PR Campaigns – The blog

April 13, 2009

The Twitter Game

Filed under: Spirals — lindsaylynch @ 7:27 pm
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First of all the most crazy thing I read in the post about Gaming Twitter on Communication Overtones was that Twitter originated in April 2006, I guarantee half the people in our class did not know this!

I didn’t know that people “gamed twitter”.  What it means to game twitter is when you create tons of followers by telling them you will follow them back, neither party has any interest in the contest either is posting.  I find it fascinating that people even care if 1. They have followers and 2. That other people “game twitter”.  If someone is using Twitter for proffesional means, shouldn’t they be professional and not act like a 7 year old and fight over who has more friends?  This seems funny to me.

These are the Twitter rules to Game Twitter:

Four Steps To Game Twitter

1. Sign up for a Twitter account, creative name gets you extra credit but isn’t necessary

2. Automatically follow people with similar interests by searching for specific keywords and autofollowing people. One of the most well-known services for this is Twollo

3. Sign up for all of the services that help you manage your followers: SocialToo, TweetLater, My Tweeple,  Friend or Follow, Mr. Tweet, TweetSum and others. Use them to unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you, preferably leaving only those that autofollow. Rinse and repeat this step daily.

5. Be sure that you auto follow people so others like you will add you.

I did not know that there were services that manage your followers, it is like a vaccum that goes through your account daily.  This seems like far too much work to claim you have followers, when really do you care about any of them. 

On an additional note, did this article REALLY post something reminding people not to pay people to follow them on Twitter…what is our world coming to, this is ridiculous!

In this post there are links to people’s opinions on what it was like before Twitter became a huge trend, for personal use.  There is also a link to ways that a business can use Twitter affectively, which is a good idea for all of us in this class launching a social media campaign, to make sure we are selling Twitter the correct way!

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April 12, 2009

Can Journalism and Social Media Coexist?

Since I have been at the Cronkite school, I can’t help but feel like I don’t belong in the j-school. Some say that public relations has no place in journalism. However, I came across a new site that says news, social media and advertising can all coexist. True/Slant’s moto is “News is more than what happens.” True/Slant is a company that combines news, social media and advertising.

True/Slant allows contributers to add stories to their site, and then consumers can create dialogue with those contributers. Advertising also occurs on the site. However, it is placed in such a way that is very transparent and readers know what they are getting. True/Slant says their goal is to get consumers to be just as interested as they are in the news.

I am interested to see if a site like this actually makes it. I have been told that journalism, advertising and PR are completely separate and that PR doesn’t belong in journalism. However, I think that the direction we are headed is very different. I see a future where all three of these entities coexist and work together.

What do you think? Do you think that social media has a place in journalism? Can advertising, journalism and PR coexist?

April 6, 2009

Blending social media and CSR

Filed under: Spirals — Patty Lepkowski @ 10:55 pm
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I have to be honest, I normally skip over any blog that even mentions Twitter, as I feel it has become an over-talked about topic recently. However, when the blog titled Social Media Provides the Tools to Make Positive Change popped up on my Google Reader last week, I had to take note.

The blog posted on the Communications Overtones blog page discusses how Michelle Greer, a web marketing strategist and blogger from Austin, recently won a social media award for a Twestival she organized to coordinate blood drives for Burmese refugees.

Although the blog never directly mentions anything public relations-related, I was immediately drawn to this topic as a potential tactic for a corporate social responsibly campaign (CSR), a campaign through which companies participate in activities related to public interests, while improving the company image. Corporations are constantly looking for ways to form mutually beneficial relationships with their communities, and what better way than through everyone’s new favorite medium – the Internet.

Using social media to power a CSR campaign is a strategically sound decision for a number of reasons. For one, social media is a quick and effective way for organizations to reach their publics. Currently, many companies discuss their CSR efforts on the company blog, but why not take that a step further and use the social media Web site as a platform for the campaign, rather than just a medium to discuss it? Also, social media Web sites are effective because they allow public relations professionals to disseminate controlled information that will reach target publics, those that are already loyal readers of the company’s blogs.

In my opinion, companies have a lot to gain by conducting CSR campaigns on social media Web sites. However, some may believe that social media Web sites would not be appropriate for some CSR efforts. What is your opinion? Do you think social media and CSR are mutually exclusive topics or that we can find a way to blend the two, so as to create communications results? If you disagree with using social media for CSR, what do you think is the best way for companies to conduct and report on CSR efforts?

