somehow made cool. This ad made me tear up a little. I felt proud to be American. Also… I got the song stuck in my head for an hour afterwards. On the flip side, I don’t plan on buying a Chrysler anytime soon. Still a fantastic ad overall!

The Worst

Bud Light

The Bud Light commercials in general were all lack luster. They just seemed to stop short of the mark. As a legal adult, I will occasionally indulge in a beer or two with friends. However, none of these ads made me want to run out and buy one.

In fact, I felt the opposite way. I’ve recently become fascinated with Miller Light’s Vortex bottle. I point it out to friends whenever I see it at the store:

“Look how cool that is!”

“What does it do?”

“I think the beer comes out better or something…But it’s so cool!”

Maybe Bud Light should try something new with their bottles!

Groupon

Making light of the people of Tibet just to promote your internet consumer money saving company is never ok. I think they should have added something in the ad like “saving $30 meansyou can donate that money to charity.” They would have received less criticism.

I read an article by CNBC that interviewed the ad exec who produced the spot. Groupon had more than 50,00 new customers the day after the spot aired. So I guess Groupon got exactly what they aimed for. What does that say about the American Super Bowl viewing public?

Chitchat with the Groundswell in Social Media


Forrester Research’s Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff wrote a fascinating novel that examines social media. “Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies” looks at how companies can harness the power of the groundswell.

The groundswell is “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.”

SHOUTING

So everyone knows that companies are willing to shell out millions of dollars to run an ad on tv. Super Bowl Sunday is a prime example of this theory. But what do ads really accomplish? What if you could talk to your customers…

How do you talk to the groundswell?

1.       Post a viral video.

George Wright and Blendtec put together the viral video “Will It Blend?” These videos advertise the product and reach a mass audience the even the Super Bowl can’t compare with. The company even has a “Will It Blog?” area to their website that allows customers to weigh in.

2.       Engage in social networks.

Ernst & Young Careers page on Facebook allows college students to asks questions and get real answers and advice. The company takes time to respond to each comment posted on their wall. Students are exposed to traditional media, but they talk!

3.       Join the blogosphere.

GM’s blog has loads of information on a variety of topics.  Blogging can offer lots of different opportunities, so businesses have to decide their purpose for the blog. You can’t start a blog just to save costs and be successful. Most importantly, you need to use your blog to start and engage in conversation with your audience.

4.       Create a community.

Companies that create and maintain a community can tap into the groundswell with incredible. First make sure your audience will join the community (see Social Techographics Profile). Proctor & Gamble targeted tween girls for feminine care products with the creation of beinggirl.com. Being Girl gave girls the chance to ask questions and get answers on questions they were too embarrassed to ask anyone else.

If you’re company is looking at social media and aiming to become part of the conservation, then simply start by talking to the groundswell!

The Great Paradox of Social Media


Image Credit: "Social Media Monopoly" By clasesdeperiodismo

An interesting paradox exists between people and their privacy when it comes to social media. The very idea of social media as Mark Zuckeberg has pointed out time and time again is the ability to connect and share with people. We share all kinds of things from what we’re doing to everything we like (and everything we don’t!). We aim to connect with as many people as we can, but in the same breathe try to protect our privacy from intrusion.

Companies that have an interest in scooping up all that data we post on every.com site imaginable turn to social media monitoring services. Social Media Monitoring enables companies to easily see everything we put on social media sites from Facebook to Flickr, Twitter to LinkedIn. These monitoring companies offer a variety services including mining the data and formulating useful graphs and charts on our habits.

The Debate

In light of both our fight for privacy and our need to share, critics debate the ethics of social media monitoring. In “Debating the Ethics of Social Media Research” Jeffrey  Henning outlined the debate.

1.      Cite/obscure identities of commenters: Do you give credit to the source or do you obscure the identity of individuals when using the data?

2.       Seek/don’t seek permission: Do you get consent to use the data or accept that consent is not always possible to obtain?

3.      Engage/don’t engage with commenters: Do you respond to commentators and possibly influence them or sit passively respecting that individual may say things online that are not always true?

4.      Respect/ignore perceptions of privacy: Do you allow the users to think their privacy is being respected or accept that everything on the internet is public?

Weighing In

Image Credit: "3D Character and Question Mark" By 姒儿喵喵

I think that standard PR ethics codes (i.e. PRSA) can adequately address the problems associated with social media monitoring. I think knowing and understanding the target audience is also a big part of the process. Forrester’s Social Technographic Consumer Profiles can illuminate how your target uses social media.

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