A lot of PR firms are stating that they have social media capabilities and can help develop your strategy in this arena. So I thought, how many are actually practicing what they’re preaching?
I decided to see which PR firms were actively participating in social media. [update 2/20/09] I initially evaluated PR firms listed on O’Dwyer’s list of top 100 independent PR firms. This list was based on worldwide fees for firms with major US operations. As such, some prominent firms, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Ketchum PR and others. Since this post was published, the list has been exanded to include firms that have proactively included information in the comments or email. It is now sorted alphabetically and includes different types of firms, such as IR, healthcare and technology.
Some points to keep in mind:
- I looked at if the agency had a blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page (both group and/or fan), LinkedIn Group
- While there are individuals within each agency who have great online presences, I was seeking corporate presence. So some fields may be marked as “none” as a result
- And since I did this myself, I was trying to maximize my time:
* I didn’t categorize the type of PR each firm did – I took the list at its word
* If the blog wasn’t listed on the home page or easily found via a sitemap, I assumed there was none or you don’t really want me to find your blog
* I searched on the agency’s name or common abbreviation as presented on their website. Anything more exotic or too cute, would not have been found
* For Twitter, I used Twitter search or tried to manually type in what seemed like an appropriate Twitter handle
* I used the group search functions found on Facebook and LinkedIn respectively
* I decided not to look at other sites like delicious, slideshare.net, flickr, etc., frankly, because I was doing this myself =); however, I did include it if the agency made it easy to find
- Almost all of the agencies did NOT link to their profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. from their website. I would’ve expected this on their Contact Us page or linked from the Blog but this was very rare.
- While those who had blogs did a good job of putting the blog link front and center on the home page, some were too cute and hid the link under a different section of the website. If you’re one of these agencies and I found your blog regardless, it’s because it was listed on your site map.
- 39 agencies had blogs; 28 had Twitter profiles with one having a hashtag but no Twitter profile; 35 agencies had Facebook Group pages with two establishing fan pages; and 25 had LinkedIn Group pages while two created company pages
So let’s see how this little experiment works. If you’re a PR agency and I have incorrect information, please provide the corrections below or write a post that links back. I will then update the listing as quickly as I can. And if you have accounts with Flickr, YouTube and Slideshare.net, let me know.
But If you don’t have a social media presence, tell me why. I want to give folks the benefit of doubt. I was able to format the list into a table below captured the list in a jpg (couldn’t get it to format correctly, sorry!) or you can download a pdf version of this list. visit the public wiki and make changes to the table.
Table of PR Firms and Social Media Presence
Update: 2/19/09 – This table was updated to be in alphabetical order, includes additional PR firms not on the original list, and eliminates “none” from the table. You can also visit the PR Firms Social Media Public Wiki to make changes.
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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.
Update: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.
This is the third post in a 6 part series on how to use social media. In this third installment, I highlight how yoru can participate in social networking sites.
Social Networking Sites
Marketers are seeking to break into several social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. From my perspective, there seems to be two popular models right now – create a group or fan page or participate in existing communities (what Jeremiah Owyang calls “fishing where the fish are“). The former requires dedication to manage the community and ensure that there is fresh content. The latter requires participation in a group without the onus of owning that community.
And while I believe social media should be an integral part of B2B marketing, the reality is that this takes a concerted effort and time. As such, I recommend aligning your efforts with the latter strategy until more staff or focus can be given to the former. While there are different communities to join, LinkedIn has some benefits that you should consider.
Why? I hate to say this, but frankly, of all the social networking sites, organizations can be overtly salesy on LinkedIn. I know, I know – that isn’t the point. So let me be clear, I DON’T RECOMMEND THAT YOU SELL FROM THE PLATFORM. Rather, apply the same rules you would apply elsewhere – be transparent of who you are and offer valuable information. So even when others are being blatantly self-promotional, you and your company are seen as contributory. You’ll see what I mean below.
With that said, here are the aspects of LinkedIn that I recommend:
LinkedIn Answers: Monitor questions for topics that are you related to your company. When appropriate, respond to relevant questions to position you and your company as an industry expert. There will be instances when you can recommend your company as a prospective vendor. Again, you have to be careful that you’re not too self-promotional as your answer can be flagged as inappropriate. Overall, LinkedIn Answers is a good way to provide brand awareness for your company. And since LinkedIn Answers are searchable, your responses may appear in Google search results.
