Update: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.
This is the second post in a 6 part series on using social media. In this second installment, I look at search feeds.
I recommend using a reader to have a single place for reviewing your feeds through the day vs. having mutliple emails in your inbox.
Online Reputation Management: With search feeds, this helps you to track mentions of your company throughout the Web, in blogs and Twitter. Depending on the content of the blog posting or tweet, consider commenting or tweeting back respectively. While the response may be a couple of hours or even a few days later, people appreciate that you have responded. It demonstrates that you’re listening to your audiences.
Competitive Intelligence: While you set up feeds for your company, also set up feeds for your competitors’. This way, you can stay on top of any media, blog or tweet mentions regarding your competitor. And when appropriate, participate in the converation with your company’s perspective or introduce your company to the blogger and twitterer.
Industry Trends: Set up searches for key terms within your industry. This will help you to stay on top of industry trends that you can share with your colleagues or uncover additional reporter/bloggers/twitterers within the industry.
Setting up RSS feeds with specific search keywords is an easy way to monitor your company’s online reputation while keeping tabs on your competition. The search results can also uncover new reporters and bloggers who may be interested in your company, further expanding your relationships with key influencers.
Other posts in the series:
Update: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.
There has been a lot written about how to use social media and what the ROI is from using the various tool. Instead of trying to reach all audiences, I view social media as another communications avenue to expand the reach of your company’s specific audiences and customers.
If I was in an agency, I would list my key objectives and list the tools that would help accomplish these objectives. Since I’m not, I did what was easiest – listing the different tools I use and bullet pointing how each helps me. See how lazy I got going in-house…=)
I originally was going to have one post but I realized this would be too long. As such, I will have a multi-part series focusing on one segment of separate tools. In this first installment, a look at microblogging.
Twittering a Twhirl
I use Twitter as my main microblogging platform, with Twhirl to manage personal and corporate accounts. Check out my previous post on Twhirl for more information.
- Brand awareness: Twitter is gaining traction as viable avenue for brand awareness. I anticipate seeing more company brands using Twitter as a viable communications vehicle. Similar to a website, they will need to have a Twitter handle; otherwise, we’ll start seeing “Twittersquatting” happening.
- Customer Engagement: Twitter is another way for your company to connect and engage with customers by following the customer’s brand, a specific department or individual for updates. This is especially true if your customers tend to be early adopters of technology. I recommend responding to appropriate tweets, especially when your company is mentioned or if people are discussing a related topic.
- Industry Conversations: I recommend following key individuals, such as reporters, analysts and industry luminaries, who are relevant to your company. In this way, you can keep a pulse of topics important to them and provide insight from your company’s perspective.
- Competitive Intelligence: Consider following individuals from competitive companies. This is one way for monitoring what competitors are doing and who they may be speaking with.
- Corporate Marketing: And I purposely put this last. The first tendency is to only tweet updates about what your company is doing – new webinars, white papers, etc. While this is important, you need to balance this with tweets about industry topics that would be of interest to your followers or links to interesting articles. Remember, participate in conversations. It’s not a one-way marketing channel.
While microblogging is still “new” to many marketers and public relationships professionals, it is quickly becoming a de facto need like a website. Since microblogs are bite-sized updates, a more intimate environment is created between the Twitterer and her followers.
A company that engages its audiences with microblogging can further increase its brand awareness, while creating a stronger community.
Retweet this Link
To make is easy for you to tweet this on Twitter, copy and paste this snippet:
RT – Using social media. Part – microblogging: http://twurl.nl/rorux8.
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I recently asked a question on LinkedIn about what were the top three challenges that marketers faced in 2009. The responses were varied and unexpected in many ways. Based on those responses, I believe the following will be the top three marketing challenges in the coming year:
Budget is definitely one concern for marketers. As companies reduce their budgets for 2009, this may limit on what marketers can do with their programs. Investments may be kept to a minimum while ROI on tactics will be scrutinized more.