“Toxic Talk” in Social Media

Filed under: Fidelis — mlmyers @ 8:50 pm
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While surfing around the blogosphere I came across a post by Crisisblogger Gerald Baron  about “toxic talk” in social media and whether its effects should be taken as seriously as they have in the past. The example brought to light was how reputation management dealt with the backlash of a Motrin Ad that struck sour with mommy communities across the web. Did they respond well to the situation?

We’ve talked about this case in PR class a couple times, but the notion that Johnson & Johnson (the distributor of Motrin) may have overreacted hadn’t really crossed my mind. The post by Baron referenced an article in Advertising Age that suggested we shouldn’t be so worried about viral outrage online. It is clear to us that social media matters, so what is trying to be said here? Well…there is definite controversy.

The article on Advertising Age suggested:

  • Internet and conversations don’t directly impact everyone.
  • For those who aren’t exposed to the message, it is more likely the controversy will drive them to seek answers and go check out what the fuss is about. (which is positive)
  • The overall impression of a company won’t necessarily have dramatic altercations.

Crisis management is extremely important, but are cases where company’s overreact becoming more apparent?

Another blogger, Shel Holtz, pointed out that people don’t have to see the message to get caught up with the outrage. He also noted that small issues online can blow up into mainstream coverage like well-known newspaper publications leaving company reputations extremely vulnerable.

These two perspectives got me thinking. I have come to the conclusion that each situation should be evaluated individually to determine and develop proper methods of solving the problem. Any thoughts on what may be a better way of dealing with crisis in social media?

A picture is worth a thousand clients

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — tmpace @ 7:24 pm
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I was reading through a few PR blogs when I ran across Seth Godin’s ( a marketing expert and author) blog entitled The Power of a Tiny Picture. In this blog he discusses how you picture can either make or break  your first impression you leave on people.  He says after browsing through many photos he developed suggestions for how to make you photograph into a great first impression. He has a few suggestions for what your picture should look like.

Here are a few:

  • Use a professional looking photo
  • Have normal background
  • Don’t wear a hat (and if you do make it a good hat)
  • Avoid having significant others in the photo. People are looking for you and not for them.
  • Look Happy
  • Don’t have a weird picture that is not of you (like a cartoon or object)
  • Cropping makes a photo look professional

Since this class I have been really focusing on my social media knowledge because the importance of the knowledge is growing. I was interviewing for internships last week, and all the potential employers wanted to hear about my social media skills.

This whole facebook picture idea shocked me. My first reaction was, “who cares.” But then I thought about how some of the pretty weird facebook profile pictures I  have seen.  I laugh at some of them because they are clever, but others I am confused or shocked. Imagine you are a potential client. You are thinking about hiring a new PR agent and you google their name and their facebook picture shows up. What if their picture is weird, unprofessional or risque? Would you second guess your decision of hiring them? I think I might.

I must be honest my profile picture on both facebook and twitter do not fit some Seth’s points. (I don’t think I will change it any time soon.)

I posted this blog to see what you guys think. How important do you think a facebook picture is? Would your opinion change if you owned your own PR firm, or knew your potential employers and clients were checking out your page?

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 7:17 pm
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Social media is the new popular kid at school.  The one whose dad just got a big promotion prompting his family to move in a couple houses down.  He has the coolest bike, the newest video games, the nicest clothes and a trampoline! All the girls love him and all the guys want to hang out with him.  Except brands.

When it comes to the world of social media, brands are the cool kids who have been dethroned by the new kid at school.  They used to run the show through means of traditional marketing and brand management, but have lost the spotlight to the internet and social media.

In his post, “A Control Freak’s Guide to Social Media Influence,” found on Mashable, Paul Worthington talks about the inability for brands to fully utilize social media as a means of influence because they are unable to relinquish their illusion of control.

Worthington explains that brands have always sought to control the thoughts of the perspective audiences when the key has always been influence.  This false belief is what has a lot of branding managers jealous of the new kid on the block and reluctant to embrace social media.

In these new times where social media is reigning supreme in the world of online influence, brands need to change their strategy and give up the ideal of control.  Worthington tries to help them by providing three principles that good influencers demonstrate:

1. Listen then respond– “Before engaging with the conversation it’s important to first listen to it, see what is being said and interpret what this means.”

