Posts Tagged ‘Public Relations Society of America’


Experiment in Social Media by ‘Communicating the Experience’

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
PRSA-NCC Panel on "Communicating the Experience"

Flickr Image: Capital Communicator - 9/18/12 PRSA-NCC panel on Communicating the Experience featured Heather Freeman, Heather Freeman Media and Public Relations, moderator; Garrett Graff, editor-in-chief, Washingtonian; Amy McKeever, editor, Eater; Vanessa French, co-founder, Pivot Point Communications; and Carlisle Campbell, vice president, Ketchum.

The only way to succeed in social media is to experiment A LOT! One out of ten tries will be successful and two out of three will be somewhat successful, says Garrett Graff, editor-in-chief, Washingtonian. A panel at the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on Sept. 18 confirms his statement. All the panelists look for ways to communicate the experience, especially in relation to food.

Carlisle Campbell, vice president, Ketchum, speaking about the Double Tree by Hilton Cookie CAREavan Across America campaign, a winner of the 2012 Thoth Awards, says they focused on three key ways to connect to the public via social media:

  • a cookie confessional (video of consumers discussing cookie or Double Tree experiences)
  • swarm car (a Twitter contest for an office cookie party)
  • and an online sweepstakes.

The swarm car originally left executives nervous, but eventually provided additional opportunities, such as when the Atlanta office of the Associated Press won and tweeted their happiness.

Tips for Experimenting in Social Media

Incorporate photos into the mix: With the implementation of the Facebook timeline, Vanessa French, co-founder, Pivot Point Communications, advocates using a lot of pictures. Speaking of pictures, everyone agreed “food porn” is irresistible to the consumer. People love to post pictures of food, so organizations should take the lead and upload photos to their media properties.  

Leverage outreach to boost advocacy: French advocated outreach to local bloggers about events, which she finds can often lead to their posts being testimonials.

Know your audience: As with all campaigns, the key is to knowing what platforms your audience is using. In reviewing Facebook and Twitter, Graff comments Facebook is for following friends who are strangers and Twitter is for following strangers who are friends. French also says Facebook users do not like shortened links, unless they are coming from an established media company.

The panel considers Pinterest the new bright shiny tool, and brands need to evaluate it for usefulness for their campaigns. Graff says it is especially useful if you are targeting young women looking to get married, even if the wedding is not imminent. French commented on several non-profits, like the World Wildlife Federation, using it successfully. She also said many men are on Pinterst talking about technology.

Expand your communities: Amy McKeever, editor, EaterDC, says she stays in-touch with many smaller restaurants through Facebook and Twitter, and she finds Twitter to be a good way to gather news. She doesn’t post news to social media until it is posted to Eater, because her goal is to drive traffic to her site.

Align tactics with business goals and objectives: Campbell says the debate over creating a website versus a Facebook page is discussed in their office. Many of his younger colleagues advocate for the Facebook page. French says if you do choose a website, be sure to advocate for a blog, which will help with SEO.

QR codes and the next wave of social-technology…  French says she pitches QR codes to clients, but they are often not in the final campaign. Graff feels we are at a low point for QR codes, right now. They are not easy to use, so he says a simple link works just as well. But, he thinks a more advanced QR code that is universal might be on the horizon.

How are you and your clients continuing to experiment with social media? What new trends do you see on the horizon? What tried-and-true tactics continue to work in the present? Please share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

PRSA-NCC Members Told Social Media is ‘Where We Live Today’

Friday, May 11th, 2012

This post first appeared on Capitol Communicator 5.11.12 and is cross-posted with permission. 

PRSA-NCC session on Social Media

Shown in the picture, (l to r) Chris Brooks, Julie A. Weckerlein, Cappy Surette, Jennifer Mitchell and Gloria Huang. The session was moderated by Debbie Friez, vice president, BurrellesLuce.)

Five communicators made the case that social media is “where we live today” during a May 10 professional development session conducted by the Public Relations Society of America’s National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC).

