Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Social Media: Reflecting Room or Eye Opening Forum

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Kelly Mulholland*

networkingAn overwhelming amount of news has been about Facebook’s new Timeline, a feature which all users will be required to implement in the near future. (If you are unfamiliar with the Timeline layout, please check out my colleague Andrea Corbo’s blog post for a detailed explanation of this new debatable feature.) Other headlines have focused on Facebook’s Rise From Start-Up to Establishment and its latest IPO.  

Personally, I’m much more interested in Facebook’s recent study on how the social giant has changed the way we gather and transfer information.

In a 2011 study conducted by Facebook’s Eytan Bakshy — which I found when I subscribed to Mark Zuckerberg’s statuses via Facebook this past month — the  author debates whether or not social media acts as a reinforcement of our own ideas we share with “strong ties” (such as friends, family, coworkers, classmates) or  a tool that broadens your view of the world by taking in new opinions from “weak ties” (strangers or acquaintances) and asks us to Rethink Information Diversity in Networks. Bakshy’s study was inspired by a 1973 American Journal of Sociology study conducted by economic sociologist Mark Granovetter called, The Strength of Weak Ties. In Granovetter’s study, documented well before the Internet, stronger ties flock together sharing similar information while weaker ties aren’t as prominent and withhold eye-opening news.

Fast-forward to the age of social media … Interaction is often compared to that of a party-like setting in which you must interact and share information with people in a similar manner. Bakshy conducted his current study to measure to and/or from whom at this “party” we are more likely to share information. With the help of Facebook’s newsfeeds feature, the study measured how often a Facebook member would re-share their weak ties links versus their strong ties links. While it was found that strong ties’ links would be reposted more often, it was the weaker ties that were the ones who provided the most information. How? While the strong ties may have more interests in common and a stronger influence,  Facebook friends are more likely to have a majority of acquaintances invited to their metaphorical social media bash than close friends.

The majority of a person’s newsfeed will contain new information from more dissimilar members via new updates posted throughout the day. Now more than ever, “weak ties” are able to share information spread throughout a social group. Whereas before this segment would not have the capability to reach a broader audience without the assistance of a larger media outlet, but now thanks to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and any other social network site that has a newsfeed element these “weak ties” are spreading their influence. I can say that Bakshy’s theory explains why I read his article in the first place from Mark Zuckerberg, a “weak tie.”

 Do you believe we are more likely to spread information due to the quality of the connection or the quality of content? Have you found that you are more aware of opinions that differ from your own, now that use of social media outlets has increased as opposed to face to face interactions? Most importantly, did you read or share my article because of this theory?


Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

Mentoring: A New Year’s Challenge

Monday, December 19th, 2011

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

Flickr Image: arielmeow

I’ve written about being a public relations mentor in the past, but it’s been a while. Mentoring is something I’m passionate about so I’d like to challenge each and every communications person (PR, advertising, marketing, etc.) reading this to do ONE thing in the New Year that supports our next generation of pros.

Before you start with the “I’m too busy” excuses, let me clarify what I mean. Looking at Wikipedia, “mentorship” refers to a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. It goes on to describe “mentoring” as a process that always involves communication and is relationship based, but its precise definition is elusive. I’m partial to John C. Crosby’s definition, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”  What this means to me is that you do not have to be part of a formal mentorship program to accomplish this!

Formally, I am a Champions for PRSSA PRSA section member, a PRSSA mentor through my local PRSA chapter’s program, as well as professional advisor to my alma mater’s PRSSA chapter. However, informally, I help scads of students and young pros via social media (mainly Twitter and LinkedIn).  Mother Teresa said, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person”—sounds like pretty good marching orders to me!  

I know some believe there are specific core competencies required for being a mentor, such as coaching, counseling, teaching, acting as role model, championing career development. While these are valid elements of mentoring, I propose that you don’t have to be or do it all to help shape the future of our profession. The effort you put forth can be something as easy as answering a quick question, reviewing a résumé or advising on portfolio pieces. And, frequently I find that it’s a two-way street. You might just learn something yourself.

Does your PRSA chapter have a mentoring program? Why did you become a mentor? Did you have a mentor yourself? What did you learn from them?

POLL RESULTS: Should PR Interns Pitch The Media?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

This post first appeared on PRconnection (7.5.11) and is cross-posted with permission.

Poll Results: Should Interns Pitch The MediaIt’s been nearly two years since I first broached the subject of whether PR interns should pitch The Media. At that time, it seemed, most people had a very strong opinion one way or the other so I decided to do a quick poll and report the results.

And it is a topic that still sparks a lot of debate today. I’ve seen some recent chatter on Twitter about who should be pitching The Media and thought it was time to resurrect the poll and see what, if anything, has changed in the past couple years.

To the question, “Should PR interns pitch the media,” I got 71 votes and 11 comments using the LinkedIn polls tool. Since there are more women in PR than men, it’s not surprising that the respondents were mostly female.

Respondents could choose from the following answers:

  • Yes
  • Yes with direct supervision
  • Depends on the circumstances
  • No

Only 15 percent said “No” (as in, “never”).

Of those that replied with a “No,” Mitch Leff, owner of Leff & Associates PR firm, commented, “Wow…If I was a client, I’m hiring the agency for their expertise and to have their best people on my account. No way I’d pay an agency to have an intern pitching! Wow again.”

Of those that replied, “Yes with direct supervision,” Rodger D. Johnson, PR pro and professor (aka @getsocialpr) suggested:

“Interns need to learn how to pitch and the best way to do that is to pitch. They also need coaching, which is why it is best to have supervision early on. I might add that supervision should be in the roll of coach, teacher or mentor. And agency owners need to understand sometimes interns make mistakes. At the same time, a good agency owner or corporate communications director who be in the business of building people. After all, investing in people is how we build relationships, right?”

