Last week, class was in session at the Loews Hotel, where PPRA’s all-star roster of professors schooled our attendees in Social Media 201. The panelists delved deeper than how to set up a Facebook account or what a hashtag is (ours was #PhillySM201). Instead, the room was a-Twitter while discussing strategic ways to measure and track social media and how to use social media to reach target demographics.
Carole Felton, of Carole Felton Communications served as our fabulous moderator.
If you couldn’t sign in for the live-tweets on the panel, here’s what you missed:
Eric Cortes, media relations specialist at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, started on Facebook when it was still just a fun tool for college kids. Now, Eric manages social media efforts to target Hispanic travelers - last year alone, there were 16 million – and bring them to Philadelphia. Through his research, Eric found that most Hispanics only have internet on their smart phones, not at home, so they most frequently use location-based social media sites such as FourSquare and FoodSpotting. He also used his knowledge to create and launch a video campaign on Twitter, featuring famous Hispanics from the area.
Eric’s takeaway: Determine what mediums your audience is using, and tailor your information to capture their interest and drive them back to your website.
Director of Social Media Nichole Kelly, from CareOne Services opened her topic with the questions, Should you use social media to deal with a crisis? Will it help or will it hurt? The simple answer: Yes, yes, and yes. Crises can spark from a big snafu and third party involvement, or from a string of negative comments made on earned media placements. Either way, Nichole believes that responding directly and genuinely is essential. Social media is a great medium to reach your constituents, since the community of supporters has already been built, but you have to be careful how you approach them. Companies have to leave behind corporate speak, defensive jabs, and ‘no comment’s. People want to hear from another human being instead of a company, so Nichole suggested responding as yourself - an individual within the company rather than the overall company itself.
Nichole’s pointer: Monitor your social media channels and comment sections for potential situations. If it scares you to respond to a comment, then you must respond!
For Oxford Communications strategist Ben Grossman, how to give value to social media compared to other marketing/PR efforts is a tricky business. Traditional ROI can be misleading when applied to Facebook or Twitter, and fails to recognize the other benefits like curbing costs or building communities of supporters. Ben recommended setting concrete goals for a social media campaign, which would then be used to gauge success. Looking to build up your brand presence? Consider ROBI (return on brand investment) measurements. Do you want life-long customers rather than the one-time sale? Move toward ROCI (return on customer investment). It’s all about tailoring measurements to specific goals, because a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work with social media.
Ben’s final tip: Have a goal in mind before building strategy – there’s always room to change strategies to better meet goals. Make sure that social media goals tie to business/marketing objectives, too.
To close out the panel, Mark Lazen, Chief Technology Officer of Social Media Today, looked at the changing landscape of media. Mark identified a new breed of ‘young guns’ taking to blogs and online communities and gaining status as influencers in their respective industries. Gone are the days when being a writer for The New York Times was the only way to get noticed as a journalist. The barrier to entry is lower, and now anybody that is a compelling writer/communicator with a likeable edge can catapult to influencer status. In fact, Mark pointed out that many journalists and analysts from various industries from failed business models have turned to blogging for this very reason. For this reason, PR pros have to broaden their definition of media targets to incorporate these new voices.
Mark’s advice: Be ruthless in your choices of social media, and tag links to follow analytics.
And what would a blog about social media be without including tweets from our attendees? These are the things that struck our audience the most:
@NinaScim: "Handle people without making them feel handled" - nichole kelly #phillysm201
@kathleen_elaine Always respond the comments, positive or negative, on your SM sites. Remember - everything is indexed online. #phillysm201
@damienwoods We're talking trolls here at #phillysm201 - are grenades next? Stay tuned.
@stephtakach Takeaways: From MKTG: don't just jump in, set goals and strategize. From crisis: don't wait until it's too late. @BenGrossman #phillysm201
@mkaisr Each effort is a tiny brick in the wall of perception, even when it appears to be dumb & even senseless -@ThisIsSethsBlog #PhillySM201 #ROBI
Join us for our next panel event "Public Relations Careers 101" on April 4th!
This blog post was written by Christine Guerrini. Christine Guerrini is a member of the public relations team at Tierney agency in Center City Philadelphia. A Villanova grad, Christine specializes in media relations, social media and research. She has worked with clients in non-profit, law, technology, hospitality, and B2B fields. Outside of work, Christine is an avid fan of the Arts, whether exploring museums or sitting down with a novel. Connect with Christine on Twitter (@CMGuerrini) or at http://www.linkedin.com/in/christineguerrini .
Note from the editor: Thank you SO much Christine for live-tweeting #PhillySM201!