Category Archives: LinkedIn

Using Social Media: Part 6 – Measurement

Copyright 2007 by noblelgnoble

Copyright 2007 by noblelgnoble

 

This is the sixth post in a 6 part series on how I using social media. In this sixth installment, I discuss measurement.

 

 

Measure What Counts

There has been discussion about how to measure social media and can it truly impact your bottom line. The same could be said of public relations. In the end, it’s measuring what counts for your business.

 

Personally, I think it’s important to determine your baseline measurements to gauge the effectiveness of your strategies over time. Consider keeping it simple, selecting 3-4 points to track. As you gather more information, you can better refine and expand your measurement criteria. Here are some basic points to measure:

 

Tweetburner

Tweetburner

  • Subscribers, Followers, Fans: One way to track the success of your programs is by the steady growth of subscribers to your blog, followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. Feedburner is a nice way to track subscribers to your blog or any RSS feed that you create for corporate updates, such as press releases, newsletters, etc.

  • Audience Reach: The key aspect of social media is tracking “word of mouth” or the reach of your content to your key audiences.

    • Twitter – Tweetburner allows you to create a short URL for Twitter and then tracks who has retweeted the link or clicked on it. You can keep your stats private or public. While this is a great tool, I’ve found that people will create their own short URLs for the content, so you may want to actively search on your Twitter ID for possible retweet. I then add up the number of subscribers for these individuals to get a “number” regarding reach.

    • Online Reputation: Another way to determine reach is to track who is talking about you online. I wrote a bit about this in my second post – Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds. The added component is determining the reach of these online outlets. While ad equivalence can be used too, I’m not a fan of this method as I point out in my next bullet point.

  • Incoming Leads, Inquiries: There are a couple of free tools such as Quantcast and Google Analytics that provide good detail about your incoming traffic. The key is to closely track the referring sources for the incoming leads and the conversion rates. For example, Twitter is quickly becoming a driver of traffic to my blog or answering a question on LinkedIn can lead to an inquiry about your services.

  • Increased Links: Before you start your programs, take a quick snapshot of sites that link to your website. While a basic stat, this can have huge SEO implications for your site, which in turn, increases your visibility on search engines. Check to see if your efforts increase this basic stat.

  • Conversation Index: Steve Boyd discusses the Conversation Index as a way to determine which blogs are successful. Basically, successful blogs are those have a more comments than posts. I would think that the same value can be applied to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The more that people interact with your company and messages, one can assume the more engaged they are with you.

 

Conclusion

No matter what you do, measurement has to be an integral part of your program. Identifying the key data points relevant to your business, you can better justify these programs to your executive management. And who can argue with a program that has a low cost per lead and high conversion rate for sales?

 

Other posts in the series:

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds

Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites (updated link)

Using Social Media: Part 4 – Linking Strategies

Using Social Media: Part 5 – Blogger Relations

 

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technorati tags: B2B Business-to-business BtoB Facebook Feedburner Google Analytics LinkedIn Marketing Measurement PR Public Relations Quantcast Social Media Steve Boyd Twitter Tweetburner
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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

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Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites

facebook

 

linkedin

 

Update: I’ve edited this post to provide a more objective view of social media and how it can be applied.  

This is the third post in a 6 part series on how to use social media. In this third installment, I highlight how yoru can participate in social networking sites.

 

Social Networking Sites

Marketers are seeking to break into several social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. From my perspective, there seems to be two popular models right now – create a group or fan page or participate in existing communities (what Jeremiah Owyang calls “fishing where the fish are“). The former requires dedication to manage the community and ensure that there is fresh content. The latter requires participation in a group without the onus of owning that community.

 

And while I believe social media should be an integral part of B2B marketing, the reality is that this takes a concerted effort and time. As such, I recommend aligning your efforts with the latter strategy until more staff or focus can be given to the former. While there are different communities to join, LinkedIn has some benefits that you should consider.

 

Why? I hate to say this, but frankly, of all the social networking sites, organizations can be overtly salesy on LinkedIn. I know, I know – that isn’t the point. So let me be clear, I DON’T RECOMMEND THAT YOU SELL FROM THE PLATFORM. Rather, apply the same rules you would apply elsewhere – be transparent of who you are and offer valuable information. So even when others are being blatantly self-promotional, you and your company are seen as contributory. You’ll see what I mean below.