My personal thoughts are in-line with Rodger’s – how can you learn without doing?  And, isn’t this business all about investing in and building relationships with people?

There were other great comments as well.  If you’d like, you can review the comments and full results here, but let’s continue this conversation. What do you think?

Give Us Something New Google!

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Valerie Simon

Can Google+ succeed where Google Buzz and Google Wave have failed? While it is probably too early to make predictions, I’ll go out on a limb and share my opinion… unless they unveil something groundbreaking, this latest attempt at social networking by Google will likewise falter.

Social networking is not really about the tools. It’s about the people. In order to succeed, the tools must be designed to innovate how people connect and relate. In order to persuade people to invest the time in a network, tools must offer something new and valuable… a unique selling proposition. Otherwise, why should users invest their time with a new tool when their relationships and communications are already being served by established networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?

While the initial invite process – one that Google+ has since been shut down because of “insane demand” – makes the network seem promising enough, I have not found anything truly unique in Google+. Yes, it’s cool to drag and drop people into circles, but I am already extremely organized with my Facebook and Twitter lists. Why reinvent the wheel (list, or circle)? Especially if it means walking away from the networks I have already invested time building? Time is limited.

My friend Arik Hanson (who I initially met on Twitter and am now communicating with on Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype and more traditional platforms like the phone and even, gasp, in person), noted that the integration with current tools is the biggest advantage. I’m not convinced that integration is enough.

Opportunities for new networks must be based upon new concepts of how to bring people together in unique ways for distinct purposes. LinkedIn has established itself in the professional arena. Facebook has positioned itself in the more general/ all purpose area. For startups (and yes, I think Google counts as a start up in this area, albeit a start up with tremendous experience and resources), these mammoth social networks are hard to compete with. Because the ultimate reason people use these networks is not the service itself, but the other users.

Let’s get creative Google and utilize your greatest advantage… search. Why not create niche networks that allow people to connect with those searching for similar information. So if I am looking for “Berkeley Heights, NJ” I can (selectively, of course) choose to connect with others who have done the same search in the past 30 days. There’s your circle.

Have you had a chance to try Google+?  Please leave a comment and share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

A Listening Exercise – Gaining Information and Encouraging Action from Your Social Media Communities

Monday, June 13th, 2011
Flickr Image: Sebastian Fritzon

Flickr Image: Sebastian Fritzon

Valerie Simon

Listening, as I define it, is not a passive exercise. Listening is not a matter of simply hearing words. Listening requires a concentrated method of digesting the information, and using that information to take action. So like any exercise program, I’ll recommend you do a quick check up before starting to strengthen your listening efforts.

Check Up
Take a quick pulse: Review your business objectives and marketing plan. Keep in mind that social media participation should be integrated with your overall communications plan.

Set Goals:  What business objectives will your social media participation help you to achieve?

  • Sales
  • Donations
  • Event attendance
  • Customer Service (response/retention/loyalty)
  • Brand Awareness
  • Crowd sourcing/ product development
  • Membership/Admissions
  • Communications amongst different stakeholders
  • Recruitment
  • Thought leadership

Warm Ups
Who are you trying to reach? Consider what social media channels will be most beneficial for your organization. Stretch. Extend beyond Facebook and Twitter. Consider Flickr, YouYube, Tumblr, LinkedIn and seek out forums and blogs with strong communities.  BurrellesLuce offers several tools to help get you warmed up quickly, including ContactsPlus™, which helps you to identify new blogs by matching up a current release with those bloggers who are writing on similar topics, and Social Media Monitoring and Engagement solution, Engage121, which enables you to explore what is being said across social media channels and effectively build and manage your online communities.

Are you planning/prepared to provide immediate responses? The W Hotels “Whatever/Whenever” promise may well be on its way to becoming the standard, rather than the exception, in customer service. Social media allows stories to break and quickly spread at any time of day. I encourage those using BurrellesLuce’s Social Media Monitoring and Engagement solution, to experiment with setting up alerts using filters such as Klout rank or sentiment to sift through the noise and make sure that they are advised of critical information whenever it breaks. Of course a quick, well thought out and efficient response across all channels is critical.

Do some heavy lifting, err, searching. Investigate the current conversations being said about you, your competitors and the industry. Identify recurring themes and study trends. Review sentiment and compare how the conversations vary across different platforms. Identify key influencers and pay attention to the language and tone. What topics evoke passionate responses?

Don’t get stuck monitoring the same keywords you have always deemed important. As you study industry trends and influencers, adjust your searches accordingly. Begin listening to your communities even when they are not actively speaking about “relevant” topics. What do they care about? Consider what new topics or audiences may be interested in your organization.

Set yourself up to succeed over the long term. Put in place a structure to collect the data that will allow you to learn from both your communities and your own social behaviors. There are a myriad of ways to measure social media buzz, sentiment, link tracking, share of voice, fans and followers, geo-location check-ins… slow down and take another pulse check. Review business objectives and consider what metrics can best indicate whether your activity is supporting those business objectives. As you embark upon this listening exercise, look at the data in a number of different ways.

Cool Down
Evaluate all of the data you have collected and all your new knowledge regarding trends and influencers. Go back to your business goals and consider how you will align your social media activity to meet those goals. What channels are best suited for your organization? Where should your voice be heard? Where can you build a strong community that will offer business results? Participating in social media will require an investment of time, so consider the time and resources you can devote. 

Prepare to Play
Listening exercise complete, you are ready for the big game… engagement. But that, my friends, is another post!

What would you add to your listening exercise? What activities are included in your daily listening routine? Share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.