Vocus Online Conference Summary Part 5 – Brian Solis “Engage or Die!”

brian solis engage or die

Public Relations Management software providers Vocus held a fantastic webinar on Wednesday 28th July 2010, including talks from five influential speakers from the PR, marketing and social media world: Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott , Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day of marketing and 2.0 insights and we thought for those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the speakers and get involved in the live chat, we’d summarise each speaker’s presentation (and their scheduled chat afterwards) and try to answer any unanswered questions from the chatrooms. Every weekday this week, we will post a summary on the blog, following up next week with the chat questions. Enjoy!

Brian Solis – Founder and Principle of FutureWorks

“Engage or Die!”

The final keynote speaker of the Vocus Online Conference was Brian Solis with his talk “Engage or Die!” on the way PR must adapt to exist in the world of social media.

Overview:

Social media is having a massive effect on public relations, media and business. Within social media we are actively working out the future of media before media itself. As social media marketers, we need to lead the transformation from traditional PR to the level of engagement that social media demands. We are in the era of “Engage or Die!”

Traditionally, public relations is a one-way street; press releases, pitches and advertising spam customers with information that they have no way to interact with. We just have to hope that they respond to it. We have to earn the right to engage with our consumers, and with social media we are given the opportunity to do so. We are no longer pitching and broadcasting, we are entering into conversations and interactions. But how do we accomplish this?

“At some point, we have to stop asking questions, and start answering them for ourselves.”

Solis went on to advise that by all means research existing case studies and success stories, but don’t let them influence your approaches to social media. Think creatively and appropriately to your business, your customers and your market to find a niche or solution that will work in the best way possible for your own situation.

There is no magical short cut. We need to find answers appropriate to our business and learn and develop and measure and innovate to improve. We must let go of the desire to control our brand and take the opportunity to steer perceptions the way we want them to go, through personal engagement and appealing to our audience.

brian solis engage or die

The main contenders are the obvious choices for starting a social media presence: Facebook has hit the 500 million user mark, Twitter has over 190 million, YouTube hosts 9 billion streams per month and Foursquare is fast growing with 1.6 million users. But there are also hundreds of other very important channels where individuals are communicating with each other. Find out where the relevant conversations are taking place that are important to your business and marketplace. Research keywords, competitors and your brand’s profile. Investigate where you should be making an impact and earning attention – the major currency in content commerce.

Social media moves fast. The length of time an object stays alive in social media is a measure of its resonance and its value. Attention is spread thin and to have your content stay afloat in the reams of conversation and streams of information that pass by every second is what you are aiming for. We do this by publishing relevant and valuable content that people strive to keep visible. Measure your success by running monitoring tests on particular social objects, for example a tweet. Measure the click through rate, sharing, follows, retweets etc and find out how long each item is visible and engaged with.

By contributing valuable content and participating in conversations which benefit your audience as individuals and as a community, you will earn significance and prominence. If people want to listen to what you have to say, they will also share it, distribute it and shout it from the rooftops for you.

Putting the ‘Me’ in Social Media

It takes time and effort to establish a presence, but the more people who follow and respond to you, the more chance you have to learn how to participate within your networks. Your audience has their own audience, and you want them to benefit from your insights and experiences, you want them to want to know what you think, and pass that message on.

It’s important to investigate how information travels, where it clusters, the lengths to which it spreads, and through which networks. When is the best time to tweet, to ‘disrupt’ the flow and make the most of that attention aperture.

Then, think about what you’re posting – our actions equate to social media currency. Everything we say and do helps to define our reputation, credibility and presence online socially. Relationships are gained through actions and words that resonate and inspire. Monitor what people are reacting to through tools like Klout, URL shorteners like Bit.ly and Hootsuite and social media monitoring programs.

social media marketing

Become the Influencer

Invest some time in developing a strategy and an aim. What are you trying to achieve? Followers, brand strength, conversions, awareness? A great example of a simple plan of action that Solis gave was Starbucks giving free coupons to the most influential tweeters of coffee related subjects. These influencers took their coupon, got a free coffee and then shared their experiences and opinions with the world, and their audience of coffee-loving contacts. Strategic customer relations can work fantastically within social media because you are connecting on a personal level to what people really want.

Simply sharing content is not enough, you need direct interaction with people who will influence others. Get the right people to see what you’re sharing and they will provide you with an appropriate audience and connect more people with your content.

