PubClub: Social Media Case Studies, Part II

February 28, 2010 at 10:04 PM (Events) (, , )

I realised that not only did I have to run out last night to #SoxUp, but my post was also getting a little long, so I figured I’d break the PubClub event into two posts.  Feel free to read up on the first half before checking out this post.

gather logoAfter Mr. Goodman’s case for Comcast, it was David Woodrow’s turn to step up to the plate.  He possibly had one of the best points of the evening: negative feedback is the best opportunity a brand has to step up.  In the real world (or on social media sites focusing on consumer products such as Gather, Inc.), everyone is not going to love you, your product or your brand.  People say not-so-nice things.  If the product is of any worth, chances are other consumers will fight down a bad review or two.  Alternatively, occasionally a brand does screw up and get called out on it.  The best course of action?  Not hiding behind wussy excuses, that’s certain.  Apologise sincerely, vow to make it up to the consumer and then deliver beyond expectations, perhaps?  Sounds like a good way to build stronger brand loyalty to me!

Kel & partners logoMeagan Ellis was the one panelist who was narrating from an agency perspective. “Us agency folks have all had them,” she began, “the client that is so uninteresting or small-scale that creating a Facebook fan page accomplishes nothing.”  Kel & Partners had a start-up that was, to put it politely, pretty boring.  Traditional media wasn’t interested in the product, and the Facebook fan page had maybe 50-some-odd members. Because the following for such a product didn’t exist, Kel & Partners had to create one. Through Twitter, the PR team was able to find people who would be open to such a product, follow them, engage them in conversations, and finally draw them to the brand’s own page.  After attracting enough attention via new media, Kel & Partners were able to use those hits to turn heads within traditional media, and today, the product receives countless hits.

kaspersky labFor Kaspersky Lab, jumping on the social media bandwagon involved a bit more hesitation: as an international company, staying consistent with community engagement across different cultures and timezones would require the efforts of more than one company representative.  Jennifer Jewett pointed out that these people couldn’t just be PR pros.  They had to be social media-savvy.  And eager.  In fact, the latter two qualities far outweighed the first.  Social media is a full-time gig when you’re doing it for a company, so you’d better know what you’re doing and have fun with it in the process.  Rather than dragging the corporate communications team into the Twitter ranks, the company stumbled across some employees from a diverse assortment of departments who were already tweeting across the Interwebs about goings-on with the business.  They realised that social media is restricted to no one.  Through using Twitter, one formerly unknown Kaspersky employee was suddenly being quoted in major publications because he was able to respond to public queries instantly.  And he enjoyed it.  Why torture one employee with new responsibilities when another one has already taken them on voluntarily?

Most of what I heard at the event was material I had learned in school.  However, it not only helps to be reminded every now and then, but it also strengthens the credibility of strategic social media usage when you see folks discussing the benefits in the real world.  PubClub, thanks again.

Today’s Tunes
The Fame, Lady Gaga
LP, Landon Pigg
Garden State, Various Artists

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PubClub: Social Media Case Studies, Part I

February 25, 2010 at 10:40 PM (Events) (, , , )

On Tuesday, the PubClub hosted yet another marvelous event: Social Media Case Studies.  Of course, yours truly took one look at event title and signed up immediately.  Once again, the panelists were all not only knowledgeable practitioners of social media, but delightful individuals.  Below are the participants.

Publicity club new england pubclub logoDavid Woodrow, Gather, Inc.
Jennifer Jewett, Kaspersky Lab Americas
Stacey Howe, New Balance
Meagan J. Ellis, Kel & Partners
Marc Goodman, Comcast
Dan Abdinoor, HubSpot (moderator)

While my last PubClub event keyed in on the benefits of LinkedIn as a networking tool, this one focused a bit more on Facebook and Twitter as complements to a marketing strategy.  Our lovely moderator Dan Abdinoor of HubSpot, an inbound marketing agency, opened with a Seth Godin quote:

Conversations among members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.

hubspot logoWhile nothing new for me (or other social media enthusiasts in the audience), the quote is still one of the best to summarise why marketers and PR practitioners should give a hoot about social media as a necessary accessory in our professional repertoires.  No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head demanding that they create a Twitter account . . . but if they do, reaching out to their target audiences will be a heck of a lot easier.  The better you know your targets, the more likely it will be to get them to listen to you.

More specific to Twitter, Dan offered a few pointers on maintaining a complete profile before turning the mic over to the panelists.

