The response to my post on which PR firms hasd a social media presence was, well, more than I expected. My post received 66 comments while Jeremiah Owyang’s post had 47 comments. When reviewing the comments, you could see two audiences emerging:
- those who believe that you have to practice what you preach and
- those who believed that corporate presence wasn’t as important as much as the work that was done for clients and the individual participation within those firms
Regardless of which camp you belong to, the discussion resulted in the creationing of a wiki to allow PR firms to proactively update their profiles. To the A few firms that did proactively update their profilesm thank you. To those who haven’t yet, why not?
Overall, here is the breakdown:
- 109 firms are on the list
- 50 firms have blogs
- While 38 firms have corporate Twitter profiles, 5 firms deferred to individuals versus corporate Twitter. In total, 13 firms had individuals participating on Twitter.
- 47 firms had a Facebook presence, while 38 had LinkedIn
- 16 firms have started using Flickr, YouTube and Second Life
So, who else is missing from the list? Go to http://prfirmssocialmedia.pbwiki.com to make the udpates.
Online reputation management is an increasingly complicated process with the prevalence of online media, offline media, and social media. I previously wrote a post about Trackur and had the opportunity to see a demo of Radian6‘ solution. I was very impressed with the sophistication of what Radian6 has put together.
Radian6 seems to have a very comprehensive search capability through different types of media. The results are presented by publication date. I liked how the service provides a social profile of each media outlet, such as blogger info or Twitter followers/following/updates. You can quickly scan the results to determine “influence weight” (more on that below). You can also set up different searches to monitor your company, competitors and different topics.
Share of Conversation
I liked how Radian6 is able to pull info to create what they call share of conversation. It’s similar to “influence” but goes deeper to determine your share of voice on particular topics. Radian6 will do one time topic pull of the past 6 months to create a baseline. This way, you can track which how your marketing, PR and social media activities have impacted the company’s online reputation over time.
The basics are:
- River of news – this is all the mentions that you’ve received based on the criteria you set up for the search
- Influence widget – you have the ability to weight different criteria, for example number of inbound links, (what are other criteria).
- Trending – you can view the data in aggregate to spot trends. For example, did a free eBook create a spike on Twitter with retweets or a press release increase the online mentions through your news distribution.
- Conversation clouds – you can further drill down to see conversation clouds (similar to tag clouds), which allow you to sense keywords around a particular topic, company, etc.
- Reporting – the information can then be exported into different formats. You can send out a dashboard report and two of the widgets twice a day.
I like how Radian6 has incorporated a CRM flow to manage possible sales leads. For example, a dashboard is created to track key phrases, such as “online management tool”. Depending on the context, the lead generation manager can review and assign certain items to sales people. That is how Radian6 first identified me as a possible lead after my post about Trackur.
There is then an audit trail to determine the status of assigned items. While this isn’t linked to a larger CRM system like Salesforce, this is a nifty function to have for marketing and sales. It provides accountability and a steady source of prospective leads from multiple sources. Imagine that!
While the pricing is only a few hundred a month, it is more appropriate for larger companies or agencies (PR and marketing consultancies). The former can absorb the minimal cost while the latter will pass it on to their clients. SMBs or start-ups with tighter budgets may opp to forgo this in favor of other programs.
With all the ways the data can be viewed, I would be interested in seeing an executive dashboard that is a high-level breakdown on how a company’s share of conversation has evolved overtime. And if there was a way for a marketer to assign value to different campaigns, track the progress of “conversation” and then calculate ROI, that would be very interesting indeed.
Accuracy: As this was a demo, I cannot determine the level of accuracy. With that said, I do give Radian6 kudos for incorporating a variety of media types.
Ease of Use: 5 out of 5
Cost: Reasonable for companies, wished there was SMB Pricing. Non-profit pricing is available.