The process of transaction generally follows these steps – for example, take a tweeter looking for an exciting new pastime:

1. Need – “I really want a boomerang!”

2. Awareness – “Hey tweeple, know where I can get a cool new boomerang?”

3. Consideration – “Hmm, this one’s a bit too expensive, any other suggestions?”

4. Decision – “I’ve found the perfect one! Cha-ching!”

5. Satisfaction – “Wow, this boomerang is the best darn boomerang I’ve ever seen…”

6. Recommendation – “Everybody, you’ve got to get one of these boomerangs, they’ll change your life!”

Ahem. What I’m trying to show here is that you can identify explicitly the stages of a decision making process because they are defined and shared through social media: what people are looking for, why they want that particular product/service/information, where they’re looking for it, what they find and what their evaluation is.

Now, say you sell boomerangs. You want to listen and explore conversations and exchanges concerning boomerangs – how people are communicating, in what media, what questions they want answers to, what problems they are coming up against. Venture outside your domains to find this information. Tap into communities that already exist in relevant markets.  Entering into those conversations and groups and providing the advice and answers your customers are directly looking for will expand your network and gain you influential followers. Context is king.

“Unmarket”

We need to break out of the public relations box and change the way we market. We’re not yelling at people “come buy my product!” but instead producing great content that helps people and sells products through “unmarketing”.

Can you distil a press release into 140 characters or less? Brevity is a skill which will provide you with focused messages which are concise and eye-catching. Make the most of the social media available to you and make your social media newsroom or company blog a place to interact. Social media is rich with emotional connections – we share things because they speak to us, they resonate, they move us in some way.

Communication is more important than a pitch. Make people feel that they are part of your network. Encourage them to become your ambassador. Social media has its own society and you must participate in a genuine way for people to believe in you and pay attention to what you are saying.

social media marketing

Tips and Hints (from the live chat)

– Don’t just target the A-listers as your main influencers. Consider the ‘magic middle’, populated by people who may have less of an audience, but who have a following of highly concentrated individuals actively seeking the information from that person. Gaining the support of one of these influencers can be more effective than an A-lister.

– Gaining influencers is still, despite the many tools out there, mainly a manual process – you need to research and investigate the best people to connect with, and achieve that by reading what they are writing, finding out what they are about and forming a relationship.

– Find an angle or approach that interests people. Targeting the right individual with the right angle will make a story reach further than you can imagine.

– Personalise – don’t just bug someone because they are going to be influential in your targeted field – engage with them on a personal level to build a beneficial relationship.

– Invest time in your research and identification of your niche. Monitor and track content to see what works and what doesn’t. Have clear goals in mind before you make your move.

– Be prepared to stand out in front of your company and represent them personally. You don’t just have to ghost-write for the brand – make connections on a personal level.

Well, that’s all from us today – thanks again to Brian Solis for a great presentation. Come back next week for our Q&A session comprised of all the questions that couldn’t get answered on the day. 

You can read the other parts of our Vocus Online Conference Summary series with Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott, Beth Harte and Lee Odden on the Ikroh blog.

 Resources:

Books/Blog Posts:

Engage! by Brian Solis

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deidre Breakenridge

The Hybrid Theory Manifesto by Brian Solis

Websites:

www.briansolis.com

www.future-works.com

www.nowisgone.com

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Vocus Online Conference Summary Part 4 – Lee Odden

social media marketing

Public Relations Management software providers Vocus held a fantastic webinar on Wednesday 28th July 2010, including talks from five influential speakers from the PR, marketing and social media world: Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott , Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day of marketing and 2.0 insights and we thought for those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the speakers and get involved in the live chat, we’d summarise each speaker’s presentation (and their scheduled chat afterwards) and try to answer any unanswered questions from the chatrooms. Every weekday this week, we will post a summary, following up next week with the chat questions. Enjoy!

Lee Odden – TopRankMarketing.com

Lee Odden’s presentation, “Top 10 SEO Tips for PR” explained the basics of integrating search engine optimisation into the public relations and marketing side of business to maximise the potential of your SEO.

Overview:

The purpose of SEO is to make the content on your site easily found by search engines, and in turn, raising your ranking in their result pages. With PR, SEO can do the same optimisation to make your news content easily found by journalists and the media.