2. Be comfortable with ambiguity– “Conversation is messy, real time, and often capricious. At first what you see will appear chaotic, unmanageable and intimidating. The reality is that it isn’t your job to manage or control it – but to respond to it.”

3. Filter through your purpose– ” Here, having a strong brand purpose is a crucial tool – it becomes the tangible filter through which you listen and respond.”

I think that all companies would be wise to apply these suggestions to any social media influence that they hope to attain.  I am an active user of social media and, to me, it seems like too many brands are trying to use social media for marketing and public relations means, but are doing so ineffectively.  They are too stuck in their old ways to fully embrace the new kid and try out his trampoline.  Times are changing quickly with new social media applications coming out daily and I think for any company to be successful they need to quickly change their attitudes about social media and dive in head first or they will be left behind.

What do you think?  Are brands not applying themselves enough when it comes to social media?  Is this trend going to be around enough for companies to invest a lot of attention into?  What are some successful branding techniques that companies have been using on social media?

March 30, 2009

Word of mouth marketing is a hit

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — bryantedleson @ 10:45 pm
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Recently at my internship , I was asked to create a twitter account for the company and begin following as many people that fit our “target audience,” hoping in return they would follow us back.  In case you were interested, in just roughly 2 hours of following, we had over 200 followers in return.  This helps to better understand how many people are  tweeting all day.

We all can see how quickly social media marketing is increasing and how these wonderful tools are bringing us closer together.  Whether it be, twitter, youtube, facebook, blogs, digg or any other tool- there’s some social element out there for everyone that helps us connect with both familiar and unfamiliar faces.

However, it took awhile….

Although millions of users were rapidly flocking to social media sites, most marketers stayed away.  Marketers either didn’t know how to communicate effectively without overwhelming them with their product, or they were nervous about associating their brands with questionable content.  

In a recent blog post by Steve Rubel from Micro Persuasion, he stated, “things are changing.” Steve believes companies are beginning to learn how to leverage social media and successfully tap into the rising tide of social media consumers.  Word of mouth marketing is allowing small companies to succeed because they can actually accommodate us and our special needs we demand for every penny we spend.  

So what does this mean? It means marketers are moving to social media.

In a recent study conducted by the Aberdeen Group sponsored by Visible Technologies, the following was recorded……

Aberdeen found that 63% of the companies in their survey (defined as best-in-class) planned to increase their social media marketing budgets this year.

I’m sure the trend will continue to increase as more and more people become introduced and familiar with these social media sites. People will continue to trust the people they know rather than the ad’s they see on TV’s, websites or hear on the radio.  Since today’s consumers are getting smarter and more demanding, companies both small and big must also adapt to this change.

Facebook University: Enroll Now!

Filed under: Mission Public Relations — kbergeron44 @ 6:52 pm
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Social media is taking over the world.

Twitter and Facebook have forged an unholy alliance to slowly take over the lives of everyone on the earth in an effort to create a race of pod people to enlist into an online army hell bent on global conquest.

The first bullet has been fired and it is aimed at graduating college students.

In his blog on Mashable, Stan Schroeder reveals Birmingham City University‘s plan to incorporate a masters program dedicated strictly to social media.

“The one year course will earn you a master’s degree at the cost of 4,400 pounds (6,239 dollars). “During the course we will consider what people can do on Facebook and Twitter, and how they can be used for communication and marketing purposes,” says the course convener Jon Hickman, adding that “There has been significant interest in the course already, and it will definitely appeal to students looking to go into professions including journalism and PR.”

When I first read this I thought it was a good idea.  I am constantly told in my public relations classes that knowledge of social media is going to be one of my best assets when I graduate and enter the work force.  Furthering my education in this phenomenon would make me even more appealing to potential employers.  But wait a minute…

Do I really need formal education to learn how to tag a picture of my friend’s drunken escapades?  or create a group to get friends to attend my Graduation party?  or even how to describe to the world “what I am doing?”

I’m aware the course will go a lot deeper than that, but at their base, Facebook and Twitter are just tools for people to interact with others; and if the telegraph, the two-way pager, smoke signals and pay phones taught us anything, tools change.

Twitter and Facebook could be obsolete in a matter of years and at that time what will this degree be worth?  It seems to me like this university is just trying to milk this social media cow for some extra cheese by offering a course in a popular social phenomenon.

