Tag Archives: social media strategy

“Breadcrumbs: Using Curiosity to Strategically Reach Audiences”

Last week, Robert Scoble declared Tech PR useless.  My response, a light-hearted post to shake off the negative energy, called for change within the PR industry.  Many of you emailed me asking about the future of PR and marketing, so today I wanted to share those thoughts.

Changing Landscape

The founders of our industry, in my opinion, did not intend us to be keepers of the keys and intermediaries, but actual creators and facilitators.  The original press release was not an announcement, but rather a creation of compelling content that editors wanted to print.  They looked for stories to tell and then pitched these to reporters.  And it worked, as long as the mainstream media was in control of the information.

Things have changed.  Today, the Mainstream Media is struggling and the walls are crumbling.  The rise of the Internet has moved content consumption online.  Also, thanks to social media, everyone has the ability to create content themselves.  Translation: The Internet is a REALLY REALLY noisy space.

Information Overload

Technologies like search and RSS feeds make information easily accessible–but they never seem to find *exactly* what you want.  Also, social networks and bookmarking sites have added the human element to finding content, but even that isn’t always enough.  With traditional media, reporters distilled the real world into articles.  Likewise, bloggers take information on the Internet and present what’s good.

With decentralized information filtering, how do we make a significant impact to reach our audience, whether they are bloggers, reporters or consumers?

Curiouser and Curiouser

If I understand Robert and the other Tech bloggers, they are finding information through community and curiosity. They listen to what others in their online peer network (whether Facebook, Friendfeeed, Twitter, RSS Feeds, etc.) are saying/sharing.  They also track and discover products and services the same way consumers do: word of mouth and surfing/searching.

What does this mean for PR and marketing practitioners?

  • The goal is to leave breadcrumbs your audience follows to find you as if by magic
  • To do this, we have to think like our audiences
  • Instead of asking “What do we want our customers to think?”, we have to ask “What are our customers interested in? How can we reach them?” and “What can we teach them?”
  • We no longer create stories, we look for conversation
  • We execute strategy to reach audiences where they share ideas
  • We engage in industry wide discussions with our clients as the moderator

We Are The Music Makers, We Are the Dreamers of the Dream

Instead of just producing viral videos, widgets, blog posts and (gasp) press releases, let’s create content people will want to consume.  Let’s build rabbit holes of discussion that our curious audiences can crawl into.

The ultimate goal: Be known for facilitating stimulating conversation around topics related to our clients/services by creating content our audiences will be interested in.

How do you see the future of PR? How do you inspire curiosity and conversation to energize communities and build awareness?

[This post inspired by a conversation with Tim Dyson, CEO of Next15 (the holding company that owns my firm, Text100) and numerous conversations with Todd Defren and Brian Solis]

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[The above photo, “Down the Rabbit Hole” by valkyrieh116 on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Future of Media, It's A Conversation, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“3Q’s in 3Min: Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin”

It’s May Day, and people all around the world are marching towards better rights for workers. That’s right, people everywhere are chanting for more time on Facebook and the ability to watch “3Q’s in 3Min” at their desks.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners, journalists and marketers on the future of media.

Last week while at Web 2.0, we caught up with Geoff Livingston from the Buzz Bin. From media relations to branding and online marketing, Geoff’s fifteen-year career has covered the full gamut of communications. Geoff’s blog is a must-read for anyone pursuing new media marketing and PR, and his book, “Now is Gone” should be required reading for marketing executives. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Geoff breaks out his crystal ball to look into the future of marketing and PR, and gives some practical advice on strategy.

In the age of new media, the same principles for marketing and PR strategies remain, it’s just the tools that have changed. Instead of trying to force the strategy to fit the tools (blog, twitter, video, etc), Geoff reminds us that it’s important to choose the tools that best work with the strategy we implement.

One of the first steps to developing any strategy is knowing your audience. With social media we have more chances to form conversations and relationships with our audience. Geoff stresses that we have to meet them on their turf, using the tools and platforms they use. It’s part of Geoff’s theory of learning to “think liquid”–move with the community without getting hung up on one particular tool.

In the video below (probably sTNT’s most raw video to date), Geoff postulates the future of communications and the steady march towards humanization of marketing. Oh, and he’s tired of talking about blogs.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So how do you perceive the future of PR and marketing? Is it more humanized? Let us know in the comments!