“I have received over 25,000 email story pitches over the last two years. Products. Solutions. Tech innovations, etc. How many resulted in stories?  None. I go to the web and search for information on the topic I want to do a story on.”

David Meerman Scott

 Pitches do not result in massive media exposure. Researchers find their own stories, depending on what is trending, what is new, what is engaging. A journalist or researcher’s path to finding a fresh story firstly takes them to a search engine. Next they explore the results, find out facts, information and ideas to expand on. They will choose their content based on their trust of those sources, whether they have a good SEO ranking, if they are an authority on what they are talking about. This leads to a media relationship between the researcher and the source, with journalists using their favourite, trusted sites for information again and again. Obviously, you want your site to be in that position – giving you instant media coverage without having to pitch, cajole or fight for it.

Balancing the Push and Pull

Odden used a Push/Pull explanation to show the difference between traditional PR and SEO-enhanced marketing.

The PUSH covers PR and its outreach approach, for example using wire services, networking, pitching etc, effectively pushing for sales.

In contrast, the PULL is what your content does when it is optimised with SEO, for example distributing press releases, a newsroom or section on your website, social media networking and media coverage.

Implementing SEO into your PR content will both help your site rank higher, and enable your important information and news to be found, shared and distributed.

The Basics

The basics of search engine optimisation are easy to take on board and put into place, making your PR and SEO mutually beneficial. For example you can:

  • Reach journalists and researchers with the content they are looking for.
  • Extend the reach of your PR and communications.
  • Increase unsolicited media placements.
  • Bypass media channels and deliver the information directly to consumers.
  • Protect your brand and online reputation.

Why SEO is Important

By optimising the content on your website or blog, you will assist your existing SEO, adding extra channels in which your content can be shared, linked to and distributed. A higher ranking on SERPs (search engine result pages) lends credibility and trust to your brand and site – essentially showing that you are the Number 1 expert in your field.

Having a beautiful and informative site is not enough – if it isn’t optimised, Google (or other search engines) aren’t going to find it and you won’t be listed for the relevant search terms that relate to your products or services.

Odden gave the example of an Adidas site – full of strong impacting images of men’s sportsware and training shoes… but no actual text on the page – meaning that the site didn’t make it into the top 10 ranking pages for “men’s running shoes”. In contrast, he showed a Patagonia site, similarly image heavy, but also containing navigation content – providing search engine crawlers with plenty of informative text to help them rank the site appropriately. Therefore Patagonia’s site came up as the number one result for “outdoor clothing”.

SEO for PR

Top 10 Tips:

#1 –Make your site searchable! Search engines need to crawl your site to gather the information they require to rank you accordingly. Certain files can block the bots used to do this which results in your pages being missed. Remove any barriers and make sure your site is easy to navigate. Things to check are privacy settings in place to keep bots away while a site is under construction or ensuring that you don’t just duplicate text such as title tags, and be sure to register and validate your site with Webmaster Central so they know your site exists! Search engines thrive on unique, fresh content, and need to know what your page is about so make it easy for them and optimise.

#2 – Optimise all content. Make the most of all and any content you publish by inserting keywords and links, including: blog posts, press releases, news, PDFs, white papers, link and anchor text, interviews, newsletters, even comments. And don’t forget about “digital assets” such as images, video, podcasts and social media interactions. If it’s published, it must be optimised and promoted. Content distribution encourages linking, which also boosts SEO.

#3 – Know when PPC is a better choice than SEO.  SEO is a long term process, ingrained in the content and makeup of your website, building presence and links over time. PPC campaigns run on demand as a more instant alternative to natural listings. There are times when PPC is a better marketing route, such as promoting a business change or new product, or to combat negativity with a realtime reaction in a way that SEO could not do so quickly.

#4 – Research your keywords. SEO generally starts with researching which keywords you want to optimise to best promote your products, services or website. Which words and phrases do people actually search for when they are looking for your specific goods? You can’t just rely on what keywords you already tend to use, or the ones you decide are most important – you MUST do your research in this area, and glean information from your competitors, search engines and keyword tools. Brainstorm, import your keywords into a research tool, check variations, permutations, popularity, relevance, competitors and trends. Do a search and see what types of media come up on the first page – if there are a lot of videos that match your main keywords, it could mean your customers are looking for video answers to their queries, and that’s where you should be adding your content. If a targeted keyword is highly competitive, consider long tail search terms instead.