The session at the Navy Memorial, “Social Media Tips and Success Stories for PR Pros,” featured Cappy Surette, director of public relations at U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; Chris Brooks, manager of social engagement at Hilton Worldwide; Julie A. Weckerlein, public affairs specialist at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Gloria Huang, senior social engagement specialist at the American Red Cross; and, Jennifer Mitchell, director of social media at BRG Communications. The session was moderated by Debbie Friez, vice president, BurrellesLuce.

Social media allows you to reach “a wider and more diverse audience than we can through the use of traditional media alone,” said Surrette. He and the other panelists said social media provides a great opportunity to attract advocates you may never have considered. These advocates, it was noted, can come to your aid when your organization is being challenged.

Brooks, who said his job at Hilton Worldwide is to put “heads in beds,” added social media allows you to build up a “community of supporters” in advance of a problem. He added , to be successful, you should consider multiple channels – such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Flickr. During his presentation, Brooks also offered these two observations: Approach social media in an organized manner and remember that “measurement is key.”

Regarding social media, Weckerlein told seminar attendees, “don’t be afraid to take calculated risks,” but use the “same voice” and present the “same message.” She also presented a case history from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showinghow cost effective social media can be for an organization. The real cost of the CDC campaign based on the Zombie Apocalypse preparedness relating it to hurricane preparedness was $87.00, but the campaign generated more than three million dollars in estimated marketing value.

In her presentation, Huang said, “you don’t have a choice on whether to do social media, the question is how well you do it.” She offered the followed social media principles employed by the American Red Cross: Be accurate, be relevant, be considerate, be transparent, be human and be compassionate.

Mitchell stated organizations do well in social media when they look beyond their own organization. As an example, she said that social media allows you to ask questions to your target audience to get them involved with your organization. In short, she said, personal relationships are more important than ever, so encourage your target audiences to interact with you. Content is king, and she reminded the audience, “People spread (share) awesome content. They don’t spread mediocre content. However, Mitchel also offered an observation that put social media into perspective: It’s an addition to, not a replacement for, “old” communications platforms.

The bottom line, according to Surrette, is that “You can’t control the sea of public opinion, but (using social media) you can at least navigate it.”

***

Phil Rabin has covered trends in communications for more than two decades for a number of media outlets. Currently, he is editor of Capitol Communicator, www.capitolcommunicator.com, an online resource working to bringing together communications professionals who influence and educate the Mid-Atlantic region by providing news, trends, education and opportunities for networking. Phil also is Vice President of West Glen Communications, www.westglen.com, and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

News in our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Amy Mitchell PEW Research Center Project for Excellence in JournalismA couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Amy Mitchell speak in St. Louis at the annual joint meeting of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC), of which BurrellesLuce was a sponsor. Mitchell, a native of St. Louis, is the deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEW PEJ).

Mitchell spoke to a group of roughly 250 communicators about the new news consumer and media trends for 2011.  It was an intensive presentation complete with plenty of charts, graphs and statistics. I won’t attempt to recap everything that was addressed but, here are some of my key takeaways:

  • No surprise that there is more news consumed now than a decade ago with 33 percent of Americans getting news via mobile devices, and 92 percent reporting the use of multiple platforms to get their news.
  • Internet is closing in but 74 percent still go to television for national and international news.
  • More of us “graze” for news with two minutes and 30 seconds being the average session per site, down from three minutes and six seconds last year – compared to about a half an hour with a daily newsprint product.
  • Sixty-two percent of internet users are on social media, and 77 percent of social network users get their news there.
  • Facebook is the third most popular referral site for news articles – following only Google and the original news site.

Contrary to those naysayers that keep saying print media is dead, this “old” media still provides most of our news!  In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.

There are lots of new players in the news game: citizens, non-profits, patch (local), commercial entities, corporate communications, newsmakers, privately funded sites, lobby and special interest groups. However, those producing news today have less control than ever in history. 

Mitchell said, “While news in the 21st century offers greater freedom today than ever to take part in the news conversations, it brings with it greater effort and responsibility.” 

So what does all this mean to you?  Obviously social networks are a very important distribution channel, but PR professionals must adapt to the “new” journalism – as a service, not a product that is platform specific. Communicators must be transparent with corporate messaging. What is your organization doing to adapt to the changing media landscape?