Despite budget woes, marketers will have to increase company visibility within the industry and amongst customers. SEM/SEO, public relations, social media and other perceived “inexpensive” tactics will be used more by marketers.
Now more than ever, customers are in the driver’s seat. More vendors are chasing an ever limited number of customers and budgets. Customers can wring out more value per dollar spent. In 2009, the challenge will be cost-effectively reaching those customer with money to spend. The challenge is not overwhelming these customer with too much information or using social media in such a way to create customer backlash (credit to Linda Franklin for this insight).
In the end, it’s about keeping customers LOYAL to YOUR company, products and services.
Getting More out of Less
Inevitably, there will be some layoffs or organizational restructuring that will happen, if not already completed. That means those remaining will have to do more with less. Do more marketing. Drive move leads. Place more media stories. All with less.
Most importantly, marketing organizations that are able to strategically align all functions toward the same objective will reap the rewards. While this isn’t something revolutionary, it resonates more now than ever. Those companies who can communicate a clear brand and message to the marketplace and customers will be well positioned as we come out of this downturn.
This isn’t the first time, or the last time, we will see an economic downturn. I may be trivializing this but in the end, it comes down to results – who can do what with the most results for the least amount of money.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? What are you recommendations?
Customer participation in your marketing and PR efforts provides validation of your products and services. While you may have many satisfied customers, getting them to YES is one of the challenges we face as marketers.
Sales is your friend: A happy customer is more likely to renew contracts. Believe me, sales will know who these folks are and can point you to the right contact or make the initial introductions. As long as you’re providing something of value to the customer, sales will support as much as they can.
Engage customers: Engage customers as part of a strategic, white glove outreach program. This way, you engaged in a conversation about their programs and provide another contact for the customer. Otherwise, you’re just constantly asking for a favor.
Listen, listen, listen: This is very key. Engagement is more than talking at a customer. It requires the ability to listen and respond to your customer.
Highlight the benefits: Once you’ve engaged the customer, and depending on the implementation, highlight the benefits of participating in the customer program, such as increased brand awareness, positive positioning, etc. If your customer contact is career minded, then mention how marketing and PR can raise their profile within their industry.
Be sensitive to their day-to-day demands: Ok, let’s assume that your customer is open to doing PR/marketing. It’s important to confirm what types of activities he or she is open to doing, such as a testimonial, media opportunity or case study, and how often. The last thing you want to do is embark on a case study but the client is too busy to review or approve the final draft. And being aware of availability will help you to prioritize PR/marketing requests.
These are just a few suggestions that you can consider. Are there others that you’ve used to get a customer to participate in your programs?
One of my most popular posts last year was my summary of 2008 trend lists. I’m a little late this year, but better late than never =) When I look back at my three trends, it seems odd that I selected the growth of blogomerates, social media connections for PR and long tail PR. To me, these seem almost second nature!
So what do I think will be top trends for 2009? Here are my top three:
Brands that participate in conversations will thrive: Ever more so than ever, the need to participate in conversations with your community/customers is more important. Not only from a brand management perspective, but also for demonstrable bottom line results. The brand that connects with me – either for bad or good – will more likely get my attention. And when the nexy crisis emerges, those that are transparent and timely will succeed.
All things virtual will rise in popularity and then wane by the end of the year: Right now, all companies are spooked by the economy. I think this is a knee jerk reaction that will benefit companies that can help move physical events online (note: my company provides virtual events solutions). While this will provide immediate cost and time savings by reducing travel and hotel costs, I think that the pendulum will swing back by the end of 2009. However, once this trend begins, I believe that companies will reconsider which events to hold in the physical world vs. the virtual one.
It’s not about the tools, it’s about the information (attributing this to Stuart Miniman): I was chatting with Stuart when he made this comment, and he’s right. Right now, we’re enamored with all the tools – Twitter, Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Facebook, Friendfeed etc. – but what this all boils down to is the how to receive and send information. The company able to bring manage and disseminate information based on audience preferences – and in real-time – will have an advantage in the age of overwhelming information.