#5 – Maximise your on-page SEO. Use keywords in title tags, page titles, navigation links, body copy, keyword links, image alt text, URLs, meta tags and so on. Organise your pages logically so bots can easily find the content. Add content regularly and sort into categories or themes according to subject. Monitor your page metrics and adjust if you’re not getting the results you’re after.

 #6 – Optimise press releases. Add your researched keywords into press releases and optimise your content, add a call to action, link to relevant landing pages, add media, post to your newsroom, pitch to the media and distribute via social media to get the most out of a single press release. Press releases can be used as a powerful SEO tool to gain links and increase rankings.

#7 –Optimised your newsroom. Using software like WordPress makes it easy to implement SEO into your newsroom or blog by adding tags, organising posts into categories, inserting keywords and links, enabling RSS or email subscription and site search, linking with your social media networks and posting a variety of fresh, unique content including multimedia.

 #8 – Build links and “electrify” content in search. Inbound links boost your search credibility and will help you rank higher. Earn links with great content, promote your site and content socially, trade links with partners, link internally to other posts or landing pages, embed links in press releases, use keywords in link text rather than “click here”. Bear in mind that natural links are much more powerful than a bought link. Grow your brand’s network through gaining email subscribers and followers and fans on social networks.

#9 – Use social media. Optimise your social media content for search – three of the top ten search engines are searching socially already and it is an area which is likely to become an integral part of natural search. Social media can influence SEO and vice versa: by optimising you are link building, networking and boosting traffic, including the expansion of your social media presence. In turn, social media increases exposure, the amount of places your content is shared and builds natural links, assisting with SEO.  

#10 – Measure PR SEO. There are various ways to monitor your analytics, such as individual wire service metrics, analytics for landing pages, site traffic, Google alerts, monitoring RSS subscriptions, conversion tracking, social media monitoring, amount of inbound links, pick ups on blogs/sites/publications and search rankings. Compare yourself with the competition and see where you can improve.

social media marketing

 Tips and Hints (from the live chat):

Beginners looking into some DIY SEO shouldn’t worry about the differences in optimising for separate search engines (eg Google or Bing). Analytics can give you clues and hints, but unless you are an SEO professional, you should mainly concentrate on keywords, writing engaging content, link building and increasing visibility.

Even text within Flash can be seen by Googlebots in many cases. The best way to optimise this kind of text is to add it to the page where the Flash loads, eg: embed the Flash within the HTML of the page where the text is published.

Great resources for learning search engine optimisation are abundant online, though nothing compares to first hand knowledge and experience. Get involved, go to conferences, network and research. See the resources below for invaluable sources online.

*           *          *

Well, that’s all from us today – thanks again to Vocus and Lee Odden for a great presentation. Come back every weekday this week for the rest of the webinar summaries, and check the blog next week for our Q&A session comprised of all the questions that couldn’t get answered on the day.

You can read the other parts of our Vocus Online Conference Summaries with Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman ScottBeth Harte and Brian Solis at the Ikroh blog.

SEO Resources:

TopRank Guide to SEO

TopRank Blog

Search Engine Land

SEOmoz

SEO Book

List of great SEO books and resources

Guide to image optimisation

Keyword Tools:

Wordtracker

SEMRush

Keyword Discovery

Google Keyword Tools

Google Trends

Google Insights

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Vocus Online Conference Summary Part 3 – Beth Harte

Ikroh’s Summary of the Vocus Online Conference – “Retweet: Engagement Means Business” – Part 3

 
Public Relations Management software providers Vocus held a fantastic webinar on Wednesday 28th July 2010, including talks from five influential speakers from the PR, marketing and social media world: Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott , Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day of marketing and 2.0 insights and we thought for those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the speakers and get involved in the live chat, we’d summarise each speaker’s presentation (and their scheduled chat afterwards) and try to answer any unanswered questions from the chatrooms. Every weekday this week, we will post a summary, following up next week with the chat questions. Enjoy!

Beth Harte – Client Services Director, Serengeti Communications

Beth Harte was the third speaker of the day, with a talk on “Integrated Marketing Communications: Engaging Your Audience”.

