Social Media and PR

Haley J. Higgs

Figuring out Foursquare February 28, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 5:05 pm

In the past month, I have seen so many people tweet things about something called foursquare.com.  I had no idea what it was or what the big deal about it was. All I could gather was that people were using it to tell others their exact location. To be honest, it sort of freaked me out a little bit. Do I really want people knowing where I am 24/7? So, before I went any further, I decided to research it and figure out what it was.

As I looked the internet over, I came across a great website that told me all I need to know about Foursquare. So what is it? Foursquare, according to the website, is a location service-based social network-come-game. The website stated that foursquare is “like Google Lattitude meets a little bit of Facebook, a touch of Twitter, a dash of Qype and even a twist of World of Warcraft.”

From what I can tell, the game part comes when users get points for checking-in.  Users get points every time they check-in but the points have no purpose except for bragging right.

In my mind, this really didn’t strike me as a “game” I want to play. That being said, I think companies and businesses can use this to track business. To them, this game can provide vital information. On a personal level, I cannot recognize how it could benefit me.

To be completely honest, I find this somewhat dangerous. It doesn’t strike me as a game at all but more of a stalkers best friend. How can it be fun or safe to give out your exact location every time you go somewhere? Anyone can see where you are. Stalkers can find you and robbers can know when you are out of the house. I think foursquare.com is taking social networking sites to a dangerous level. Sure, it might have started as just a game but there is nothing “game-like” about it.

 

A “Groundswell” Goodie

Filed under: Reading Notes — hhiggs87 @ 4:42 pm

Participating in the groundswell has the potential to benefit your company in ways you may not have realized, according to Groundswell by Li & Bernoff. In the last three chapters, the authors look at how the groundswell can transform your company, the groundswell inside your company and the future of groundswell.

How groundswell can transform your company: The key here is to start small. You cannot go in thinking you are going to change everyone in one swoop. Groundswell may take a little time. Focus on one person at a time. Have them do a blog here or a tweet there. Don’t overwhelm them in their first experience. Begin with a small position. The groundswell will gain power as it grows. By the time it reaches the CEOs, there will be no stopping it.

The groundswell inside your company: You have to tap the groundswell inside your own company. This begins first with internal communications. The internal communications can focus on several different objectives.

  • Listening
  • Talking
  • Energizing
  • Supporting
  • Embracing

You must also nurture the internal groundswell within the company. You can do this by:

  • Making management listen
  • Ramping up in stages and easing people’s participation
  • Finding and encouraging the rebels

The future of groundswell: The groundswell way of thinking has the potential to benefit every company and organization if they utilize it. In order to do this, companies must listen, be flexible and participate. Companies have to listen to what people are saying about them. They have to stay in the know and they have to respond accordingly. Companies also have to be flexible. Opinions change, the market changes and in order to stay on top companies cannot get flustered and overwhelmed. They have to remain flexible. Lastly, companies have to participate. The only way to benefit from the groundswell is to participate in it. Stick your toe in at first, yes. But to receive the best benefits, you have to submerge yourself in the groundswell.

 

Social Media: Friend or Foe February 23, 2010

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 6:12 pm

After listening to a podcast from the 2008 Ragan Communications Conference, I began to try and decipher my own answer to the friend or foe question.

Shel Holtz made an excellent point during the podcast when he made the statement that if customers are interested enough in taking the time to comment about a product via a blog then surely companies should take the time to address concerns and fix problems. I know from a personal standpoint, if I were to reach out to a company, especially after being a dedicated customer, and was ignored by the company then I would take my business elsewhere. Companies build relationships through their products and social media is making that relationship a two way street. Because of social media, customers are now given the chance to provide feedback. If a customer takes the time and effort to provide that feedback then they shouldn’t be ignored.

It really isn’t that hard to respond to customers. Anyone in the company could do it, from the mail room employees to the CEOs. If everyone in the company took part in gaining a better understanding of what the customers are looking for then the company as a whole would be on the same page. It isn’t good enough for one person to be the “social media person.” Social media should be something that everyone is a part of.

Companies should be diving into social media. They should be looking everyday to see what people are saying about them. Problems cannot be addressed if the problem is unknown. By spending time in social media companies can tailor messages, determine what is being said about them and be the first to act in the event of a rumor or crisis.

So, is social media a friend or foe? After listening to this podcast, I would have to vote friend if it is being used. If companies are opting out of this “social media phase” then it can definitely come back to bite them.

 

PR Real World 2010: Who Owns Social Media?

Filed under: PR Connections — hhiggs87 @ 1:02 pm

This past Friday, I got the privilege to attend PR Real World 2010 in Atlanta. The conference was packed with information. We attended session after session about PR issues and different aspects of PR.  In the last session of the day, I got to attend a session called Hospitality, Travel and Tourism.  One of the speakers made a comment that stuck with me: “Who owns social media?”