Other 2009 Predictions:
Peter Himler over at The Flack beat me to a list of 2009 trends. These focus on social media, marketing and public relations
Influential Marketing Blog – 2009 Predictions from the Pros at PSFK
Conversation Agent – The Future is Now. Valeria looks at the future of the agency and company in this post.
Scott Monty’s Social Media Predictions for 2009
Marketing Pilgrim – Why 2009 is THE Year for Social Media
Chris Brogran – 8 Marketing Bloggers to Watch in 2009
Charlene Li of The Altimeter – Predictions for 2009
Judith Hurwtiz’ Weblog – My Top Eleven Predictions for 2009 – predictions for the world of software.
Inside the Marketer’s Studio – David Berkowitz’s Marketing Blog – Search Trends to Watch in 2009
It’s All Virtual – 2009: The Year We Go Virtual
The Junta42 blog – 42+ Social Media and Content Marketing Predictions for 2009 - Nice summary of predictions from savvy marketers.
Paul Dunay’s Buzz Marketing for Technology – Top 10 Marketing Predictions for 2009 - Paul selects his top 10 from the Junta42 Blog list.
What’s Next Blog – B.L. Ochman’s 2009 Online Marketing Predictions: Mobile, Better Lighting, Subscriptions Rule - I like prediction number 7 =)
Collaborative Thinking – 2009: Planning Considerations for Enterprise 2.0. While not a “trends” list, it is an interesting list to read nonetheless
Read Write Web – 2009 Web Predictions. Predictions by the staff at RWW – acquisitions, business plans and more!
Micropersuasion – Reading Tea Leaves for 2009 in Google Search Data. I love Steve Rubel’s approach to data mining information from Google Search to analyze trends for 2009.
Social Media Explorer - More 2009 Predictions… And A Few Of Your Own. Jason Falls is a very insightful guy. He brings us predictions from Mindsalt. I like the one about time snippets vs. time slot for attention.
Small Business Hub – Online Marketing: 2009 Predictions. Small Business Hub is HubSpot’s blog. They once again bring us a wealth of predictions for this year and even beyond.
Furrier.org – Clay Shirky Media Business Market – His Forecast for 2009 – Look for the deeper meaning within his words . John Furrier writes this blog about all things Silicon Valley and tech. John does the heavy lifting to better understand Clay Shirky’s 2009 predictions.
Experience Marketing Perspective – Five Marketing Trends that Will Boom in 2009. Kristin Morris brings a fresh perspective with her trends regarding virtual events, mobile marketing and more.
my 2 cents – PR Forecast for the New Year. David Reich provides some interesting insights about PR for 2009. I’m not sure if these are pessimistic, optimistic or a bit of both =)!
Brendan Cooper – provides his thoughts for social media in 2009
Daniel Durazo’s Blog – Daniels highlights his top public relations trends for 2009. Daniel is correct that the landscape has changed and those who can keep up with it will succeed.
Leave a comment if you have any additional trend lists you would like added.
Previously, monitoring one’s corporate reputation was much more difficult – you had to get physical copies of the articles and paste the articles onto paper. Yes – I’ve been in PR THAT long! LexisNexus then made the job easier with electronic clippings. Now, with blogs, Twitter, electronic archives of print articles and plethora of online communities, there is much much more to monitor.
Right now, the main way that I monitor my company’s reputation is through RSS feeds of specific term searches via Google or Twitter search. So I was curious to try out Andy Beal’s Trackur service. I signed up for the free 14 day trial and here’s my take on this service.
Trackur is pretty simple to use. You enter in your search term, fill out a couple of other crtieria and bammo – you get results. Depending on the term, you may get a mix of results that you have to tweak. I tested the terms from Google to filter these results out, such as exact phrase or asking it not to include results with specific URL. Unfortunately, I seemed to get a mixed result.