Overview

Harte’s speech concerned integrating marketing and communication, using public relations as a mutual relationship and formatting a successful social media strategy. She began by emphasising the importance of listening to what your customers are saying about your company. They have a large portion of control in how your brand is perceived, regardless of your own brand management – they will tell the real facts about how you do business: if your customer service is slack, your delivery is slow, your products are shoddy. No amount of shiny publicity will make up for poor customer relationships.

Public relations is a mutual relationship. Marketing and communications integrated (Marcom) can help you connect and respond to your customers. Ensuring you have happy clients will create advocates who will talk positively about you and your brand across the internet for free.

How to Integrate

Integrated Marcom is not just about your site/blog/print campaign/press releases/etc looking exactly the same. It should be data driven, incorporating careful planning and monitoring to effectively target your audience.

Use Data to Identify Customers/Prospects… and Their Buying Behaviour

You need to show an awareness of a customer’s specific need or problem and provide the answer. All along the journey of purchase, people are using social media to talk about it. First they make a search (or ask others where they should look for a product); next they’ll do some evaluation, prompting more suggestions and opinions from their friends/connections; after they’ve made a decision and a purchase, there will be a post-purchase evaluation, letting others know their final summary and satisfaction.

Estimate the Value of Customers

Demographic targeting is no longer enough. We need to look deeper into psychographics, sociographics and ethnographics, into customers’ values, personal choices and unique preferences, into the online communities and the language they use to interact. Tap into these individualities and connect with them in a way they will be receptive to.

Plan Communication Messages & Incentives

Previously, customers might ally themselves with a certain brand because they enjoy what it provides, or agree with its methods and ethics. With the rise of social media, customers are able to connect and make relationships with communicators within the brand, from the CEO to a representative from a specific department. This allows for multiple audiences, micro targeting and segmentation to broaden your personal touch. Think carefully about putting feelers out to the right channels – where will your audience pay attention? What’s the easiest way to get to them and at what time?

Estimating Return on Customer Investment

Plan, measure and prove. Find ways to monitor your interactions and present these findings to your boss/executives to show how your social media networking is making a difference. For a short term option, perhaps offer a coupon via Twitter or Facebook, something tangible that you can track to see how much traffic or how many conversions it provides. For long term results you need to look at the benefits of your brand identity, customer relationships and general visibility.

Evaluation and Future Planning

Take your data and use it to plan and project into the future. But remember to be flexible, agile and adaptable. If something isn’t working then stop, rethink and find a solution. Experiment and try different methods, different avenues until you get the results you are looking for.

Five ‘R’s for Successful Engagement

#1- Relevancy: Are you delivering what your customers want? Is your communication relevant, compelling and meaningful? Are people finding you where they want to?

#2 – Receptivity: Are you reaching your customers or prospects where they are most receptive? Do you understand how they want to communicate or be communicated with? Don’t be annoying and pushy, get into a conversation, don’t pitch.

#3 – Response: How easy is it for a customer to respond to your offerings? Are you easy to do business with? Is every point of contact knowledgeable? Can you respond quickly and effectively?

#4 – Recognition: Do you recognise who your customers are; their histories, opinions, preferences? Do they recognise you in a sea of brands?

#5 – Relationship: PR and marketing cannot create relationships. Customers determine relationships, in response to how well you treat them. Provide great customer service and you will keep your relationships strong. Do customers pull you to them – are you aware of their needs and answering them?

Strategy and Planning

As Harte explained, to be measurable, objectives must include:

  • A specific desire, communication or behavioural effect
  • A designated target audience among whom the effect is to be achieved
  • The expected level of attainment
  • The timeframe in which those attainments are to occur

Some signifiers of success that you can monitor are: a change in sentiment; mentions, followers and fans; page views and clicks, bookmarking, comments and subscriptions; customer satisfaction impact; and actual increased revenue/conversions. A simple process example Harte gave was:

– Output – the content you have posted, distributed, communicated.
– Outtake – did your audience understand and act/respond/acknowledge?
– Outcome – the result – a change in sentiment, more links, views, traffic etc?

Be aware of “Shiny Object Syndrome” – don’t rush in and spread yourself too thinly because you think you need to have fingers in all the pies. Gather your tools and your research before you go charging in and setting up multiple accounts on lots of different networks. Monitor, listen, THEN respond.