Let me give you the context of this comment. The speaker works for Intercontinental Hotels Group based out of Atlanta. She was asked how her IHG was using social media. She said the company had a Twitter and a Facebook fan page. The thing was that they weren’t pouring time and money into it because they can’t measure the return on social media.  Then she posed the question of who actually owns social media.

The more I thought about it, the more I understood it. I guess it had never occurred to me before. Yes, social media is an amazing thing but how can companies measure it? Companies can measure returns on investments but they can’t measure returns on social media. And with it not being measurable, companies are weary to pour time and money into it. Social media can benefit companies but with it not being measurable they are not being able to reap the benefits.

So, how can companies measure their returns on social media? Who owns social media? Will social media fade away if companies can’t find a way to measure it?

 

A “Groundswell” Goodie February 16, 2010

Filed under: Reading Notes — hhiggs87 @ 6:33 pm

If you want to be a part of the groundswell there are three things that you MUST do. Li and Bernoff devote a chapter to each in their book Groundswell by Li & Bernoff. These three things are tapping, listening and talking with the groundswell.

Tapping the Groundswell – You have to get involved! The groundswell is like a resource and it must be tapped. You have to actively peruse what you want. You must plan to use the technologies and use them in such a way as to further your objective. Figure out what you (or your company) needs and then choose the best way to meet those needs/objectives. Select the technologies that will benefit you (or your company) and then utilize the technology. Before you know it you will start getting caught up in the groundswell.

Listening to the Groundswell – People are constantly talking. Blogs are being posted and tweets are being tweeted. You and your company have got to know what the public is saying about you. Customers talk about the good, the bad and everything in between. You need to know what they are saying. How can you fix a problem if you don’t know it exists?

Talking with the Groundswell – Social networking sites go both ways. Yes, customers can post comments but it doesn’t end there. It is your job to talk back. Comment on a blog or re-tweet a tweet. The world of SNS is a community in itself. Take up residency and take part in conversations. Start a blog or get a Facebook page or open a Twitter account. You’re not marketing yourself, you’re merely interacting with your customers.

 

Search Engine Visibility

Filed under: TOW — hhiggs87 @ 6:15 pm

According to Edelman Digital, in July 2008, Google registered 7.23 billion searches. The main use of the internet has become searches. Google was created as a noun and has evolved into an verb. You want to figure something out simply “Google” it.

Search Engine Visibility, an Edelman Insights paper looks at ways to get noticed in this age of Google. The authors state that the majority of people never click to the second page after the results of a search come up. This means that if you want to get noticed, you have to show up in that first page. The paper offered insites and suggestions to getting noticed in the search engine world.  I personally found several things in this paper to be helpful and new. Here is a little summary about what I gathered from reading this paper:

1. What did I learn?

  • There are four search engine visibility disciplines: paid search, optimized search, reputational search and social search.
  • Links are very important when searching and when trying to get something moved to the top of a search engine list.
  • Making a list of key words that people use while using a search engine can help you more up the charts if you use those key words in titles.
  • Twitter Search and Facebook have become reliable search tools.
  • In Reputational Search, there are three very basic components involved: research/planning, content development and measurement.

2. What surprised me?

  • Some companies set up fake websites called “link farms” in order to help them move up on search engine pages.
  • More people use Twitter Search rather than Google News when breaking news occurs.
  • Social searches are becoming more necessary in the existence of search engines.
  • “The average American visited 111 domains and 2,554 pages in March 2009.”
  • There are five simple steps to be more visible online: research, teamwork, planning, experimentation and benevolence.

3. What do I want to know more about?

  • What are the latest statistics regarding Google and other search engines?
  • How are search engines dealing with “link farms?”
  • Google has become synonymous with the word search. How are other search engines competing with Google?
 

Is Twitter Creating a Narcissistic Generation? February 11, 2010

Filed under: PR Connections — hhiggs87 @ 12:46 pm

Older generations say that our generation today is all about “me.” We love to talk about ourselves and we love to do anything that will make us feel better about ourselves. So, do social networking sites, specifically Twitter, hurt us? Is Twitter creating a narcissistic generation?

When I randomly searched different Twitter posts, I found a lot of posts about what people were eating for dinner or what movie they went to see or even when they were getting in the shower. People are using Twitter to give the world a play by play of their daily lives. If that isn’t narcissistic then I don’t know what is.

I have always been under the impression that Twitter was to be used as a networking tool. It was something to get you more involved with and connected to people in your field. Granted, I too am guilty of occasionally becoming narcissistic on Twitter but no nearly to the extent of some I have seen.  It is actually kind of scary the way people post their exact location throughout the day. Come to think of it, Twitter may just be a stalkers best friend. We freely give up information and we don’t think about who is seeing it.

So, is Twitter making a “me, me, me” generation more narcissistic?