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[The above photo, “You Da Man” by CC Chapman used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Blogging, Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“Killing the Buddha: PR 2.0 and Social Media Marketing Nirvana”

“Embrace nothing:
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
If you meet your father, kill your father.
Only live your life as it is,
Not bound to anything.”

–Buddha Shakyamuni

Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. What do they have in common? They’re all amazing tools for increasing communications and strengthening connections. Nothing more.

Sometimes communities get so distracted by the messenger that they forget the message. Yes even we purveyors of messaging in the PR and marketing trades are fallible to shiny things. Taking some queues from the Buddhist philosophy, let’s take a step back and make sure we are all on the same page.

As Brian Solis discusses in this post, PR 2.0 is the evolution of public relations. At its fundamental root, public relations and marketing in the new media era is about building relationships. The tools and technology come secondary.

According to my “Effective Public Relations” text book, “Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whoms its success or failure depends.”

Let’s compare that with Brian’s definition of PR 2.0:

PR 2.0 is the understanding and practice that communications is a two-way process and incorporates the tools, principles, strategies, and philosophies for reaching, engaging, guiding, influencing, and helping people directly in addition to the traditional cycle of PR influence.

Public relations has always been about building relationships. At one point, the press release was an effective way to reach target audiences. Then it moved to broadcast and print, both one-sided forms of communication. Now, the public has the tools to write the news and create the content.

The once silent masses now have a voice, and that voice is found on social networks, blogs, and forums. That voice is in the form of audio, video and text. That voice has the potential to spread ideas rapidly and more effectively than ever before. Instead of talking at an audience, public relations and marketing now have to engage and build a relationship with that voice and all its praise or critcism.

PR 2.0 is about listening, knowing your audience, what they talk about, how they communicate and meeting them on their court. It’s not about using Twitter cause company XYZ is, it’s about finding the best way to interact with and engage your audience and those talking about your brand. It’s about figuring out the best way to ignite those communities into rapid discussion about your brand. That’s the philosophy; the tools come secondary.

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[The above photo, “Thailand – Ayuthaya 5 – Buddha head” by mckaysavage on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Community Relations, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“May I Have The Embed Code, Please? Evaluating the Oscars Social Media Strategy”

Can’t get enough Oscar? Neither can we. But, unlike other blogs, we aren’t gonna recap the show or even discuss the stars’ outfits. Stepping out in true geek fashion, today socialTNT looks at the Academy’s social media strategies and offers up tips on how Oscar can stay young.

Best CyberScreen Adaptation

  • Oscar makes his CyberScreen debut in style with his own YouTube channel. We have to admit, we were really impressed! The videos, numbering 69 at time of writing, cover the full gambit of what we have come to expect with video campaigns. The channel includes favorite acceptance speeches and greatest moments in Oscar history.
  • We’re suckers for behind-the-scenes videos, which is probably why our favorites were short video interviews with past winners discussing topics like: What it’s like to be nominated, the voting process, what it’s like to win and how to produce an Oscar montage. Aspiring Future Winners: Avoid the embarrassment of being drowned out by the orchestra, and check out this video on how to prepare an acceptance speech
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ President Sid Ganis did have some videos for a video blog. Check out the last entry chronicling final preparations before the big night.
  • We were a little confused by other cool features like the “Thank You Cam” and Antonio Sabato’s overly produced “Road to The Oscars” journal. They are hosted on the Oscars page, but not found on the YouTube channel. This schizophrenic offshoot requires that you watch a video ad before the clip and it’s not sharable or embeddable. What?!
  • How to make it better? Give nominees webcams and let them video blog the full experience, from nomination to post-awards. Sadly, not everyone can be nominated for the movie world’s top prize, so this could provide a more unfiltered look at the drama and excitement that is the Oscars.
  • Following in the footsteps of the Crunchies, maybe the Oscars could have 10-second video responses filmed by each of the nominees.
  • You know all the technical awards? Well, there are tons of aspiring young make-up artists, sound editors, and costume designers who would love to see behind-the-scenes of the award nominees in action. Those vignettes are shown during the awards presentation, so why not make the full videos available online!