 

LinkedIn Specifics

LinkedIn AnswersWith that said, here are the aspects of LinkedIn that I recommend:

 

  • LinkedIn Answers: Monitor questions for topics that are you related to your company. When appropriate, respond to relevant questions to position you and your company as an industry expert. There will be instances when you can recommend your company as a prospective vendor. Again, you have to be careful that you’re not too self-promotional as your answer can be flagged as inappropriate. Overall, LinkedIn Answers is a good way to provide brand awareness for your company. And since LinkedIn Answers are searchable, your responses may appear in Google search results.

  • Groups: There are numerous groups within LinkedIn. It’s important to research specific groups as some may be more self-promotional than others. I recommend seeking groups with audiences that are relevant to your company and have good participation by its members. Once you join a group, monitor the discussions before fully participating.

    • Group Questions: Like LinkedIn Answers, each group incorporates this same functionality. By responding or asking questions in a group, you position your company as an industry expert to a targeted audience relevant to your business.

    • News: You can submit article links, like Facebook Share, that are relevant to the groups. In addition to blog posts, you can submit general news articles that mention your company or are relevant to your industry. You can also consider submitting submit press releases. While this is slightly self-promotional, make sure the article or press release discusses a larger trend of interest to the group.

  • Events: LinkedIn recently introduced a way for members to post events. If you have a webinar, in-person seminar or other gathering that you want to promote, LinkedIn events is a place to promote it. What I liked is that they have an option for “virtual events” as well. You can then share this event with your contacts as well as be searchable by other LinkedIn members. One drawback, in case you have to cancel the event, there doesn’t seem to be a way to delete the event.

 

Conclusion

Overall, LinkedIn is a great way to position your company or company spokesperson as an industry expert, while increasing brand awareness with key audiences. Your participation can also have competitive advantages as well when potential sales leads are researching and evaluating vendors.

 

And if you or a colleague is dedicated to moderating an online community, consider setting up your own group. HubSpot has done an excellent job at setting up their own group, moderating the group and finding synergy with their Facebook presence as well. 

 

Other posts in the series:

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds

 

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Using social media by @csalomonlee – post 3 of 6 on social networking sites: http://twurl.nl/4ijcqp

  

technorati tags: B2B Business-to-business BtoB Brand Community Facebook HubSpot Jeremiah Owyang LinkedIn LinkedIn Answers Marketing MySpace PR Public Relations Social Media

 

All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

Brave New World of Media Pitching: Facebook

I have only been on a Facebook for a year or so. I mainly use it to keep in touch with personal connections, and rarely use it for professional reasons. I believe that the “casual” aspect of Facebook does make it more difficult for business-to-business companies to leverage the full potential, with early success for consumer related companies.

 With that said, I do see the potential of Facebook from a PR perspective:

Fan Club or Group?: Before setting up a group, you have the option of designating it as a group or fan club. Groups have membership limits while fans clubs don’t. It’s a small distinction but quite important depending on the size of the community you’re seeking to tap into.

Before setting up a fan club/group, consider these two points first:

1) Research what groups/clubs already exist in your area. Does it make sense to set up another page if there are hundreds of similar ones out there?

2) Participate in existing groups/clubs to network with people in your target audience. By “friending” these folks, you’re able to pull in your existing network if you do decide to launch your own group or fan club. 

Share and Share Alike: With Facebook’s “share” function, you can provide a steady stream of company updates and information to your friend network. For example, my company recently received media coverage in Forbes and San Jose Mercury News. I shared this news to my connections.

I recommend sharing information that is relevant to your industry. Since you can add a comment, this helps to position your company as an expert on a specific topic. And is much quicker than drafting a blog post from scratch =)

In the end, you never know what information will catch a reporter/blogger’s eye for a possible article or posting.

Friending Reporters and Bloggers: If a reporter or blogger has agreed to be friends with you, the implication is that you’ve created or have an existing personal relationship. Depending on your level of “friendship,” you can send pitches via Facebook’s internal email system, which may break through the noise of emails. Just confirm that the person prefers to receive pitches this way. He or she may want to keep Facebook on a personal level while want “business” correspondence to be received in another format.

While I have not personally done this yet, I would just recommend being very careful of how and when you do this. As I wrote recently about HARO spam, the purpose of these tools is to create connections, not harvest emails and contact information. By doing so breaks the trust you’ve created.

Promote Events: Facebook enables people to send out event invitations to your friends. Great way to promote attendance for live events or webinars. Be sure not to over promote an event with multiple reminders.

Applications: As an open platform, Facebook offers different types of applications. These applications range from the silly – sending a beer – to useful – free VoIP phone calls or Twitter updates. For me, I’ve added the Twitter app to tie all my external personalities into Facebook. Determine which apps to incorporate based on the types of information your generating and which are appropriate for your company.