Complete your profile.  No one cares what your name is.  Okay, that’s totally not true, but if you’re trying to build a Twitter following, you better have more than just your name.  Where are you located? What do you do?  Do you have a life outside of what people pay you to do?  Sure, you only have 160 characters to sum yourself up, but once you get the hang of tweeting, it’s easy.  For instance, here’s what I have to say about myself on Twitter:

Public Relations BU Grad. Little and blonde. Occasionally witty. Enjoy beer, wine, food, music and dance. Available for hire.

Gets the point across, right?  Give the Twittersphere a glimpse of what to expect upon following you.

Find people in your area of interest.  If you’re in public relations, chances are conversations with biochemists will be infinitely less interesting than with other PR practitioners.  There are countless Twitter applications that allow you to search for people in your area, industry, and so-on and so-forth.

Say interesting and/or useful things.  Unless you are a part of an exhibitionist muffin fetishist community, chances are few people will care about what kind of muffin you had for breakfast.  Talking about the news in your industry, or about what your clients are doing, on the other hand, may resonate a bit more with audiences.

Don’t auto-follow people back on Twitter.  They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps.  Do you have any idea how many spam-bots are on Twitter?  Make sure that folks who follow you are relevant to you before clicking that “Follow” button.

Each of the panelists shared his or her case of how social media was used to increase a brand’s online presence.  To discuss the cases themselves would turn this blog post into a novella, but I’ll share the significant points from everyone, starting with Stacey Howe.

new balance logo nbPeople have been talking for centuries; they’re just doing it faster now.  With the rise of social media, consumers have gained a direct line to the ears of businesses, something previously all but impossible.  Through channels such as Facebook and Twitter, consumers can converse with one another about their experiences with a product or brand, what their thoughts were on said product or brand, and if they’d recommend it.  If a business (like, say, New Balance) is smart, it will not only harvest this feedback and incorporate it into its marketing strategy, but it will also engage its audience through social media to better connect.  As a consumer, wouldn’t you be more encouraged to share your honest thoughts about a brand if you knew the people behind that brand were listening?

Marc Goodman piggy-backed off Stacey to talk about the benefits of real-time feedback in customer serviceComcast customers, are you familiar with @comcastcares?  Imagine: you have a problem with your service, and you tweet about it to @comcastcares . . . and a real person gets back to you.  Instantly.  Wow, suddenly you don’t find yourself cursing the existence of your cable provider!  Seriously, though.  It happens.  Social media turns companies (especially customer service reps) into real people.

I’m off to #SoxUp, but I’ll wrap up David, Meagan and Jennifer’s points soon!

Today’s Tunes
“Broadway,” The Goo Goo Dolls
“Everything You Want,” Vertical Horizon
“Hey Jealousy,” Gin Blossoms
“December (1995),” Collective Soul
“Ants Marching,” Dave Matthews Band

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Degrees of Separation on LinkedIn

February 23, 2010 at 6:55 PM (work) (, , , )

One of my friends who is less versed in the ways of social networking (read: knows absolutely nothing whatsoever about it) has recently joined the ranks of the many who are looking for employment (yours, truly included . . . anyone looking for a PR practitioner?).  We were chatting via E-mail and I mentioned that I was doing some research for BU PRSSA’s PR Advanced, taking place this Saturday (more to come in my next post on that one) with LinkedIn, when it hit me that I may as well have been telling her about the nuances of the Chinese language.  I decided to send her a quick E-mail explaining the degrees of separation and how they could benefit her.  About six seconds later, I decided to include the relevant portions on my blog for other lay people who may be interested in exploring LinkedIn.  Check it out below.

LinkedIn In iconStarting out with LinkedIn to see who I know.  Time for your first factoid about the uses of LinkedIn!

LI sorts users in your network by degrees of separation: people with whom you are friends, colleagues or what-have-you are in your 1st degree network.  People to whom you are not directly connected, but your friends are, are in your 2nd degree network.  People your 2nd degree contacts know are in your 3rd degree network.  Outside of that, users are considered outside of your network.

Use the people in your 1st degree network to “get introduced” to people in 2nd degree networks.  I personally would try to do that outside of the site, but if your contacts are geographically inconvenient, then LI may be the way to go.  I find it’s a great way to see who you do and might know all in one place, though.  Imagine the fanciest Rolodex, ever.

Questions?