Response to Comments regarding "Would YOU Trust a PR Firm without a Social Media Presence with Your Social Media Programs"
There has been quite a bit of discussion from the original post and on a post by Jeremiah Owyang titled “Walking the Talk: Some Agencies and Vendors Demonstrate Social Media Prowess,”. I honestly didn’t think that my initial effort would generate such discussion, which I think provides a lot of fodder for thought.
I do want to provide my perspective on one aspect of Jennifer Leggio’s comment:
Client service comes first, always. Yes agencies should strive to have a presence of their own but not having a presence on Twitter or LinkedIn for their corporation is not a good measurement — at all.
When reviewing Jennifer Leggio’s post “Is ‘social PR’ for real?”, this paragraph resonated with me:
Agencies need to work hard to ease their clients’ or potential clients’ minds by showing hard metrics of how social programs have worked for other clients. There is also more justifiable pressure on marketers as a whole to demonstrate ROI from social media programs. Clients should start requiring these types of ROI metrics or case studies and not take “this is a new practice” as a valid excuse for the agencies not having proof points. The agency at the very least should be able to show how it’s built its own brand / the brand of its people through social media.
I do agree with the position that a PR agency having a social media presence is not necessarily a barometer of how that agency can deliver results for clients using social media. However, I will argue that an agency’s ability to use these tactics/strategies to build awareness and industry expertise demonstrates understanding of the pressures that clients face and their objectives. This includes increasing incoming sales leads, communicating with key customers, building thought leadership, reaching key audiences, etc.
Besides this particular point, I want to add the following:
I recognize that individual contributors are just as important as corporate brands. I will still assert that corporate brands will be just as important for establishing brand awareness and thought leadership
With that said, how one participates in social media can be dictated based on one’s audience and goals. I strongly believe that having a presence in the right avenues helps to drive an agency’s lead generation efforts
Since I was laid off, I decided to do this research out of curiousity. I knew it would take time and spent a several hours over a two week period to “research” the original list. As I was doing this myself, I acknowledge that I may have missing or incorrect information. As such, I appreciate those who have provided updates in comments or emails to me. I have updated the table accordingly.
And finally, as this endeavor is much bigger than I originally anticipated, I have set up a public wiki for agencies and the community to make updates directly.
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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3) Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites (Updated link)
Again, the purpose of this eBook is to provide a quick guide for using social media. If you find this eBook valuable, please forward this to your friends, share on Facebook, retweet it or let me know what you think. I just ask that you provide attribution to the site.
Let me know what you think. I look forward to improving this moving forward.
This is the sixth post in a 6 part series on how I using social media. In this sixth installment, I discuss measurement.
Measure What Counts
There has been discussion about how to measure social media and can it truly impact your bottom line. The same could be said of public relations. In the end, it’s measuring what counts for your business.
Personally, I think it’s important to determine your baseline measurements to gauge the effectiveness of your strategies over time. Consider keeping it simple, selecting 3-4 points to track. As you gather more information, you can better refine and expand your measurement criteria. Here are some basic points to measure:
* Subscribers, Followers, Fans: One way to track the success of your programs is by the steady growth of subscribers to your blog, followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. Feedburner is a nice way to track subscribers to your blog or any RSS feed that you create for corporate updates, such as press releases, newsletters, etc.
* Audience Reach: The key aspect of social media is tracking “word of mouth” or the reach of your content to your key audiences.
Twitter - Tweetburner allows you to create a short URL for Twitter and then tracks who has retweeted the link or clicked on it. You can keep your stats private or public. While this is a great tool, I’ve found that people will create their own short URLs for the content, so you may want to actively search on your Twitter ID for possible retweet. I then add up the number of subscribers for these individuals to get a “number” regarding reach.
Online Reputation: Another way to determine reach is to track who is talking about you online. I wrote a bit about this in my second post – Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds. The added component is determining the reach of these online outlets. While ad equivalence can be used too, I’m not a fan of this method as I point out in my next bullet point.
* Incoming Leads, Inquiries: There are a couple of free tools such as Quantcast and Google Analytics that provide good detail about your incoming traffic. The key is to closely track the referring sources for the incoming leads and the conversion rates. For example, Twitter is quickly becoming a driver of traffic to my blog or answering a question on LinkedIn can lead to an inquiry about your services.
