Twitter and Journalism

It’s more than apparent that social media has changed the playing field when it comes to reporting events. News gets out instantly all over the world. News is constantly flowing and keeping people informed. There have been so many discussions of pros and cons of this kind of social media news system. It’s not hard to get lost in the shuffle of the noise of a 24/7 news cycle and journalist seem to have taken an especially hard hit. Just writing about the basics of a story isn’t enough anymore. Kerry Lauman, the editor-in-chief of Salon magazine has said that, “…Twitter has raised the bar, not only for his publication and election coverage, but for all journalists and all news outlets. The mantra Lauman operates by now: “Be faster than anyone better than you, and better than anyone faster than you,” (Is Twitter Helping or Harming Politcal Journalism?). Social media is forcing journalists to, “…become more witty, critical and generally more interesting in their writing, to compensate for readers who had already consumed the information via social [media],” (Is Twitter Helping or Harming Politcal Journalism?).

            Some argue that twitter is helpful to journalism because it can allow users to search for sources on breaking news and “…gather community quotes,” (10 ways twitter is valuable to journalists). Twitter can also give journalists story ideas because it allows the “community conversation” to be heard. If there are a lot of tweets on one topic this can give journalists a “…heads-up that something is becoming a hot topic [they] should cover,” (10 ways twitter is valuable to journalists). Trending topics can be the best place to search for your next big story and allow a journalist to find sources amongst the users talking about a trending topic.

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Twitter can also allow for journalists to respond to criticism and questions about stories they have written which can create a better sense of audience engagement and community.

            So is it really that twitter is harming journalists or is it that twitter is forcing journalists to work harder to engage and keep readers? In PR we will sometimes have to cover stories on companies or individuals like political candidates that we may work for. How can we utilize twitter for our own PR writing, which can, at times, include writing feature stories?

 

References

Buttry, S. (n.d.). 10 ways twitter is valuable to journalists. The Buttry Diary. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/10-ways-twitter-is-valuable-to-journalists/

Prakash, N. (n.d.). Is Twitter helping or harming political journalism?. Mashable. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://mashable.com/2012/11/30/twitter-political-journalism/

 

Analytics and the Business of Blogging

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In my time in college I have had it ingrained in my brain over and over again that content is king in public relations and advertising. If your content isn’t appealing then your audience won’t read your brochure or stay on your website. Thanks to tools now available like Google Analytics, content management is becoming easier than ever. Google analytics can even be installed on many blogging sites including WordPress and blogger. After reading chapter 11 in Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals, “The Business of Blogging,” it helped me realize just how useful Analytics could really be in order to have a successful blog for yourself and for a business.

For those who don’t know what Google Analytics is, in short, it’s a free tool for tracking site statistics but most users never get, “…more than just a pretty interface with interesting graphs,” (50 Resources for getting the most out of Google Analytics) out of Analytics because it can be a bit complicated to fully utilize and understand. Thankfully there are blogs like Kissmetrics who have compiled a list of articles and how-to guides for Analytics beginners all the way through those ready to try new and advanced features.

A lot of what was discussed in chapter 11 of Share This can be utilized even more effectively when using tools like Analytics. For example, the search engine optimization (SEO) of a particular site can be studied under analytics. With Analytics it is possible to view the, “…top referring search terms that drove Web traffic to your site,” (How to use Analytics to Create Killer Content). Once those keywords have been discovered, other tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can be used to, “…identify related keywords, as well as highlight High Search/Low Competition keywords,” (How to use Analytics to Create Killer Content). High Search/Low Competition keywords allow an opportunity for a specific site or blog post to place highly among those search terms. In essences, it is terms that are searched frequently but don’t wield a lot of competitive results.

Google Analytics allows users to keep the data it produces as simple or as in-depth as they desire making it one of the ultimate tools for tracking your blog or website and understanding how to utilize that data in order to create better audience engagement and more website traffic.

 

Brown, D. (n.d.). How To Use Google Analytics To Create Killer Content  | OPEN Forum. OPEN Forum  Site Wide Activity RSS. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from https://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-use-google-analytics-to-create-the-ultimate-content/

CIPR. (2013). Share This Too: More social media solutions for PR professionalsCIPR.. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Kissmetrics. (n.d.). 50 Resources for Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics. Kissmetrics. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/50-resources-for-getting-the-most-out-of-google-analytics/

LinkedIn Tips: W.I.I.F.M.

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What’s in it for me? (WIIFM) may be the single most important question for PR professionals. In order to engage any audience we may be trying to reach we have to show them what exactly is in it for them. So what about networking sites? We are their audiences. As professionals, LinkedIn is targeting us. But what are the real benefits, why do we use it, and how can we utilize this resource most effectively? 

