Social Media: Under Construction

On Wednesday, July 9, Terry Morawski and I collaborated on a social media presentation for the Greater Fort Worth chapter of PRSA:

Under Construction

Social Media: Under Construction

Social Media Under Construction (PDF)

Social Media: Under Construction (PPT)

Social Media: Under Construction (Slideshare)

I am looking forward to reading the comments and feedback from the attendees.

Who are the people in your Twitter-hood?

Using Twitter for PR efforts should not be seen as a suggestion, but rather a necessity.

Now, in no way am I advocating PR professionals join Twitter and start pitching away at any and all journalists they find. This is a bad idea and will get you blocked faster than you can say, “SPAM-a-lama-ding-dong.”

What I find necessary are the useful things about Twitter that every PR person can and should use:

  • knowledge finding
  • personal branding
  • community engaging
  • relationship building
  • idea banking
  • advise seeking

If you keep some of these things in mind, I believe PR people will start to get more out of Twitter than you previously thought possible from this useful application that asks the question, “What are you doing?”

Why do I believe this? Because our organizations or clients are made up of people and not pitches. Todd Defren of PR Squared puts it this way:

In the Social Media era, getting better at Public Relations means getting better at the Relationships, not the Publicity. [emphasis added]

If PR people believe the statement above, then we can be better at putting into practice the statement below:

…public relations builds relationships and creates an ongoing dialogue of interaction and involvement with an organization’s target audiences and those who influence those audiences.

How do you use twitter? Are you using your twitter-hood to its potential?

Musical Inspiration for Social Media


Rent Signage

Originally uploaded by m_halminen

“Why are you so in to this social media stuff?” I get questions like this from family, friends, colleagues and I haven’t really been able to nail down a good explanation that suits me…until now.

I have found some social media inspiration in a song that helps explain why I am so fascinated in social media. It comes from one of my favorite musicals, Rent by Jonathan Larson.

La Vie Boheme

To days of inspiration,
Playing hooky, making something
Out of nothing, the need
To express-
To communicate,
To going against the grain,
Going insane,
Going mad

Now, I will probably not immediately start singing when I am asked again, but I may hit the high points of why social media resonates with me.

Days of inspiration…making something out of nothing…the need to express, to communicate…

These are things that make social media so interesting to me. What makes social media interesting to you?

Side notes: Rent is leaving Broadway on September 7. The Rent Web site and other related sites have some interesting examples of social media in action: Rent Countdown Blog, EverythingIsRENT You Tube Channel, Goodbye, Love Message Board, Speak Your Heart Forum, and others. While I did not get to see the show on Broadway, I did get to see touring casts in Dallas and Fort Worth and they lived up to expectations.

POST starts with “P”

I am reading Groundswell by Forrester Research’s Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. This book is easily one of the most intriguing professional books I’ve read in a while. According to Li and Bernoff the groundswell is:

A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.

While I don’t particularly care for the name they chose to describe the social media phenomenon, I do appreciate the terrific insight and research they’ve provided.

One graphical representation from the book helps explain the Social Technographics® Profile in the form of a Ladder to represent consumers’ social computing behavior categorized by participation.

Social Technographics Ladder

The social participation rungs in the ladder are (from bottom to top): Inactives, Spectators, Joiners, Collectors, Critics, and Creators with explanations of each. The authors provide various samples of profiles to help drive home the point that different people come to you and your company or organization at very different levels of social media participation.

The POST Method

There are implications for business in assessing participation, especially when one applies the POST method for a social media strategy:

  1. Assess the social activities of your People;
  2. Decide what Objectives you want to accomplish;
  3. Plan your Strategy for changes in customer relations; then
  4. Decide on the suitable Technology or technologies to meet your goals.

I was struck by something so simple, but could have serious implications for those interested in social media if forgotten: The POST method starts with “P” for People.

People Matter

If you don’t have your people, (audience, stakeholders, customers, community, or any other term you use) your social media strategy will be much harder to effectively implement and accurately assess.

To often Communication/PR practitioners are presented with the challenge of adding a social media to their communication efforts and they jump straight to the latest and greatest social media technology with buzz.

I am all for jumping in and experimenting with social media mainly because you are more credible if you’ve experienced the various forms of social media. This holds true even if you outsource.

However, I caution (from experience) that your community participation assessment should come first.

If the biggest sin in social media is inaction, then I think the biggest mistake is not knowing your people.

Social Media for the Newbies, Act III

Now for some free pointers from one of the trailblazers in Social Media, Brian Solis. Check out The Essential Guide to Social Media – A Free eBook. Did I mention that it’s free?

So what are you waiting for? Get Started. Be informed. Get in the game.

Social Media for Newbies, Act II

If you are anything like me, and you find social media tools fascinating and the communication potential for your organization growing, please consider yet another video to help explain the big picture.

The folks at Common Craft did it again: Social Media In Plain English

Along with having another way of explaining Social Media, now I want some ice cream too!

The changing landscape of Public Relations

I am proud to be a public relations professional. Some outside people might scoff at the idea of being in PR. They (like many people I would guess) have an antiquated idea of public relations.

There is a great song by Jimmy Buffet, Public Relations off of the Don’t Stop The Carnival album about Norman Paperman, a Broadway press agent who is in need of an awakening:

Up every morning, out every evening
Hustling for headlines, that’s what I do
Table at Sardi’s, grappling for gossip
Working the press for a mention or two
I never acted like some nervous rookie
Right form the start I was hot as a cookie
I was a numero uno
What a debut

Chorus:
Public Relations, Public Relations
Boozing and schmoozing, that’s what I do
PR’s my vocation
And I’m a sensation
Public relations

Such hullabaloo

Chorus:
Public Relations, Public Relations
Ego inflation, that’s what I do
Isn’t it wonderful, isn’t it fabulou
Public Relations, such hullabaloo

While humorous, the song’s lyrics say what many people may think about PR.

We should not forget the bread and butter of our craft (especially in media relations). However, with the changing communication landscape PR professionals need to be better equipped at integrating social media.

So what does it mean to practice PR? According to the “bible” of public relations, Cutlip, Center and Broom’s definition:

Public relations is a management function that seeks to identify, build, and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and all of the publics on whom its success or failure depends.”

Mutually beneficial relationships

Relationships should be nurtured and grown over time. As a PR professional, I need to seek out and adapt to ways of reaching my organization’s community.

I like the idea of getting rid of the word “users” and replacing it with “guests”.

I agree that we need to be more efficient.

I think Jason Falls is on to something when he asks “Can Advertising Truly Be Social?”

And even though he specifically targets agencies, Todd Defren’s post Five Thoughts on the Future of Public Relations should get the rest of us thinking.

I once read the following:

Don’t confuse revolutionary change with evolutionary change.

In this case, the evolutionary change must come from the PR practitioner. Keep up or get left behind.