Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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November 22, 2010

Understanding methods & collaborating with others to solve the mystery surrounding Social Media ROI in Public Relations

the wordle for this post

the 'wordle' for this post!

One of the primary lessons and points I have communicated and shared with both my students at the University of Tennessee and in the IMC Graduate Program at WVU is the fact that research is definitely important before implementing a public relations campaign.  Understanding our publics based on their demographic information, psychographics, attitudes, behaviors, self-interest, and motivation is absolutely key.  In order to create a strategic public relations campaign with effective messages and strategies – research has to be done beforehand.  This applies to both public relations campaigns done in real life, and online as well.

Of course, with implementing research and setting clear and concise objectives – we have to determine how we are going to evaluate whether or not we accomplished what we set off in the first place.  The biggest struggle particularly in social media is to determine the ROI, or Return on Investment.  However, some have categorized this more as Return on Influence.

So, is it more important to look at how many followers we have on Twitter, the value of a fan on Facebook, or how many hits we are getting on our website, or is it more important to look at the quality of the conversations emerging from this ongoing and dynamic dialogue?  We have many services online available for us to do look at the first part of the last sentence, but what about looking at the themes and meaning arising from the dialogue emerging?  What is meaningful and what is just noise?

This is the million dollar question – for the researcher and practitioner in PR who can determine what the value of an relationship is virtually as well as determine whether or not this impacts real-life business and PR transactions – this still remains to be explored further.  What is key is understanding the need to be able to do the following three things in regards to evaluation:  implement and evaluate qualitative methods in social media research, quantitative research methods, and be able to calculate and report ROI metrics.

In summary, public relations professionals need to have this ongoing discussion both in the academic world as well as in practice to determine what are the best ways in measuring social media and evaluating these methods to determine whether or not they were successful for our clients and campaigns.  This also is a call for more collaboration between other disciplines in this line of research with PR, such as in Marketing, Advertising, Psychology, Systems Engineering, and others.  We need to all be working and discussing this together – this is the wave of the future to become more transdisciplinary in both our profession and as a discipline.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen

July 15, 2010

Old Spice Social Media Campaign: Engaging, interactive, and a great example of how to do a PR / Marketing Campaign well online

Recently, there have been some brands that have been lableed as being the ones to look at in terms of best practices in social media – whether it is with Foursquare (Starbucks) to Twitter (Dell and Best Buy) to Facebook (Coca-Cola). However, another brand is showing all of these brands that there is a new social media leader in the online community, and it is Old Spice.

Numerous social media sites like Mashable and Wired have discussed how Old Spice and their Old Spice Man commercials are setting the standard on how corporations can successfully implement a strategic social media campaign. These commercials first were introduced to the public back in the Super Bowl. In the commercials, the Old Spice Man appears in various settings fluidly with witty comments and creates a sense of engagement and interaction with the audience. The spokesperson in the commercial provides humor and makes you remember the commercial because you are laughing at some of the phrases used in the commercial.

With this being said, the reaction online to this campaign has been very positive – and you can see why. Old Spice is creating a campaign that is engaging with audiences, and they are sharing information about their product, but they are also listening to their customers online – which is key. In addition, they are thinking about the long-term relationships with the audiences and not the bottom line in their commercials – and this is what people are looking for today.

Presently, there are so many stories that appear in the national and international press that are either negative or down – and I do believe that people are looking for humor and avenues where they can laugh. Old Spice has created a very integrated and strategic social media campaign – and it is setting a very high standard for other brands to follow. This will be an interesting PR / Marketing case study to look at in the next few years – it is always nice to see a corporation doing something right for a change. :)

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,
Karen

June 27, 2010

Coffee+Social media = FABULOUS!: How Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are leaders in social media

As many of my friends and family know – there are certain things that definitely make me happy and feel absolutely fabulous.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, travel to new places, cooking, and photography.  But, there are two things that my friends and family associate with me:  coffee (a major food group!) and social media.  Now, if you have coffee AND social media together – it is indeed a beautiful thing!  That is why Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are definitely leaders in social media and evolutionizing their brands online.  Starbucks has clearly been a leader in social media for years.