Groups: There are numerous groups within LinkedIn. It’s important to research specific groups as some may be more self-promotional than others. I recommend seeking groups with audiences that are relevant to your company and have good participation by its members. Once you join a group, monitor the discussions before fully participating.
Group Questions: Like LinkedIn Answers, each group incorporates this same functionality. By responding or asking questions in a group, you position your company as an industry expert to a targeted audience relevant to your business.
News: You can submit article links, like Facebook Share, that are relevant to the groups. In addition to blog posts, you can submit general news articles that mention your company or are relevant to your industry. You can also consider submitting submit press releases. While this is slightly self-promotional, make sure the article or press release discusses a larger trend of interest to the group.
Events: LinkedIn recently introduced a way for members to post events. If you have a webinar, in-person seminar or other gathering that you want to promote, LinkedIn events is a place to promote it. What I liked is that they have an option for “virtual events” as well. You can then share this event with your contacts as well as be searchable by other LinkedIn members. One drawback, in case you have to cancel the event, there doesn’t seem to be a way to delete the event.
Overall, LinkedIn is a great way to position your company or company spokesperson as an industry expert, while increasing brand awareness with key audiences. Your participation can also have competitive advantages as well when potential sales leads are researching and evaluating vendors.
And if you or a colleague is dedicated to moderating an online community, consider setting up your own group. HubSpot has done an excellent job at setting up their own group, moderating the group and finding synergy with their Facebook presence as well.
Other posts in the series:
I have only been on a Facebook for a year or so. I mainly use it to keep in touch with personal connections, and rarely use it for professional reasons. I believe that the “casual” aspect of Facebook does make it more difficult for business-to-business companies to leverage the full potential, with early success for consumer related companies.
With that said, I do see the potential of Facebook from a PR perspective:
Fan Club or Group?: Before setting up a group, you have the option of designating it as a group or fan club. Groups have membership limits while fans clubs don’t. It’s a small distinction but quite important depending on the size of the community you’re seeking to tap into.
Before setting up a fan club/group, consider these two points first:
1) Research what groups/clubs already exist in your area. Does it make sense to set up another page if there are hundreds of similar ones out there?
2) Participate in existing groups/clubs to network with people in your target audience. By “friending” these folks, you’re able to pull in your existing network if you do decide to launch your own group or fan club.
Share and Share Alike: With Facebook’s “share” function, you can provide a steady stream of company updates and information to your friend network. For example, my company recently received media coverage in Forbes and San Jose Mercury News. I shared this news to my connections.
I recommend sharing information that is relevant to your industry. Since you can add a comment, this helps to position your company as an expert on a specific topic. And is much quicker than drafting a blog post from scratch =)
In the end, you never know what information will catch a reporter/blogger’s eye for a possible article or posting.
Friending Reporters and Bloggers: If a reporter or blogger has agreed to be friends with you, the implication is that you’ve created or have an existing personal relationship. Depending on your level of “friendship,” you can send pitches via Facebook’s internal email system, which may break through the noise of emails. Just confirm that the person prefers to receive pitches this way. He or she may want to keep Facebook on a personal level while want “business” correspondence to be received in another format.
While I have not personally done this yet, I would just recommend being very careful of how and when you do this. As I wrote recently about HARO spam, the purpose of these tools is to create connections, not harvest emails and contact information. By doing so breaks the trust you’ve created.
Promote Events: Facebook enables people to send out event invitations to your friends. Great way to promote attendance for live events or webinars. Be sure not to over promote an event with multiple reminders.
Applications: As an open platform, Facebook offers different types of applications. These applications range from the silly – sending a beer – to useful – free VoIP phone calls or Twitter updates. For me, I’ve added the Twitter app to tie all my external personalities into Facebook. Determine which apps to incorporate based on the types of information your generating and which are appropriate for your company.
Some have even created complimentary applications within Facebook which have become wildly popular. As long as it’s relevant to your Facebook audience, is easy to use and understand and is relevant to your business, apps can be one way to get your business to your target audience.