Lets start with the benefits. According to Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals by CIPR, “LinkedIn sells itself as a platform to connect/reconnect, boost your career and find answers; simple really – just an extension of our offline networks,” (p. 79). LinkedIn allows users to have a profile with a custom URL that is set-up to appear higher in web searches. If you google yourself, chances are your LinkedIn profile will appear near the top of the results, at least that’s how it’s designed to work. If it’s easy to find your professional profile on the internet, employers can find out all they need to know with a few clicks and keystrokes. Being easily found puts you at an advantage over those who aren’t. I would consider that a major benefit. LinkedIn is also the largest professional networking  site. The benefit of this is that LinkedIn allows business professionals to be a part of and connect with a plethora of niche groups based on, “…school, university, employer, shared skills, professional bodies, shared interests, local business networks and so on,” (CIPR, p.81). It a place for you to create a professional presence, connect with others like you, showcase personal achievements, participate in discussions, and manage a personal professional brand online.

Why do we use LinkedIn? If the benefits listed above aren’t enough of a reason to use LinkedIn then consider that, “…75% of US companies will always or sometimes check out a prospective employee’s online profile,” (CIPR, p. 81). Everyone leaves a footprint on the internet. What we post stays with us no matter what. LinkedIn allows us an easy way to prevent the best sides of ourselves in the most professional manner, not to mention it’s probably the fastest way to connect with and get your resume to potential employers. 

How can we utilize this resource most effectively? 

1. Use a professional headshot! I cannot emphasize this enough. This headshot may be the first image a potential employer will see of you. Do you really want your future boss to see a low quality webcam photo with your messy room in the background or a photo of you at a party over a clean and professional headshot that presents you in the best way possible? I didn’t think so. A bad headshot can deter a potential employer from even looking at the rest of your profile despite what skills you may have listed below. With a bad photo they may not even get to the important parts.

2. Check for spelling and grammatical errors! Writing is an essential part of public relations. We have to be great speakers and great writers. If there are spelling and grammatical errors on your profile it will be a major turn-off to potential employers (Fee, What Every College Student…). You can’t claim to have writing skills on your profile if it is riddled with errors.

3. Join discussions in LinkedIn groups. Don’t simply link to relevant content. Make sure to also, “…ask questions or pose a discussion topic,” (Gerber, 9 Pro Tips for…). Being engaged and active in groups will show an interest and that you care. Not to mention you can learn a lot from others who participate in discussions. 

4. “Update your status on LinkedIn rather than Facebook,” (Gerber, 9 Pro Tips for…). LinkedIn isn’t just a resume site. It is a networking site. It is meant to connect us with others but in order to connect we must interact. Users “…receive higher quality visitors to [their] website[s] from a status update on LinkedIn than from other social networks…” because the audience of users is different. You are reaching a different group of people through LinkedIn. You are reaching professionals with an interest in your field. Utilize the social networking aspects of LinkedIn as often as you can in order to reach other professionals.

 

References

CIPR. Share this: the social media handbook for PR professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.

Fee, Jess. “What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/08/12/linkedin-college-students/&gt;.

Gerber, Scott. “9 Pro Tips for Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <http://mashable.com/2013/08/05/how-entrepreneurs-use-linkedin/&gt;.

 

Photo

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Internet_g170-Social_Networking_p19658.html

Politically incorrect pasta: Barilla CEO’s comments spark PR diaster

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Last week during an interview for an Italian radio station Barilla CEO Guido Barilla made anti-gay comments. His words have turned into what can only be called a PR disaster. ” ‘I would never make a spot with a homosexual family,” Guido Barilla said on the Italy radio programLa Zanzara (The Mosquito), according to Italian news agency ANSA. “Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role,’ ” (McCoy, USA Today). He was also quoted as saying that, “As a father of multiple children, I believe it’s very hard to raise kids in a same-sex couple,”(McCoy, USA Today) and, “…[anyone who disagrees could go] eat another brand of pasta,” (Zimmerman, boston.com) There have been outraged reactions around the world and many people are urging friends and family boycott Barilla products. On their Facebook page the following post was made:

“At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors – with love and respect – and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees, and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”

On twitter, Barilla made the following tweet:

            “@BarillaUS: While we cannot undo words that have been said, we can apologize. To all of those that we have hurt or offended,                  we are deeply sorry.”
Other than those two posts and a video apology there hasn’t been any social media activity by Barilla as of September 26th. I find this odd. I would think that Barilla would be trying to reach out more and reform that sense of community after essentially alienating an entire portion of their consumers. As I said in my last post about social media etiquette, one of the most important rules when it comes to social media is to be transparent, helpful and useful online. There are so many responses coming in from consumers over this controversy. There is no way they could ever answer every one but perhaps if they responded to major groups like GLAAD via social media it would show a bit more interest, concern and sincerity about the issue. So far Barilla seems to be lacking any real plan to reconnect with lost consumers. As a PR professional do you think that social media could be utilized in a way to quell the problems the CEO’s statements caused? What would you do during this situation if you worked for Barilla?
References:

Social Media Etiquette: Ethical PR through Social Media

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This week in Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals one of the focuses in the reading was PR Etiquette in social media. Share This had a nice list of proper etiquette for composing a campaign for social media public relations. In a quick summary the list contained the following five rules:

  1. Who are you? – be yourself online
  2. Making friends. – learn how people use social networks and approach them appropriately
  3. What you share and how you share it. – consider what you share with whom
  4. Be transparent, helpful and useful online. – devise a system that lets people know when you are representing a client or brand
  5. Assume that mistakes will happen. – have a strategy for handling mistakes

(Waddington, 2012, p. 52-55)

After doing some further research on PR etiquette I believe that this list needs to be expanded on. There are many things that become important in PR etiquette when it comes to social media. If I were to add a few rules here is what they would be and why:

  1. Don’t gripe or gossip,” (The Creative Group). – Social Media is not your own personal complaint box. Publicly complaining is not appealing no matter what it is about and can negatively effect your image.
  2. Communicate clearly,” (The Creative Group). – Slow down, take your time and focus to make sure that your social media posts are as clear and effective as possible. You have a message to get across, make sure your audience does not have to search for it.
  3. Remember that social networking is a two way street (The Creative Group). You cannot expect everyone to come to you and you cannot just surface when you need help. If you want to receive help from those you network with and if you want to create long-term, lasting networking relationships then you need to make sure that you also support those who support you.
  4. Be unique and original. In order to be effective and to have your message heard you need to offer something that your audience cannot get elsewhere (Miller). Whether you’re pitching to an online media outlet or posting on your own social media you need to be different or you will be looked over. There is a lot of noise to fight though, especially on the internet and on social media sites. Only the strongest cut through the noise.

 

Are there any things you think should be added to the list of proper PR social media etiquette? If you were to pick one rule of etiquette, either from the book, that I’ve provided, or that you come up with yourself, which is the most important and why?

 

References

Miller, M. (n.d.). Online PR Etiquette: 3 Rules for Blogger & Media Outreach. Online Marketing Blog . Retrieved September 24, 2013, from http://www.toprankblog.com/2013/02/online-pr-pitching-etiquette/

Creative Group. (n.d.). Five Tech Etiquette Tips. Public Relations Resources & PR Tools for Communications Professionals: Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Retrieved September 24, 2013, from http://www.prsa.org/jobcenter/career_resources/issues_and_trends/CareerArticleEmployment120402

Waddington, S. (2012). Share this: the social media handbook for PR professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

 

Stock photo: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Computer_Networks_g351-Social_Media_Network_Concept_p127343.html

Tweet-tisments: A Potential new Trend in Television Advertising

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Live tweeting is no longer a foreign concept to those who keep up with social media. There are a plethora of television shows that now have real-time twitter feeds running along the bottom of the screen during air time. Many award and contest shows such as NBC’s The Voice keep track of what is going on during the show through Twitter. The Voice even has a social media correspondent, Christian Millian, who is meant to bridge, “…the on air experience of ‘The Voice’ with the online experience and [bring] viewers closer to the competition,” (Social Media Correspondent Blog).

Advertising campaigns are utilizing twitter now as well. For me, the first campaign that comes to mind when I think advertising and twitter is Kmart’s Ship my Pants campaign that was meant to inform clients about their new “ship to home” service. Before the commercial even aired it all started with a hashtag on twitter. The idea was to get customers intrigued before the commercial even aired by making vague references in tweets that all carried the same hashtag and the response to the ship my pants commercial was staggering. The video went viral and was shared across nearly every social media platform imaginable, including twitter. As of right now the commercial has over 19 million views on youtube.

But what happens when you combined live tweeting and advertising? A Romanian Coca-Cola ad developed by Ad agency MRM Worldwide recently found out. The campaign addresses the fact that 6/10 people in Romania don’t eat meals together but instead eat alone and usually sitting in front of the TV. When the ads aired on twitter viewers could tweet their friends to invite them over for dinner and use the hashtag #LetsEatTogether in order to try and get their tweets aired on the commercials in realtime. Between 5-7 tweets aired per ad after being selected through software that MRM Worldwide created specifically for this campaign. These ads made the evening news in Romania as well as increased Coca-Cola’s Romania twitter followers by 15%.

Do you think something like this could be successful in the US? According to Nir Refuah, the general manager of MRM Worldwide said, “…such a program could conceivably run in the U.S. as well. One positive outcome: ‘It made people actually wait for the ad. How often does that happen?'” (Wasserman, 2013).