From jumping on board with Facebook and Twitter – they have grown their online presence to amazing heights.  Starbucks has also been ranked as one of the top brands on engagement with their customers and other stakeholders in 2009.  Now, Starbucks has been considered to be one of the companies that is really taking advantage and setting the tone for businesses on Foursquare.  Starbucks is offering their mayors at various locations (people that check in the most on Foursquare and the specific Starbucks) discounts on Starbucks products as well as having their own barista badge.

While Starbucks is setting the stage for other brands to follow on Foursquare and other social media platforms, Dunkin Donuts also is making a mark for themselves on social media as well.  Dunkin Donuts has utilized social media to definitely create engagement and interaction with their customers through specific campaigns, such as the one where they asked their customers to design a donut that they would like to have through a specific website.  They also rewarded their Facebook fans who changed their profile picture to feature a Dunkin donuts product (ex. coffee or donut).  This is an interesting way to create engagement that is unique and utilizing these various social media platforms differently.

In summary, both Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are both leading the way with their brands on social media – both in their innovation and application of social media in their traditional marketing and public relations campaigns to using the new medium in engaging with their audiences.  Plus, both companies have fabulous coffee! :)  When I go to Starbucks – I get myself a non-fat cafe misto (my friend Angela got me into these!) and an extra large coffee at Dunkin Donuts (HEART!) :)  Both companies have great coffee and are indeed leaders in implementing and using social media – more companies should look at what these two brands are doing and use them as case studies.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen

February 12, 2010

From getting the news to following the Winter Olympics: The evolution of mobile applications and PR

It appears that people are really getting on board with the mobile applications and using them for various reasons.  A recent post by Mashable discusses a study that was conducted by Flurry that discusses what are some of the activities people are using their smartphones and applications for.  The top results included applications for entertainment, news, games, lifestyle, and social networking.  The two leading mobile products that were looked at in this research study included the iPhone and the Android.

Flurry Study Results on Mobile Application Use (2010)

Another trend that we are seeing is more integration with traditional media and non-traditional media for events and campaigns.  We are also seeing more mobile applications and web site tools for these events as well.  For example,  Yahoo! recently established a mobile site for the Winter Olympics so people can get the latest information, statistics, and news stories regarding about the different sports.

What will be interesting to see is how people will be using these applications when dealing with a crisis situation.  Are companies going to have applications set up in place just in case of a crisis situation.  What will be included in these applications?  How will these applications be designed?  These are some things that I think that public relations professionals need to consider and possibly recommend for their clients and agencies.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen

December 7, 2009

Quantitative or Qualitative Perspectives?: Which one is best to have for social media research for public relations professionals?

Social media measurement is indeed a hot topic among the public relations community.  Professionals and researchers are actively searching for ways to collect and observe what is occuring in the social media realm in terms of key messages, tweets, sharing information and visual communications (ex. videos and pictures) with others.  But what is the best way to approach this task?  Should public relations researchers focus on looking at just quantitative research methods in looking at social media?  Or should we look more towards the social construction of the messages online and interview those that are actively on social media to create specific interactions (more qualitative research)?

Well, there are some professionals that advocate using the scientific method to their approach in looking at social media.  This is indeed a good start – we as researchers need to observe what is happening in our environment and separate ourselves from what is going on and our own bias regarding social media.  There are other quantitative tools for researchers to use to track and monitor social media effectively – but these usually come with a price, but there are some that are free.  However, what we as public relations professionals need to do is to take a moment away from keyboard and our social media research platform – look at the level of engagement between individuals and listen.  There are certain steps that you can actively take that can accomplish this and do effective social media research.

For social media research to evolve and help the public relations field, we need scholars and professionals who want to actively observe what is going on in the online community and be able to detect the relationships between specific variables (quantitative research) and having the open mind to look at the impact of the messages and meaning behind these online interactions (qualitative research).  So basically, we need to have an integrated perspective towards research and looking at it from different perspectives in a systematic way.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,

Karen

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