The Social Media Juggler

19 05 2010

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I haven’t been keeping up with this blog for the past few weeks and my reason is going to sound odd — I’ve been SWAMPED with social media! So wait, that means I’ve been doing so much social media that I couldn’t keep up with it all? I guess that’s it. My company has five separate Twitter accounts. Yes, five. We have a general company news and activities one that my boss, the VP of communications runs. The VP of government affairs has his own account and he gives updates as to what he is doing on Capitol Hill for our industry. Two of our membership programs have their own accounts to build the brand, get out messaging about specials and generate membership. Finally, our trade show has its own account to generate excitement and attendees for the show. Each has a distinct purpose and they show our members who are generally over the age of 50 that our company is moving with the times, we are invested in learning what we can about how the industry is growing and what new ways our members can expand their outreach to increase their business.

Back to the point, my neglect of this blog came from a meeting I went to a few weeks ago where I volunteered to run one of the membership programs Twitter accounts. It was easy, fun and a new aspect of my job that I was excited to grow in. Tweeting for a company is very different from tweeting for yourself and I was eager to try my hand at it. Suddenly, a week later, my boss was taking a few weeks off so I’ve also taken over the general company account while she’s been out. Then, the girl who was handling the trade show account wasn’t really attending to it because she was too busy, and some how I ended up taking that over as well. At the moment, I am running three of our company’s five Twitter accounts. Needless to say, I’ve been a little distracted.

It has been quite interesting juggling all of these different ‘voices’ but that all have the same essential message – to join our company.  I started using HootSuite because it lets me schedule Tweets which is by far the most valuable tool for a corporate Twitter account.

Try these tips for your business Twitter account:

  1. Schedule Tweets. I have found that you usually have multiple messages that you want your followers to get, but it’s best to space them out. You never know when people are reading their Twitter feed, or if they are following a lot of people, your Tweets can quickly get lost in the shuffle.
  2. ALWAYS provide a link. Even if it’s just back to your homepage, you want your followers to have some reference, a way to find out more info. If your Tweet gets re-Tweeted(RT)ed, then the info needs to be available.
  3. Create Hash tags. If you make a hash tag from your company’s name, show names, program names, etc. this will not only reinforce your brand so that others know the acronyms, but allow others to follow news about your topics if they are later followers. It’s an easy way to stay in control of what Twitter searches bring up about you and your company.
  4. Play well with others. You have a few followers and you are following a few people. So RT what they say if its relevant (hopefully that’s why you’re following them, they are relevant to your company). This way they will RT for you (hopefully) and get your message out and you both learn and build a relationship. The relationship is key.

Here are a few things I have learned:

  1. Follow with intent to interact. Don’t follow someone unless you care about what they say. First of all, there is a ratio you have to maintain. in order to follow more than 2,000 people you must have X amount of followers. Plus, it just become clutter to follow people you aren’t going to read from or talk to. The point of social media is to interact and be social. Following someone because you’re hoping they will follow you back JUST to increase your number of followers, doesn’t work and defeats the purpose.
  2. Don’t double dutch. That’s right. I made up a new term. It means don’t schedule the same tweet for multiple accounts at the same time. If you’re Tweeting for one company or client from multiple accounts, chances are both accounts have similar followers. If they see that two accounts Tweeted the exact same message at the exact same time, it takes away from the interaction and both accounts lose their individual voice. Each account has a separate purpose, and while they have the same larger goal at the end of the day, the point is that they should have slightly different target audiences.

A small pet peeve of mine is I’ve noticed some people who RT the same messages often. They have a brilliant blog, but seem to just use their Twitter account to promote the blog posts. That’s great and a good use, BUT it’s not good or helpful to RT about old blog posts that you’ve already Tweeted about using the same messaging. This makes me not want to interact with you because I feel like you’re not reading what other people are Tweeting, you’re just mechanically RTing all of your old Tweets.

The most important thing is to remember voice and target audience. The rest is gravy.

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Tips for Conference Calls

15 04 2010

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Yesterday I hosted a media conference call for my company. I noticed a few things that I thought were common knowledge, but apparently they aren’t. This was done in press conference style where there are a few speakers and then a Q&A session for the reporters. Simple, right? Wrong.

The next time you are listening in to a conference call or a Webinar or any session where you have speaking capabilities think about these few tips…

1. MUTE your line until you want to speak. I know this sounds obvious, but out of 25 lines on the call yesterday, most people did not do this. The rest of us don’t need to hear your twitter feed updating, you typing or any other sounds from your computer.

It shocked me how many people coughed into the line while the speakers were presenting their main points. This made it difficult for everyone to hear.

2. Speak loudly and clearly. Again, this should be a no-brainer. If you’re too loud, we can turn down the volume on our phones, but if you’re too quiet and we turn up our phone volume, then its disruptive when others speak at a normal tone which is then too loud.

3. Always introduce yourself, each time you speak. When many contributors on the line, we can’t see you, so let us know who you are!

Press conferences being held over conference call are a great way to get people together, save money and get your message out.

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Why I love #BeMyGuest Month

11 03 2010

Guest Post by Lauren Novo

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In case you haven’t heard, March has been dubbed a month of mutual blogging. Adam Vincenzini and Emily Cagle recently launched the initiative, calling bloggers to write at least one guest post for someone else and to feature at least one guest blogger on their site.