Some have even created complimentary applications within Facebook which have become wildly popular. As long as it’s relevant to your Facebook audience, is easy to use and understand and is relevant to your business, apps can be one way to get your business to your target audience.

Face Book Case Study:

I was seeking B2B examples of using Facebook and couldn’t find any Mike Nierengarten of (company?) did forward me this description of how they leveraged Facebook to drive students to an online animation school (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animation-Mentor-Online-Animation-School/14719464771):

Animation Mentor, an online animation school, is perfect for Facebook because it has tons of great content (video, events, pictures), a strong (current) student presence on the site, and our target customers (potential students) use the site regularly.

For Animation Mentor, we set up a profile to connect with current students. From there, we added a Facebook page and rolled those students into fans. We then created a Prospective Animation Mentor Student group for individuals who were interested in the school to connect and share thoughts. Finally, we promoted the page off of Facebook using an Animation blog.  

Results: Facebook page ranks for targeted keywords on Google (e.g. #23 for “animation school”, #9 for “character animation”), we have over 700 fans with a mix of currents students and interested students interacting online, and we have an area for prospective students to address their concerns and interact directly with someone from the school in their space. We have also seen a near 3% conversion rate (i.e. complete an application) from the Facebook page.

Summary: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

I posted my question on Twitter and LinkedIn. I decided not to ask my Facebook network as my previous questions have received no answers. I overwhelmingly received more responses via LinkedIn. Why?

Twitter seems to elicit a lot of responses depending on the interest of your audience to that question and what other conversations are happening at the time. With the cacophony of voices, it’s very difficult, at least for me, to pose a question that elicits response. I did when I discussed the role of PR agencies but not for this question.

For LinkedIn, people are leveraging it as a business networking tool. The Q&A section is a great way to demonstrate your expertise in a specific topic, as I outlined in my previous post.

I think Lewis Green of BizSolutionsPlus said it best in his response: “I think LinkedIn and Plaxo Pulse are better social networking sites for non-invasive marketing and PR, which is the only way we should be promoting our brands within the social networking and social media worlds. We should be giving, not making an effort to get. That’s why providing free information, such as this Q&A offers us a chance to do so.”

Initial Conclusions

1) LinkedIn great for professional networking and developing expertise with LinkedIn Answers

2) Twitter great for quick updates and breaking information to your company

3) Facebook is like a mini-site that has a social networking component. You need a wealth of relevant information to feed into the pages, while actively working to develop and maintain a community.

Other posts in the “Brave New World of Media Pitching” series:

Brave New World of Media Pitching: LinkedIn
Brave New World of Media Pitching: Twitter
– Read LinkedIn responses to “How do you use Facebook for PR?”

 

UPDATE: Forgot to thank everyone who responded: Mike Nierengarten, Lewis Green, G. Niki Foust, Andrew Miller, Thomas Ahonen, Joyce Schwarz, Jocelyn Brandeis, Alysha Cryer, Dylan Conroy

 

 

All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

Brave New World of Media Pitching: LinkedIn

In late April, I wanted to start exploring different ways that we can now pitch media. Besides my page about how to pitch bloggers, I looked into the new way of pitching via Twitter in my post titled,”Brave New World of Media Pitching: Twitter.”  

Social networking is a new avenue for public relations professionals. From my perspective, LinkedIn has some interesting opportunities. Here’s my look at LinkedIn in the brave new world of media pitching:

Make Connections: LinkedIn’s core purpose is to make connections – either with people you know or people you want to know. If you’re seeking to connect with a journalist, you can request a “linkedin” connection to make an introduction. Rather than send a blind pitch to a reporter, what’s better than a friend making the pitch on your behalf?

Research Media: I was recently searching for a reporter to create a briefing sheet and found the reporter’s LinkedIn page. Doh! I can’t believe I didn’t consider this in the past. LinkedIn is rich with information about a person’s background. Leverage LinkedIn to research reporters – where did they work in the past, titles, and other pertinent information. This provides incredible insight before you pitch the reporter as well as to prep your spokespeople.

LinkedIn AnswersLinkedIn Answers provides an opportunty for PR to participate in or start a conversation on relevant topics. Certain topics can also show up high on a Google search, which helps if a reporter is searching on a specific topic. In the end, you never know how a reporter gets her inspiration for a story and if she needs sources.

What other ways are you using LinkedIn for media outreach?

UPDATE: Just saw this post by Lewis Green of BizSolutionsPlus regarding value of LinkedIn.