It’s an incredibly basic explanation, but for the LinkedIgnoramus, it gets the point across, no?  That said, my friend just responded to that E-mail, saying that is was so helpful that she printed it out and put it in her contacts file.  Boo-yah.

Today’s Tunes
“Drink Whiskey And Shut Up,” Brian Setzer
“That Old Black Magic,” Tom Jones
“You and Me,” Lifehouse
“Angry,” Matchbox Twenty

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Today I Learned . . .

February 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM (Musings) (, )

Today I learned that while people may look cool pulling a cork out of a wine bottle with their teeth in movies, it certainly doesn’t feel cool in real life.

Today’s Tune
“Californication,” Red Hot Chili Peppers

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Learning to Network

February 10, 2010 at 9:53 PM (Happenings, Musings, work) (, , , )

Yesterday morning, I attended a job seeker/ networking breakfast and panel hosted by the Publicity Club of New England, or the PubClub.  Like every other PubClub panel I’ve attended, the participants were experienced and thought-provoking:

Joe Burke, Text 100Pubclub Publicity Club of New England
Priscilla Claman, Career Strategies Incorporated
Ted Chaloner, Chaloner Associates
Joe Pothier, The Boston Beer Company
Jodi R. R. Smith, Mannersmith
Liz Woodhouse, Schwartz Communications
Kirk Hazlett, Curry College (moderator)

PR, HR and etiquette specialists alike all had valuable points to make regarding résumés, networking, social media and informational views: some dos, don’ts, and of course some anecdotal gems.  I attend such functions to learn, and what better way to learn than to share with others?

For instance, when it comes to events, networking or otherwise, be on time (or close, at least).  Not only is it courteous, but I’m sure I also would have enjoyed breakfast.  Tardiness also makes you memorable in a perhaps less desirable way.

There is no one job market, according to Ms. Priscilla Claman.  Rather, there are several markets, characterised by industry, geography, expertise, and so on.  If you’re targeting one gargantuan mass of a job market, you’re going to a) waste a lot of effort and b) not learn anything of much use anyway.  Find your market(s), and focus accordingly.  Not sure where or what your markets are?  Contact your friendly PubClub or PRSA representatives!  Chances are they’ll be happy to help, and they may even be able to offer a lead.

Gone is the stigma of the sixth-month gap on the résumé, Jodi R. R. Smith assured attendees . . . but that doesn’t mean interviewers won’t be able to figure out what you were or were not doing with that time.  Given the economy of the moment, it’s understandable that not everyone is employed sans gaps.  That said, when unemployed, don’t spend the downtime sitting on your posterior.  When a recruiter asks you what you’ve been doing with your time off, have a constructive answer: traveling, learning web design and HTML, volunteering, something.

LinkedIn logoUnderestimate not the power of LinkedIn, quoth Yoda (okay, he wasn’t there, but all panelists conceded on this one).  Once you’ve created your network with contacts in the real world, it’s your job to stay in touch with those contacts. LinkedIn makes this task incredibly easy.  Not only can you just shoot a quick E-mail via the site, you can also use your contacts to find possible leads.  Remember, a referred candidate will likely get more notice than random résumé #22.  LinkedIn also allows you to link to your blog, Twitter page and website, so recruiters can research you quickly more efficiently (so keep everything clean!).

Be your own PR person in your search for a PR job (sorry non-PR kids, but feel free to read anyway!).  That was the wise advice of Joe Burke, particularly for those of us who are fresh out of university and don’t have a portfolio full of success stories to tout.  Make your search strategy your success story.  Are you searchable?  Are your promoting the right expertise to the right people?

While a lot more information was shared yesterday, I think those were some pretty significant points.  Want to learn more?  Keep an eye on the PubClub’s blog: as far as I know, someone will post on it soon!  Still intrigued?  The next PubClub event will take place on Tuesday, February 23: Social Media Case Studies.  Click the link, read up, sign up and stop by!

Today’s Tunes
“Gimme Some Lovin’,” The Spencer Davis Group
“Forever,” Chris Brown
“Levon,” Elton John
“Pa’Bailar,” Bajofondo
“Chambermaid Swing,” Parov Stelar
“Satellite,” Dave Matthews Band
“Ooh La La,” Goldfrapp
“Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” Moby
“That’s the Way of the World,” Earth, Wind & Fire
“Ain’t No Sunshine,” Bill Withers
“Milk,” Kings of Leon

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