References

NBC. (n.d.). Social Media Correspondent. NBC.. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.nbc.com/the-voice/social-media-correspondent/blog/

Wasserman, T. (2013, September 9). Coke Ad Includes Live Tweets. Mashable. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from   http://mashable.com/2013/09/09/coke-ad-live-tweets/

Head to Head to Head! Social Networks vs. Networking Sites vs. Social Media

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While reading the first chapter of our textbook one of the focuses was the difference between social media, social networking and networking sites. According to Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals social networks is an, “umbrella phrase” that all forms of social media connections and platforms fall under (p. 6). Many people often confuse all these terms because they have similar meanings but they are, in some ways, very different. Social media is, “…a marathon and not a sprint,” (5 Differences Between…, Hartshorn). It requires more time to build up a base of followers or fans if you are not already established or popular. It is also more difficult to control conversation through social media where as with social networking the individual chooses whom he or she is in contact with. Your network grows through conversation with others and it becomes more personal because of this (5 Differences Between…, Hartshorn). Mark Stelzner of Examiner.com has said that, “ Social Media are tools for sharing and discussing information.  Social Networking is the use of communities of interest to connect to others.  You can use Social Media to facilitate Social Networking.  Or, your can network by leveraging Social Media, (Stelzner, Social Media vs. Social Networking…). All of these things, social media, social networking, and networking, can be used together to create the most cohesive and efficient campaign. Some public relations and advertising campaigns may utilize all three while others will use whichever one best works for that particular product, company, or brand.

 The textbook’s example of the best networking site is LinkedIn and for obvious reasons. LinkedIn is a site that was created for professionals that allows users to network and connect on a worldwide scale. It is often used to, “…look for jobs and read work-related content…” (Linkedin, Mashable). LinkedIn can also be used to apply for jobs within the site as they have a feature called “Apply with LinkedIn” that allows this. LinkedIn lets users create professional connections with others in their work environment and around the world. The individual chooses who they come in contact with.

Youtube is good example of social media because it is all about creating and sharing information for a wide audience. You cannot necessarily controls who sees your content or control the traffic to your content unless you pay to have your video advertised or utilized other forms of social media or social networking to bring traffic to your video. And even then there is no guarantee that other users will come watch your content. It becomes about drawing in an audience. It is not necessarily personal or individualized but rather for a broad audience. It’s less of you showing your content to a user and more of users finding the content themselves and starting their own conversations or brushing right past it.

Now what about sites like Facebook and Twitter? Are they social media or social networking? Lon S. Cohen, a social media writer who has written articles for sites like Mashable as well as his personal blog, believes that they straddling the line between social media and social networking. Facebook’s original intention was to be a networking site for college students and has since become a platform to host pictures, videos, links, lists of interests, and micro-blogging. Cohen says that, “For the most part, Facebook is a Networking site but because it devotes so much of its layout to a space where I can pack in my own stuff it is perfect for Media too. The density of information I can project is almost limitless (Is There a Difference Between…). Cohen’s view of Twitter is very much the same; it is a simple site that can be used for whatever the user wants. The platform for microblogging and following your friends turned into a site for photos, short videos, and blurbs of thought. Connections can still be worthwhile despite how much the site has expanded. The user controls who and what her or she sees on his or her dashboard. Cohen says that, “The minimalist functionality of Twitter is probably its most powerful feature enabling it to be many things to many people. The debates rage on whether Twitter should be for brands, for celebrities, or just for conversations with real people. The real secret is, it’s for anything you want,” (Is There a Difference Between…).  Twitter is a site that allows users to create what content they put out as well as what content they see. Meaningful connections and conversations can still be had. It honestly all depends on the user and how the site features are utilized.

What do you think the differences between social media, social networking, and networking sites are?

Do you believe that Twitter and Facebook are both social media and social networking? Are they one or the other? If so which one and why?

 

 

 

References

CIPR. (2012). Share this: the social media handbook for PR professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Cohen, L. S. (n.d.). Is There A Difference Between Social Media And Social Networking?. lonscohen. Retrieved September 2, 2013, from lonscohen.com/blog/2009/04/difference-between-social-media-and-social-networking/

Hartshorn, S. (n.d.). 5 Differences Between Social Media and Social Networking | Social Media Today.  News & Analysis on Social Media Marketing, Strategy & Social Business | Social Media Today. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://socialmediatoday.com/index.php?q=SMC/194754

Mashable. (n.d.). Linkedin. Mashable. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://mashable.com/category/linkedin/

Stelzner, M. (n.d.). Social Media vs. Social Networking: What’s the difference? – National networking | Examiner.com. Welcome to Examiner.com | Examiner.com. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://www.examiner.com/article/social-media-vs-social-networking-what-s-the-difference