I also didn’t see any Twitter or LinkedIn results in the resutls. Interestingly, more results appeared when I searched for my personal online moniker “csalomonlee.”(NOTE – if you see my full name, I’m usually responding as a company representative).
Once you’ve played around with the searches to get what you want, you can save that search, set it up as a RSS feed and start monitoring what’s being said about your company.
Power of Influence
One feature that I did like is the ability to determine the influence of a particular outlet, which is key in PR when thinking from a purely metric perspective. While I liked the idea of an influence ranking, I wasn’t clear how this ranking worked.
I assume that a higher number indicated more influence. I looked at a couple of different sites and the corresponding influence rankings. I was confused by why some sites had higher numbers than others. If you see the below screenshots, gooruze.com had a higher number than my blog. The site had more blog mentions and had a registered traffic rank, but my ranking was only 5 below Gooruze’s.
Conclusions: The Final Analysis
I think Trackur has the potential to be a useful tool for monitoring your online reputation. The cost per month is not outrageous and within reach of most individuals and corporations.
I would like to see some additional enhancements, such as keeping preferences for viewing search results (expanded or not) or providing thumbnail rollover explanations of the key elements within the tool. There are some nice touches like the ability to add notes to specific items, which is helpful when viewing your results over time, or the ability to view results in summary or abstract form.
And note to Andy – you may want to update your video intro as Google does offer RSS feeds for searches =)
Accuracy: 3.5 out of 5
Ease of Use: 5 out of 5
Cost: Won’t break the bank
Last night, I went to my first Social Media Club organized by the San Francisco/Silicon Valley chapter. Larrissa of Livingston Communications mentioned it to me – while she wasn’t able to attend, I’m glad she told me about it. Yes – I know what you’re thinking – you ONLY just heard about the SMC? Well, I AM getting old =)
The event was held in San Mateo and was surprisingly well attended – about 40-50 people. There were 6 social media case studies being presented, highlighting not only program strategies but also how these campaigns contributed to increased awareness in the marketplace.
Last night’s event was Ustreamed and my understanding is that presentations will be available. I’ll update when I find out more. Briefly, they included:
My Starbuck’s Ideas – Execution and results to date
Sutter Health Castro Valley – Using a blog to reach your community and how to counsel your client on the steps
Nero Product Launch – Blogger outreach program and how this increased conversations about Nero
Dwell Conference – How to use social media to drive attendance to a physical event and create a self-sustaining community until the next event
Network Solutions‘ Social Media Efforts – Discussed how the program began, getting executive buy-in and results
Get Out the Vote Video – Driving views and comments for a YouTube video
Time – Doh! It takes time and these case studies demonstrated this once again. Set proper expectations with your client or executives.
Comment – Take time to respond to people’s comments. It signals that you’re listening and helps to continue the conversation. And it seems to be an underutilized strategy for YouTube videos.
Measure – Each of these case studies had key objectives and success was measured against these objectives, such as achieving 3 million views on YouTube, selling a number of registrations to an event, or reach of postings to key audience.
Update – Be Visual – David Peck was frustrated by PowerPoint for his preso, which lead to a quick chat before he left for the evening. I concur with him – Shashi presented a photo of Geoff Livingston with boxes of Motrin in his hands. No words but everyone in the room instantly knew what that meant. While I couldn’t provide this feedback to David, I would have recommended doing a flickr stream intead – upload his images to a dedicated folder and set to a slide presentation or just manually forward. I don’t know – that was an initial thought but getting out of PowerPoint or not using it at all was the key takeaway.
Conclusion: Social Media IS an Opportunity for PR
Per my last post about Will Social Media Kill PR panel summary, this meeting demonstrates the opportunity for PR to leverage social media for higher value to clients, while providing demonstrable results. It’s about more than blogger relations (though Mike McGrath did present on this), it’s about how to reach your client’s core audience and achieving key marketing objectives. Social media is just one of the ways to achieve this.
What do you think?
Other Social Media Posts
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.