Make the most of the media available to you, and use it according to how your audience will best respond – if your targets are mainly conversing on Twitter, that’s where you should be. If they’re most interested in video then put some content on YouTube. Make your media kits searchable, optimised and shareable. Use tools and monitoring programs to measure your progress and adapt it accordingly. Finally, process the data and analyse with human logic as well as digital metrics – work out the value of everything you do, plan accordingly and move forward.

Tips and Hints (from the live chat):

Business to business (B2B) marketers can struggle, or find it hard to implement B2C techniques appropriately to their market. The benefits of B2B marketing is that data is easy to come by – people may already be talking about a business before they’re even a presence online. Businesses who operate on the internet normally already have some data understanding and data gathering in place, so you can start from there to build a deeper relationship with their customers by sharing and interacting socially.

Social media is ideal for small businesses. They can use the same tools and tactics as a large corporation, but their extra benefit is their small budget. Small businesses tend to be less wasteful with their marketing budget (and remember social media only costs time, otherwise it is generally free). For small businesses, they must first have a goal in place, then start small, make use of the personal side of local business and gather information where their customers are social.

Well, that’s all from us today – thanks again to Vocus and Beth Harte for a great presentation. Come back every weekday this week for the rest of the webinar summaries, and check the blog next week for our Q&A session comprised of all the questions that couldn’t get answered on the day.

You can read the other parts of our Vocus Online Conference Summaries with Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott, Lee Odden and Brian Solis at the Ikroh blog.

Resources:

Books:

Integrated Marketing Commmunications, The Next Generation by Don Schultz

Measuring Public Relationships by Katie Paine

Websites:

www.endlessplain.com
www.serengeticom.com

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Vocus Online Conference Summary Part 2 – David Meerman Scott

Ikroh’s Summary of the Vocus Online Conference – “Retweet: Engagement Means Business” – Part 2

Public Relations Management software providers Vocus held a fantastic webinar on Wednesday 28th July 2010, including talks from five influential speakers from the PR, marketing and social media world: Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott , Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day of marketing and 2.0 insights and we thought for those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the speakers and get involved in the live chat, we’d summarise each speaker’s presentation (and their scheduled chat afterwards) and try to answer any unanswered questions from the chatrooms. Every weekday this week, we will post a summary on the blog, following up next week with the chat questions. Enjoy!

David Meerman Scott

 

David Meerman Scott, author of Game Change – The New Rules of Marketing and PR, kicked off the second presentation of the day, which focused on the power of realtime interaction and response.

Overview

Scott’s main example was based around Dave Carroll’s beef with United after his guitar was broken by some butterfingered luggage handlers on a flight. Carroll wrote a lil’ country song about his frustration with the subsequent “indifference” from United – the video soon went viral on YouTube. United gave no real response, missing a massive opportunity to put things right before their reputation was irrevocably sullied by the ensuing media landslide.

Engaging in realtime is not an unreachable goal – many companies online work in a realtime sense – for example United’s own realtime adjustments to flight information and prices – so why not communicate in the present too? United missed a trick. In contrast, the makers of the Carroll’s broken guitar, Taylor, responded soon after the video’s release with a freebie for Carroll to replace his broken one. Instant press and brownie points for Taylor. Then the “Dave Carroll Traveller Edition” flight case was released by an entertprising company, who struck a deal with Carroll the very same day the video was released. Someone was on the ball and they benefited from their quick reactions.

Working in public relations and marketing, especially online and with social media, we need to be responsive to what is happening right now, and grab the opportunities that will trigger a domino effect of reactions, conversations and engagements.

Earn Attention

Previous methods of PR revolved around looking back into past successes and forward into projected aims – modern marketing needs to operate in the now, in the present, and work in real time.

Scott explained traditional methods of PR to gain attention with the 3 Bs:

–          Buy it – with advertising, mailing lists, even paying for Scott to put your company’s sticker on the back of his laptop for all at his business meetings/conferences to see…

–          Beg it – with news releases, press releases and pitches to the media

–          Bug for it – basically: sales

Earning attention means posting great content, via blogging, e-books, links, micro-blogging, commentary and communication. The media and the public will find you if your story is interesting enough.  “On the web, you are what you publish.” Make sure it represents you and engages your audience.