Best Original BlogPlay

  • Yup, the Academy had an official live blogger, Joel Stein.
  • Now, we’re not knocking Joel, but maybe the Academy could have also invited a couple of bloggers from big entertainment or movie blogs to officially live-blog the show from the Kodak theater. Yes, they are probably going to blog it from home, but an official invite is a powerful gesture that could leverage preexisting reader communities’ excitement about the show.
  • Nominees are busy busy, but they could still Twitter 🙂 The academy could also aggregate all discussion on Twitter regarding the academy awards and post it on the home page.
  • What if iJustine could videocast backstage?! HOT!

Best Application in a Social Network

  • You may not have known this, but the Academy has a Facebook widget. According to the Oscar site, the widget has a countdown feature, trivia game, and plays the ad-sponsored videos not found on YouTube.
  • Sadly, Oscar’s widget only has around 1,000 users, with only 32% of them active. This could be due to the oh-so-uninspiring description on the app’s page: “Follow the latest buzz about this year’s Academy Awards! Add the OSCAR Widget today. Click the blue “Add to Page” button in the right column!” *yawn* Also, it looks like it may have just been launched a few weeks ago.
  • Application adoption is really hard to break in to. Some suggestions for Oscar: let users earn points to send virtual gifts, or allow them to create mash-up montages of the nominees or past shows. Also, people love movie-compatibility quizzes.

Next Year’s Nominees?

  • The Academy should try to utilize preexisting communities like Facebook groups to build buzz.
  • Flickr photo stream to compile all the photos tagged with Academy Awards. Also, make the photos already on the site embeddable.
  • Wikis on all the Lifetime Achievement folks we might not know.
  • Tribute pages for the dead Academy members.

All in all, socialTNT was really satisfied with the Academy’s social media efforts. The Academy should be fully applauded for their YouTube efforts. In terms of strategy, our only suggestion would be to start the seeding process a couple weeks–if not months–out. The first videos to be posted were from 5 days before the event. That’s not really enough time to “go viral.”

As Hollywood starts to see online video as a valid and viable revenue stream, and as TV viewership drops, the Oscars will inevitably be faced with doing more CyberScreen adaptation. How did you think the Academy fared? Was there anything you thought could have been added that wasn’t? Tell us in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Oscar” by Alan Light, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Recap, Social Media, Video, Viral video

“2.0 Politik: Do Democratic Candidates Make the Grade?”

“Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner” by indi.ca on flickrThe Hillary/Big Brother Mashup Video from last year ushered in a new era for political campaigns. No longer content with televised debates, citizens everywhere raised their mouses in unison and called for a technological perestroika. 2.0 Politik was born, giving citizens direct access to politicians…Ok, maybe not, but candidates not hooked up with social media are missing out on influential demographics.

On Wednesday, socialTNT gave you the 4-1-1 on Republican social media campaigns. Today, socialTNT directs our browser to the Dems to find out who makes the grade and who gets held back.

Barack Obama, Most Likely To Succeed (Overall Grade: A+)

  • Online Video—At time of writing, there are 572 videos on Barack’s YouTube channel full of debate clips, campaign stops, direct conversations with the camera. On the site, you can find BarackTV, a really pretty player integrated by Brightcove . Don’t miss the interesting, YouTube-meets-digg-style “citizen generated campaign” called YouBarack. Chris was let down at the lack of streaming video. [UPDATE: Obama does stream some campaign stops through ustream.tv] Grade: A-
  • BloggingActive blog with some posts receiving an impressive 1000+ comments, but our reviewers couldn’t find any posts older than Jan. 31st. The “older posts” link took us nowhere, and no archive–what?! Mad props for asking for feedback from readers. Extra credit for allowing citizen blogs hosted through my.obama.com community. Grade: A-
  • Social NetworksObama’s Facebook profile supposedly has the more friends than any other candidate, but his Wall is full of teeny-boppers spouting racial epithets (Where are the chaperones community managers?). Surprisingly, his MySpace has a clean look with more commenters actually adding to the dialog. Oh, and widgets for everybody! Flickr is current. Extra credit: With LinkedIn, MiGente, Eons (Boomer SocNet), AsianAve, and BlackPlanet, he has all his demographic bases covered Grade: A+
  • RSS—You can subscribe to the blog. No RSS for Press Releases or coverage, and what about an Events RSS?: B+
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Ok, so he’s got a Twitter profile that gets updated every coupla days. That’s worth something, right?