Am I alone in this?  Or do those of you already recruited by the Facebook/Twitter army see more value in this?  If this becomes a trend and other colleges pick up this program, what should be included in the teachings?

March 29, 2009

Skittles, a leader in social media??

Filed under: LAM Creative — allund @ 2:57 pm
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Skittles everyones favorite candy has been the topic of talk lately on Twitter, Facebook, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, FOXnews and Adage…in fact last week they were the top trending subject on Twitter!

So whats the deal? Did they introduce a new flavor or something? No, they introduced a new website that is one of the first of its kind. The new interactive Skittles website incorporates all facets of social media. I suggest you check it out

In short Skittles took their website and turned it into one big Social Media site. The homepage has a navigation bar which includes a combination of social media sites.  The most popular so far is the Twitter feed which shows anyone who uses the word Skittles in their tweets.  One of the most interesting things about the site is that it has no filters. As far as I can see you can say anything you want and view anything that you want about the Skittles brand. They are not censoring what people are saying. You can write something positive or negative about the Skittles brand and Skittles is just letting you put it out there. The new site is getting people to talk about theirproduct whether it is good or bad.

The web site also includes a Facebook Fan page with 585,000 fans, Youtube page with over 26,000 views, Flickr page with 16,500 items and of course a information based Wikipedia page. All you have to do is click on the navagation box and it will lead you to each site.

The large number of views, items and fans are all positive numbers for the Skittles brand and has made Skittles the buzz word in the web and media world.   As I listed above this new type of interactive site has already been blogged about in the blogosphere and has caught attention from nationwide media outlets.

This site is not only innovative but daring as well. The risk is paying off for the Skittles brand.  They are reaching out to their consumers and engaging them with the tools that they have provided but in the same way they are not controlling what they are saying.

Do you think this new type of site would work for most companies? Or does it just work with Skittles because they are a candy brand?

One of the annoying things about the site is that they require you enter your age before you enter the site. Do you think this is a good or bad thing? I personally don’t care and I think it is kind of smart on their part to see what age groups are viewing their site. However some people have a problem giving up their age.

Do you think that this interactive social media based website will be the future template for company/brand websites?

One thing that we know for sure is that Skittles has created a large social media forum with this site that has caught fire! This can become a revolutionary way to interact with your consumers in a positive and non threating way. Only time will tell if it will be effective for a prolonged period and if this type of model will become a website standard for companies but for now lets just enjoy the revolutionary idea of tasting the rainbow from all angles.

March 26, 2009

Twitter vs. Facebook

Filed under: Spirals — kmmorten @ 9:00 am
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Everywhere I go it seems like I can’t get away from this social media frenzy- it’s haunting me. I have a Myspace account. I have a Twitter account. I have a Facebook account. Although there are hundreds of other social media sites, these three are just about the only ones that I can keep up with on a daily basis. Each of them has their own unique features, which is why I use them for different reasons.

Bill Sledzik’s blog, How do you use Facebook? And does it really Matter? discusses how he uses Facebook. He has fun with it and doesn’t over think it, which is exactly my outtake on it as well. I use mine as a personal space where I can talk to my friends that I know personally. I don’t accept random strangers or professors because I think school and work should be separate from your personal life.

I started my Facebook account when I was in high school so mine is mostly a collaboration of my crazy college years. I must admit my page isn’t exactly what you would call squeaky clean and isn’t something that I would want future employers looking at. Luckily, Facebook has the option of setting your profile to private or a limited view.

Now that the older generation is flocking to Facebook, I’m starting to debate whether or not I should clean my account up. Just last week I had a friend request from my aunt and uncle. Weird? Yes. However, whether I like it or not, the older generation is jumping on the social media bandwagon.

On the other end of the social media spectrum, I use my Twitter account as a professional tool…well, kind of. I do post personal tweets, but I make sure they are always clean and won’t come back to bite me in the butt. I don’t post tweets about how hungover I am, how much I hate work/school or how drunk I got last night. I follow my professors on Twitter, and they follow me. It’s interesting to see what mentors like your professors are thinking or doing outside of class.

So there you have it. This is how I manage two social media sites for two very different reasons. I get to talk to my friends on a personal level on Facebook, and talk to everyone on a professional level on Twitter. I get the best of both worlds.

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