Working in realtime means taking chances and making the most of moments that you can turn to your advantage. Another example Scott cited was the initiative of musician Amanda Palmer (of Dresden Dolls and Evelyn Evelyn), who was stranded in Iceland during the volcanic ash cloud grounded air traffic. Rather than catching a nap or moaning, she asked for ideas and help on Twitter and managed to secure a lift to the Blue Lagoon for a quick relaxing dip, free dinner and drinks and an impromptu ‘ninja’ gig with a borrowed organ in front of over 100 people.

In the age of social media, customers can divulge, discuss and dismiss your company’s reputation just from one interaction. You need to listen to what’s being said about your business, see what works, what people love, what needs fixing, and get involved. Stop a crisis before it gets out of hand. Answer a question and make a customer happy. Broadcast some breaking news. Publicise a great competition. Share some fantastic information. Put right a bad customer service issue.  Show that you are there and you care!

Successful Realtime Marketing

  • Nobody cares about your products (except you) – speak to your customers normally, don’t use gobbledygook and clichés. Give them the information they need in the shortest possible time. (A nice point here was the use of meaningless, overused language in press releases, such as “unique” and “innovative” or “leading provide of…”, and fake images of happy employees and customers. These shouldn’t represent you – speak to your buyers in their language, not yours.)
  • No coercion is required – the back button is the 3rd most used web feature… because we are constantly lured onto pages which we don’t want to visit. Don’t use hooks or gimmicks to bamboozle customers onto a site which has no real value. Get your content right, and people will want to visit you.
  • Lose control – don’t worry about your sales. Freebies create traffic and sharing. Scott’s example was the Grateful Dead’s live tour allowing the audience to record gigs, even providing specific space and mics for the purpose, creating thousands of content shares around the world and massive publicity.
  • Create triggers – back to inspiring content – if you have great content, you immediately encourage people to share, talk, link, get the media involved and make it go viral.
  • Point the world to your virtual doorstep – Scott used “The Best Job in the World” example, which was a viral hit and increased flight bookings to Queensland by 34%.

Tips and Hints (from the live chat)

–          Use social media monitoring tools such as twitter affiliates and searches to keep tabs on and respond to relevant issues and keywords.

–          Designate a “realtime communications officer” (and possibly separate points of call for global realtime relations – operating in different time zones and languages)

–          Sometimes it’s best to sleep on a decision – reacting freshly can be the wrong action – sit back and see how things unfold a little before you make your move in the best way for your company

–          Turn negatives into positives. Great customer service is one of the important aspects of any business, and it’s what customers are most likely to talk about online.

–          Respond to the “thoughtful negative” (ie someone who has considered their negative comment and is genuinely displeased) rather than reactionaries (ie someone who is looking for a hotheaded response and trying to rile you up…)

–          Fight fire with fire – respond in the same media, eg: don’t respond to a video with a press release.

Well, that’s all from us today – thanks again to David Meerman Scott for a great presentation. Come back every weekday this week for the rest of the webinar summaries, and check the blog next week for our Q&A session comprised of all the questions that couldn’t get answered on the day. 

You can read the other parts of our Vocus Online Conference Summaries with Deidre Breakenridge, Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis at the Ikroh blog.

 Resources:

 Books:

Socialnomics by Erik Qualman

Game Change – The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott

New rules of viral marketing (free e-book) by David Meerman Scott (download HERE)

Websites:

www.davidmeermanscott.com

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Vocus Conference Summary Part 1 – Deidre Breakenridge

Ikroh’s Summary of the Vocus Online Conference – “Retweet: Engagement Means Business” – Part 1

 
Public Relations Management software providers Vocus held a fantastic webinar last week, which included talks from five influential speakers from the PR, marketing and social media world: Deidre Breakenridge, David Meerman Scott , Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis.

We thoroughly enjoyed the whole day of marketing and 2.0 insights and we thought for those of you who didn’t get a chance to watch the speakers and get involved in the live chat, we’d summarise each speaker’s presentation (and their scheduled chat afterwards) and try to answer any unanswered questions from the chatrooms. Every weekday this week, we will post a summary, following up next week with the chat questions. Enjoy!

Deidre Breakenridge – Author, President & Executive Director of Communications at Mango!

Overview:

Breakenridge opened the Vocus webinar with her talk: “From PRs Past to Social Media Power”. The talk was lively and very useful to those in PR looking to find out more about integrating traditional methods of marketing (where the audience is reached through impressions) with social media marketing (where the audience is reached through engagement) – or, as Breakenridge described the process, becoming a “Hybrid”.