Hillary Clinton, Most Studious (Overall Grade: B+)

  • Online Video—Of course, has a YouTube channel with a so-so 232 videos at time of writing. There is also a clunky looking player with Hillary commercials videos called HillaryTV. Most interesting attempt to seem human: The videos section link to “The Hillary I Know,” a Web 2.0-style site with video interviews of friends of Hill Grade: B+
  • BloggingHillary’s blog seems to serve as a news room, with mosts post consisting of news round-ups. Unlike Obama’s blog, the comments are pretty low, with most posts receiving 30-100. Clinton’s team should try to make it more about conversation, less about messaging. Grade: B-
  • Social Networks—If I were trying to guess messages based strictly on social network membership, Hill is looking to win over the college age and boomer voters. MySpace, Facebook and Eons pages are all pretty standard, but we do love the behind-the-scenes, not super-produced flickr page. Grade: B+
  • RSS—The blog has its own RSS feed and–gasp!–so does the news room. No feed for HillaryTV, but we’re still in shock about Newsroom RSS! Grade: A
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—There is a Twitter page, but “Hillary” isn’t following anyone…shame!

Now that John Edwards and his ustream.tv are out of the race, the Dems aren’t quite as cutting edge. But how can any hip Dem hit the town without an Obama ringtone?If you could give a piece of social media advice to the candidates, what would it be? What is your primary source for political news? TV? Friends? Blogs?

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[The above photo, “Sri Lankan Elections Commissioner” by indi.ca on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

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Filed under 2.0 Politik, Democracy and Media, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Politics, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Connie Reece, Every Dot Connects”

It may be overcast outside, but today’s “3Q’s in 3Min” guest will brighten your day.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

During a recent trip to Austin, socialTNT met up the lovely Connie Reece, founder of social media marketing consultation firm Every Dot Connects. She’s also the Executive Director of Social Media Club, and Twitter friend to all. In today’s interview, Connie outlines her definition of social media and explains how she has been using new media tools to put the “fun” back in fundraising.

I can’t really remember exactly how I met Connie. It was either when someone responded to her on Twitter and I looked her up, or after Jeremiah Owyang’s piece on building a Twitter community. In either case, I’m so happy I met her; Connie’s warmth shines through ever Tweet. Whether someone is tweeting about the death of their cat or a knee injury, Connie is always there to send words of encouragement. That’s why I lovingly call her the Twitter Mom.

When Twitter friend and future business partner Susan Reynolds was diagnosed with cancer in December 2007, Connie decided to use her connections–and Twitter–to help. Twitter users created PEAvatars to show solidarity with Susan while raising awareness. The Frozen Pea Fund, founded by Susan and Connie, sprang up organically to raise money for breast cancer research. [For a great case study on the Frozen Pea Fund’s effective use of Twitter as marketing/pr strategy, check out this piece by Michael Allison.]

More About Connie

  • Recently purchased a beautiful island on Second Life
  • Had to cut her RSS feeds from 300 down to 50
  • We are both alums of University of Texas at Austin
  • Is on Facebook, Flickr and Utterz

Connie’s fascinating, sociological Venn-Diagram explanation of social media is not to be missed. Find it–and more on the Frozen Pea Fund–in the video below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

How do you define social media? Do you agree with Connie?

Over the last few days, Connie has been very ill. Please send her your well wishes.

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[Above photo, “Inspired by Color,” by Connie Reece”]

[This post was originally published Thursday morning, but was taken down because YouTube kept registering the video as not available. I uploaded the video again this evening and re-published the post. Sorry for the delay.]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“2.0 Politik: Do Republican Candidates Make the Grade?”

Today’s post was written by socialTNT Contributing Writer, Marie Williams. I promise we’ll get personalized bylines showing soon. 🙂

“vote for this guy” by switch_1010 on flickr

With Rudy Giuliani’s withdrawal from the Republican presidential campaign yesterday evening, the competition for the Republican nomination is heating up. Social media tactics have the possibility to tip the balance, but which candidates are using social media to their advantage and which are missing the boat? Today, socialTNT separates the cool kids from the amateurs.