Already, the #bemyguest hashtag has exploded on Twitter. Bloggers from all industries are uniting, ready and willing to partner up.

It’s pretty awesome and this is why I love it:

It’s an easy way for bloggers to meet and get to know each other. I’ve had no problem connecting with other public relations students and professionals because of hashtags like #PRStudChat; #HAPPO; #PRSA; #EntryPR; etc. But beyond a PR pro-to-be, I’m also a dedicated blogger, and I’m glad to find an opportunity to get to know others, regardless of their industries.

I love featuring guest bloggers. It’s quite ironic that this new initiative started just days after my two month long, “Art of” interactive series ended. But that doesn’t mean I can’t and won’t participate. And even though this is primarily a blog about PR, social media and life as a student/young professional, I’m looking forward to finding someone outside that niche to contribute.

As I just mentioned, I’ve established myself as a PR pro-to-be blogger. However, there’s more to me than that. I’m an avid movie and theatre goer. I love board games, big cities, Disney World and chocolate. I want to publish a book one day and I’ve had a lifelong desire to be a Tap dancer on Broadway. This month, I’d like to write a guest post for a blog unrelated to PR. I want to move outside my niche and just have fun writing. [I already have one opportunity coming up at The Next Great Generation Blog. Stay tuned for my post about what the movie 500 Days of Summer says about Gen-Y!]

So yeah, that pretty much sums up why I love this new initiative. And now I ask: who will do me the honor of guest appearing on my blog? And who can I write for? Remember, I’m not looking for a PR post transaction.

Happy Blogging, All!

Learn more about Lauren and read her blog a laurennovo.wordpress.com.





Who owns social media? Are you in the ring

10 03 2010

Guest post by Beth Carroll

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2010 has already become the year for social media. While 2009 was spent learning and testing, it’s only in the past month I’ve noticed clients dedicating bigger budgets to the social web.

Social networks have become slicker and more marketing savvy. Facilities such as Twitter’s new local trends have allowed us to be more sophisticated in targeting messages to the right audiences and mobile technology has given rise to a new generation of location based social networks such as Foursquare.

As the budgets increase alongside the opportunities, the fight for ownership of the social media realm has got serious.

A new specialist agency is born every day, in house teams who have been experimenting in an unstructured way are starting to form strategies, ad teams believe they own everything and even customer services wants in on the act.

While I believe there is a place for social media across an organisation, there must be someone leading the herd for strategies to be implemented coherently.

Not surprisingly, for me the responsibility has to lie with the PR team.

We’re experienced in knitting together different strands of the marketing mix to create holistic strategies. And social media is about communicating messages effectively through conversations – that’s what we do.

The question is, will we win the fight? Read an issue of PR Week from 2009 and you will see social media discussed at arms length as a new and scary entity. This year, the gloves are off and PR Week is now running a blog called Firehose specifically dedicated to discussing issues within digital media.

PR agencies small and large are honing their social media offerings – some, such as Cow PR’s Rabbit, have created specific digital offshoots.

We may be performing well in round one but there’s still a long way to go before the bell rings.

Only results will reveal the true victors.

About Beth Carroll

Beth is head of social media at Ash Communications in London. She is a fan of social media but also likes chickens and rock climbing. To find out more about Beth, check out her blog sociauxanswers.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @beth_carroll.

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Crises: The Twitter Effect

8 03 2010

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Guest Post By David Clare

In Public Relations crises happen all the time. Hopefully not all the time for your organisation, but in the entire industry they happen quite often.

An organisation would hopefully have some sort of plans to call upon when a crisis presents itself. Quality issues management before hand would see to that. These plans would have information on who to communicate to, how to communicate and more importantly what to communicate. The key to handling a crisis is therefore communication.

Communication has changed a great deal in such a short time. Social Media is the new kid on the block, traditional media and heavy users of old formats were wary of this new medium, many barely recognising it as any more than a fad. Now it is commonly accepted that Social Media is important for communication, since it is the format a vast majority of an organisations publics will use.

In a crisis there is one perfect contender for the method of communication… Twitter. This Micro-Blogging Social Network is perfect in the event of a crisis. Tweets are short and to the point. Information in a crisis is not always available, and going on the radio, television or interviews for print would require spreading any information available pretty thin.

Twitter can update using whatever information available, even with little information it could look more substantial due to the limitations of 140 characters.

Twitter has reported many crises now, The Miracle of the Hudson River Plane crash is a major case study. This story broke on Twitter, and the first image of the plane was on TwitPic – which also crashed, due to the high number of people trying to access the image.

Others disasters have occurred and the stories have broken on Twitter. The Jakarta bombings in 2009 and the Turkish Airlines plane crash in Amsterdam. Some may not break on Twitter, but the publicity is multiplied by the sheer amounts of tweeting. From my own observations Haiti was a trending topic non-stop for three weeks.

What needs to be done now is for organisations to use Twitter more and more in crisis management. The tweets are perfect for updating publics and journalists. It can also help the image of the organisation in crisis. By simply using Twitter it sends out the message that you are willing to communicate, listen and sympathise with people affected. The Marriott group had this exact reaction when they used Twitter to communicate after the Jakarta Bombings mentioned earlier.

So when you create your Twitter plan, don’t just use it for customer service, think of the bigger events that may occur. Plan now for using Twitter in a crisis, and in the unlucky event a crisis may occur it should be a smoother ride.

Check out David and more of his ideas here: www.theprview.co.uk

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