Face Book Case Study:
I was seeking B2B examples of using Facebook and couldn’t find any Mike Nierengarten of (company?) did forward me this description of how they leveraged Facebook to drive students to an online animation school (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animation-Mentor-Online-Animation-School/14719464771):
Animation Mentor, an online animation school, is perfect for Facebook because it has tons of great content (video, events, pictures), a strong (current) student presence on the site, and our target customers (potential students) use the site regularly.
For Animation Mentor, we set up a profile to connect with current students. From there, we added a Facebook page and rolled those students into fans. We then created a Prospective Animation Mentor Student group for individuals who were interested in the school to connect and share thoughts. Finally, we promoted the page off of Facebook using an Animation blog.
Results: Facebook page ranks for targeted keywords on Google (e.g. #23 for “animation school”, #9 for “character animation”), we have over 700 fans with a mix of currents students and interested students interacting online, and we have an area for prospective students to address their concerns and interact directly with someone from the school in their space. We have also seen a near 3% conversion rate (i.e. complete an application) from the Facebook page.
Summary: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
I posted my question on Twitter and LinkedIn. I decided not to ask my Facebook network as my previous questions have received no answers. I overwhelmingly received more responses via LinkedIn. Why?
Twitter seems to elicit a lot of responses depending on the interest of your audience to that question and what other conversations are happening at the time. With the cacophony of voices, it’s very difficult, at least for me, to pose a question that elicits response. I did when I discussed the role of PR agencies but not for this question.
For LinkedIn, people are leveraging it as a business networking tool. The Q&A section is a great way to demonstrate your expertise in a specific topic, as I outlined in my previous post.
I think Lewis Green of BizSolutionsPlus said it best in his response: “I think LinkedIn and Plaxo Pulse are better social networking sites for non-invasive marketing and PR, which is the only way we should be promoting our brands within the social networking and social media worlds. We should be giving, not making an effort to get. That’s why providing free information, such as this Q&A offers us a chance to do so.”
1) LinkedIn great for professional networking and developing expertise with LinkedIn Answers
2) Twitter great for quick updates and breaking information to your company
3) Facebook is like a mini-site that has a social networking component. You need a wealth of relevant information to feed into the pages, while actively working to develop and maintain a community.
Other posts in the “Brave New World of Media Pitching” series:
All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.
OK – I previously wrote about how to manage my many online personalities here and here. Since those posts, I’ve reversed my previous position about my online reputation. The heart of it is managing relationships through the tools available to me.
In the end, PR is about relationships. How do you build, nurture and maintain them. However, it is challenging with the nature of PR – reporters moves, accounts change and an unending cycle of new account folks.
I read recently that the average number of jobs that today’s workers will have throughout their lifetime is about 12-14! With that type of churn, you’re expecting only a person to be in their current job an average of less than 2 years. Developing the relationships that are key to our industry require a long-term, patient approach.
What are the tools that enable me to identify, develop and maintain these contacts? I now have four ways for managing these online relationships:
Facebook - Despite my previous email about keeping my online reputation to a minimum, I realized that Facebook is another avenue for connecting with colleagues and industry contacts. By friending people, I can subscribe to a RSS feed to keep up to date on what’s happening. I still need to learn more about Facebook, but I’m starting to understand how Facebook differs from LinkedIn. Friend me and I’ll friend you back.
LinkedIn – I still use LinkedIn more for business contacts as I’ve had this account the longest. LinkedIn’s strength is when you’re looking for a job or for seeking advice from peers. I use LinkedIn Answers quite a bit for a professional perspectives. View My LinkedIn Profile
Twitter - I lost wrote that Twitter is changing how news/information is being dissemated. I just started getting into Twitter via Jeremiah Owyang. In fact, I responded to some questions about my company’s solutions as Jeremiah and CenterNetworks were viewing a webcast. Like Facebook, I’m realizing that Twitter is an important tool for following trends, competitors and my own company. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll follow you.