* Increased Links: Before you start your programs, take a quick snapshot of sites that link to your website. While a basic stat, this can have huge SEO implications for your site, which in turn, increases your visibility on search engines. Check to see if your efforts increase this basic stat.
* Conversation Index: Steve Boyd discusses the Conversation Index as a way to determine which blogs are successful. Basically, successful blogs are those have a more comments than posts. I would think that the same value can be applied to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The more that people interact with your company and messages, one can assume the more engaged they are with you.
No matter what you do, measurement has to be an integral part of your program. Identifying the key data points relevant to your business, you can better justify these programs to your executive management. And who can argue with a program that has a low cost per lead and high conversion rate for sales?
Other posts in the series:
Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites (updated link)
This is the fifth post in a 6 part series on how I using social media. In this fifth installment, I discuss blogger relations.
While I would consider blogs an integral part of any “traditional” public relations strategy, blogs are somewhat unique compared to reporters at traditional publications. Bloggers are writing to communicate their distinct perspective on a topic. And most are writing in addition to their day jobs.
I previously wrote a guest post for WebMarketCentral on PR and Blogging Outreach: 8 Practical Tips. Since writing the post in September of 2007, I believe many of the pointers are still valid. I’ve reviewed what I wrote and updated based on what I’ve learned over the past year:
* Bloggers are not journalists: Bloggers write because they are passionate about the topic. Journalists write as a job and part of that job is receiving tons of emails and calls from folks like me. Most bloggers don’t come from the traditional reporter background so treating them as such can backfire.
* Familiarize yourself with the blogger: Previously, I would have recommended reading the blog. However, I realize it’s more reading past posts. It’s about familiarizing yourself with the blogger. What has the blogger written in the past, what is the tone and what is the person’s background. I would even recommend googling the person to learn about the person’s online reputation. Go to LinkedIn and see if there is a profile on the blogger (Note: do this with reporters and freelance writers as well). There is a wealth of information on the person’s background. Take advantage of it.
* Beyond Email Pitches: Commonly, I would send a “pitch” via a contact page or email a blogger. I’ve discovered that bloggers, me included, also pay attention to other ways of connecting. For example, some bloggers only accept pitches via a Twitpitch. Or will take interest in your comment and want to learn more.
* Nurture a relationship: Don’t pitch, get “coverage” and then leave. It’s like getting ready for a hot first date and being taken to a McDonald’s for dinner. Once you’ve gotten a person’s attention, be sure to nurture that relationship like you do for any reporter relevant to your space. When appropriate, connect with the blogger when you have news, drop an email about industry news and occasionally comment to demonstrate that you’re reading their blog. For emails, an added touch is to incorporate something the person has recently written.
* Be Transparent: Whether you’re commenting on a blog or contacting a blogger, be transparent about who you are and what your intentions are. Do I really need to say more on this?
* Grammar and spelling do count: If you’re read the person’s blog, you should be able to identify the blogger’s gender and correct spelling of his/her name. And having good grammar just demonstrates you can write English well. Check out B.L. Ochman’s recent post on this topic.
* Don’t disregard “smaller” bloggers: Never disregard a smaller blogger. You never know who will read and link to a story that can gain a life of its own.
* Face to face is important: While I have met a lot of people virtually, I think it’s important to cement any relationship in person. If the blogger is local, have an open door policy to visit your offices, give in-person demos or just have coffee. If you’re traveling, reach out to bloggers in that town, especially those you’ve been in touch with in the past.
* Monitor and respond quickly: Your never know when a post can quickly spiral out of control for a company or person. You have to monitor what is being said and respond immediately to correct inaccurate information or diffuse potentially disastrous situations. Scott Monty of Ford recently handled a similar situation (check out the article at Fast Company). The key was Scott’s transparency, as well as his personable demeanor in all his online communications.
Other posts in the series:
Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites (updated link)
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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