This means stopping just making ‘noise’ at your customers and target audience – social media is about two-way communication, listening to what your clients want and feel about your brand and services, and making meaningful interactions.

Companies need to start overlapping different, perhaps fragmented departments and building relationships in a streamlined, integrated way; between marketing, advertising, digital creation, design, public relations/communications and brand building.  All these aspects of a business can connect via social media, providing your audience/customer base with familiarity and cohesion, and encouraging group success.

For social media success you need to first listen, consider the best place and the best time to start to engage, and choose the most influential people to connect with. Think carefully about where you should place yourself, and put out feelers to get networking – whether it’s in the blogging world, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, specific forums etc, you need to find the niche where you’ll make the most impact. Who you connect with can make a massive difference to. These people might not be just the ones with the most followers – they could be A-listers (or particularly influential in their own sectors, trendsetters and so on. Refer to Brian Solis’ Conversation Prism for where to network:

Finally, you must monitor, measure and assimilate your results and data into helping you adapt and improve your social media strategy and move forward. 18,00 senior PR professionals, surveyed by Vocus, said they planned on integrating social media and invest in new technology. Social media is critical to brands, professionals and business and it’s important to take notice and get involved.

The Hybrid

Breakenridge referred to Forrester’s Social Technographic Ladder, showing the level at which Hybrids must be operating to make a difference in social media. We need to move from being inactive (it seems bizarre but there are many businesses who literally have no online presence or interaction going for them and they are missing out on a huge audience), to mere spectators, to actually connecting with social networks, to collecting and organising content, to responding to others’ content, to engaging in conversation, and finally becoming creators- fully interacting with their peers, their customers and their potential audience and making social content go.

Being a hybrid means you must fulfil all of the following roles:

  • Strategic communicator
  • Social media expert
  • Sociologist
  • Market analyst/expert
  • Web marketer
  • Customer service representative
  • Relationship marketer
  • Viral marketer
  • Conversationalist/listener
  • Research librarian

Gain experience in all these fields through thorough research and experimentation. Most importantly, you need to be able to feed information back to your boss, your client, whoever, about the value of social media interaction. Only 16% of businesses are measuring the ROI on their social media, according to “Social Software in Business” by Mzinga and Babson.

Ways to Engage

You need to make the right decisions to reach your audience – choose the correct media and presentation of your content to make the most impact. Traditional PR needs to be translated into a Hybrid approach, using social media releases, polls, surveys, wordclouds, widgets, wikis, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, VNR 2.0, case studies, newsletters, tweets, presentations… the list goes on. Take it a step further and let your customers enter into your news and press department, let them talk to you and your business and give their input, their feedback and their questions.

Monitor your data

There are lots of different ways you can monitor your social media engagement:

  • Who are your top influencers?
  • What is the sentiment towards your brand, your industry and your competitors?
  • What are the trends in your success or popularity?
  • Where are your best conversions coming from?
  • Which are your most popular posts/conversations?
  • What volume of traffic are you getting from your different networks?

There are various free and paid for programs and companies to help you do this, including some simple tools like Google Alerts, Social Mention, PostRank and Vocus. Interpret your results intelligently and present them to your executives/clients in ways that clearly show the impact of their social media interactions and make them easy to process, for example by using buzz graphs, word clouds and other visual representations.

With social media we are able to be more tech savvy – a blog can look like a pretty flash website, and contain the important composite parts needed to act as one, and allows a company to be directly connected to a blogging community. We are less reliant on IT and design departments to get involved ourselves. Breakenridge stressed the importance of media training the right people from the bottom to the top of your company, incorporating employees who need to be engaged and increasing the points of contact for your customers.

Well, that’s all from us today – thanks again to Vocus and Deidre Breakenridge for a great presentation. Come back every weekday this week for the rest of the webinar summaries, and check the blog next week for our Q&A session comprised of all the questions that couldn’t get answered on the day.

You can read the other parts of our Vocus Online Conference Summaries with David Meerman Scott, Beth Harte, Lee Odden and Brian Solis at the Ikroh blog.

Resources:

Books:

Putting the Public Back into Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deidre Breakenridge

Trust Agents by Chris Brogan

The New Community Rules by Tamar Weinburg

Groundswell by Charlene Li et al

Websites:

www.deidrebreakenridge.com

www.briansolis.com

www.conversationagent.com

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.