Personal blog – And of course this blog has enabled me to make good relationships. By linking to posts and commenting on other blogs, I’ve developed new relationships that wouldn’t have been possible. Whether a corporate or personal blog, I strongly believe that a blog is key if you want to engage in “blogger” relations. It demonstrates that you’re contributing and spending the time to understand the community.
Are there other ways that you manage your online relationships? Let me know.
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Here is this week’s of interesting articles. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues:
Dell Pulling Out All the Stops – According to Now Is Gone, Dell is taking social media/conversation a step further with the launch of Dell Shares – an investment relations related blog. Maybe transparency and conversation is currency for this economy. Hmmm, consider buying some Dell stock.
Digging It – Pro Net Advertising provides some simple tips for creating an interesting digg title. I haven’t tried venturing onto Digg yet, so if you have other helpful hints, let me know. When New Best Practices are Old - CK brings up a good point about a recent B2B marketing best practices report that was just published. From her perspective, these reports merely add to the echo chamber of what is believed to improve a product launch, versus truly unveiling best practices on what is happening around us. She plans to unveil her top ten best practices shortly.
Ninja Tracking Skills – I just started reading Distilled and they’re providing me with some interesting tricks for tracking web traffic. Very nifty indeed. So where’s my num chucks and stars…
What Does Language Say About You? – Lois Kelly posted an interesting article on the IAOC Blog. Lois points out how our writing reflects who we are. She analyzed writing from three different CEO blogs and brought up some interesting points.
Socializing Within the Enterprise - Read/Write Web has an interesting article about the use of social networking within the enterprise. This article raises what tools can/should be used in the enterprise and when. Personally, just more ways to have information overload =)
Brand Consumer for the Fan-sumer - Jeremiah Owyang does a great breakdown on MySpace and Facebook. This raises interesting questions for the brand marketer in each of us.
Search and Ye Will Find – First, congrats to Tom Pick for being named one of the top marketing blogs to watch. His article about how to truly leverage SEM is just an example of his approach to B2B marketing. Congrats again Tom!
Here’s this week of interesting articles. Enjoy!
What’s Your CEO’s Name? Seth Godin brings up a good point about the accessibility or permeability of a CEO to his/her customers. But since we only use the phone line for the fax, I guess I won’t have to worry about telemarketers in the future. Now, how do I get a hold of the Citibank CEO again…
What’s the Story Morning Glory? I’ve been reading Collaborative Thinking from Mike Gotta. He has some interesting thoughts. His most recent post highlights the backstory on products and the relation to corporate responsibility. This highlights how transparency is becoming an important component of every facet of business; thereby, enabling consumers to trust and participate with your brand, company and product.
What are You Doing on November 8? David Meerman Scott posted about this totally free event to hear from some of the best marketing gurus out there. Great way to get leads and phone charges for the sponsor, Conference Calls Unlimited. Heck, I actually remember the article, “A Brand Called You,” when it was first published in Fast Company. Does this date me?
Leave out the Welcome Mat Allen Stern of CenterNetworks did an interesting test of the power of welcome. For those coming from social sites, Allen greeted them with a welcome [site name]. Through his test, he increased the number of subscribers and ad clicks from these visitors. From a PR perspective, this raises some interesting questions in terms of how “social outreach” can have an impact on your client’s/company’s site traffic.
Tweet Tweet – Be Sweet B.L. Ochman writes about some Twitter dos and don’ts. Why do I have a feeling more people will be following in her footsteps? Frankly, I haven’t started this and don’t know if I want to get mired into another time suck! =)
Telling a Story Through Social Media Now Is Gone wrote how they posted a slide show from American Red Cross (I assume this is a client or someone is directly associated with the organization) regarding the recent fires in San Diego. The article highlights some thoughts before jumping into social media – all good PR tips.
So You Want Face Time? I like MarketingSherpa – they provide good, basic insight on how to leverage new tools for marketing and PR. Today’s lesson – how to market yourself and your company on Facebook. Damn, this means I probably have to spend more time on Facebook, which I was trying to avoid from an online reputation perspective.
Shorter Sentences Please I attended an internal seminar that said optimal sentence length was no more than 16 words. (16 words exact!) Mike Volpe of Small Business Hub highlights this for readability of online copy. Now to cut down my paragraph length pitches…
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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