Ron Paul, Class Valedictorian (Overall Grade: A)

  • Online Video—up-to-date and frequently refreshed YouTube channel, a Justin.TV channel (although that hasn’t been updated for two months), and Mogulus Live Streaming Video. Impressive, Ron! Grade: A+
  • Blogging—There’s a hidden bloggish section called “daily updates” (click here and scroll down to below the Flash-animated banner to find it) and a very difficult-to-find blog called The Daily Dose campaign HQ blog. While not very aptly placed, both blogs are well updated and contain some good, meaty posts. Grade: A-
  • Social Networks—Very active Facebook profile updated with hundreds of posted items and notes pertaining to Paul’s campaign. While his MySpace page is definitely not as snazzy as his competitors with all the bells and whistles, it is very personal and includes all pertinent links to more information on campaign activities. Grade: A
  • RSS—You can subscribe to the daily updates blog, as well as The Daily Dose, although the newsroom sections don’t have RSS feeds available. Grade: A-
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Unlike all the other Republican candidates, Ron has an official Twitter page.

Mitt Romney, Second in Class (Overall: B+)

  • Online Video—Of course, Mitt has the token YouTube channel, but the Mitt TV section of Mitt’s site is what sets it apart in terms of visual online content. The section is incredibly well-organized and catalogs videos by category, including events, interviews, news, and even a section for “fun” videos. Grade: A+
  • Blogging—Mitt’s “Five Brothers” blog, which includes posts from Mitt, his wife Ann and five sons, is updated on a regular basis, sometimes more than once a day. The posts are often made by Mitt’s sons (Mitt himself hasn’t updated since 9/11 of last year), and add a great personal element to the blog even if Mitt isn’t the one posting. Grade: A
  • Social Networks—Facebook profile? Check, and it’s well fleshed out and updated with news and videos to boot. MySpace page? Check, and also very well-organized with personal profile info, a video welcome, and Slide photo show. Mitt also has a Meetup page and a Flickr account that includes photos from the campaign trail. Grade: A-
  • RSS—While the “Five Brothers” blog does have separate RSS feeds for all authors (click here and see lefthand corner), there’s no RSS feed for Mitt TV and no RSS feed for the news section. Bummer! Grade: B
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Nope! But if Mitt decides to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, someone’s already parked the MittRomney username and has 34 followers (no updates to speak of).

Mike Huckabee, Average Abe (Overall: B)

  • Online Video—Typical YouTube Channel and a video archive in the newsroom. Nothing special, nothing innovative. *Yawn* Grade: B-
  • BloggingMike has a very consistently updated blog that runs the gamut from video posts to general news announcements to calls to action. Also includes a great, incredibly lengthy blogroll of other blogs supporting Huckabee’s campaign. Extra credit for some cool blog widgets for supporters to load on their own blogs. Grade: A+
  • Social Networks—Very basic Facebook profile, but brownie points for the active discussion boards. Standard MySpace profile with a video welcome as a nice personal touch. Mike goes for the basics but could stretch his social networking skills much farther. Grade: B-
  • RSSRSS for the blog, but nothing else. Eh for minimal effort to syndicate content. Grade: B
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—No dice. Not even a parked page for this one.

John McCain, Barely Passing (Grade: C)

  • Online VideoYouTube channel and some videos on MySpace. Blase, much? Grade: C+
  • Blogging—The blog is a very basic set of general updates and video posts with little to no personality. Grade: C
  • Social Networks—Blah Facebook profile, although his MySpace page boasts some multimedia facets and a few videos. Overall pretty weak. Grade: C
  • RSSFeeds are available for the blog but there’s no feeds for the newsroom or any other part of the site. Grade: B
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Nope, but as with Romney, someone’s parked the JohnMcCain username and already has 28 followers (no updates to speak of).

And that’s a wrap. No doubt as the race for Republican nominee continues to heighten in intensity, candidates will consider additional social media tactics as a way to boost their visibility among their wavering constituents.

But don’t worry Dems, we haven’t forgotten about you. socialTNT will be posting on the Democratic candidate reviews this week. In the meantime, tell us how you’re following the presidential race using social media technologies. Is it Twitter? Blogs? Online video? Let us know in the comments!

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[The above photo, “vote for this guy” by switch_1010 on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

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Filed under 2.0 Politik, Future of Media, Politics, Social Media, Social Networking