Other posts in the “Brave New World of Media Pitching” series:

Brave New World of Media Pitching: Twitter

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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

PR Relationships:Update on Online Reputation

ReputationOK – I previously wrote about how to manage my many online personalities here and here.  Since those posts, I’ve reversed my previous position about my online reputation. The heart of it is managing relationships through the tools available to me.

  

In the end, PR is about relationships. How do you build, nurture and maintain them. However, it is challenging with the nature of PR – reporters moves, accounts change and an unending cycle of new account folks.

I read recently that the average number of jobs that today’s workers will have throughout their lifetime is about 12-14! With that type of churn, you’re expecting only a person to be in their current job an average of less than 2 years. Developing the relationships that are key to our industry require a long-term, patient approach.

What are the tools that enable me to identify, develop and maintain these contacts? I now have four ways for managing these online relationships:

  1. Facebook – Despite my previous email about keeping my online reputation to a minimum, I realized that Facebook is another avenue for connecting with colleagues and industry contacts. By friending people, I can subscribe to a RSS feed to keep up to date on what’s happening. I still need to learn more about Facebook, but I’m starting to understand how Facebook differs from LinkedIn. Friend me and I’ll friend you back.

  2. LinkedIn – I still use LinkedIn more for business contacts as I’ve had this account the longest. LinkedIn’s strength is when you’re looking for a job or for seeking advice from peers. I use LinkedIn Answers quite a bit for a professional perspectives. View Cece Salomon-Lee's LinkedIn profileView My LinkedIn Profile

  3. Twitter – I lost wrote that Twitter is changing how news/information is being dissemated. I just started getting into Twitter via Jeremiah Owyang. In fact, I responded to some questions about my company’s solutions as Jeremiah and CenterNetworks were viewing a webcast. Like Facebook, I’m realizing that Twitter is an important tool for following trends, competitors and my own company. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll follow you. 

  4. Personal blog – And of course this blog has enabled me to make good relationships. By linking to posts and commenting on other blogs, I’ve developed new relationships that wouldn’t have been possible. Whether a corporate or personal blog, I strongly believe that a blog is key if you want to engage in “blogger” relations. It demonstrates that you’re contributing and spending the time to understand the community.

Are there other ways that you manage your online relationships? Let me know.

 

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The New Era of Reputation Management

ReputationMy friend and former colleague, Teena, recently commented on her blog, And then….there’s that, about reputation management.This got me thinking about how people and corporations have to manage their images, profiles and reputation in this increased scrutiny of citizen journalism and access to information.

First, it was how much information you wanted to give out for free email programs like Rocketmail and Hotmail mail (am I dating myself here?). Frankly, I put in fake information because I wasn’t sure how my information would be used.

Then it was posting to electronic bulletin boards and email newsletters. At the time, posting was relatively safe, being seen and commented by that specific community. The speed of information transfer wasn’t as easily dispersed through blogs and search engines were just beginning to leverage powerful alogortithms for revealing even the minute detail about you.

With the advent of Google, a person’s postings or online commments could be more easily found. But as PR professionals, we had the ability or time to manage prospective fallout and marketers could still control the message.

Now, blogs, twitter, instant messaging and other real time communications technology enable information – both good and bad – to spread very quickly. We now have hours maybe minutes to respond to what is being said online.

Blogging, FacebookLinkedIn and now people search engines provide us an ability to portray our personalities online. But instead of managing one profile, how do you manage several? A personal profile may convey something that you don’t want to present professionally and vice versa. Your reputation can be managed by you but people can make their opinions about what that means. I personally don’t feel compelled to manage several profiles. I frankly don’t have the time. I have a LinkedIn profile for professional reasons. I have Facebook only because I wanted to join a friend’s group but I haven’t really added “friends” or posted any photos.

My blog is where I put most of my effort. It allows me to communicate mythoughts on PR and marketing, while transmitting part of my personality. I point my personal email and online profiles to my blog.

Managing an online reputation requires time. In this more transparent world, it’simportant to manage your reputation. You don’t have to create multiple profiles, just one and point back. And from a marketing perspective, your prospective customers/prospects will have insight on who you are before engaging with you.

It’s just marketing 101. If you don’t do it, someone else will.

Resource: When I was with Niehaus Ryan Wong in 1996-1998, I read an article called “A Brand Called You” in Fast Company by Tom Peters.  It is the best article that I recommend for everyone.

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Social Media: Where Does Sincerity Fit in?

Sincerity DefinitionI’ve read a lot about transparency and authenticity being key in this increasingly open and social world. I started wondering how sincerity fits into the picture. 

The assumption is that transparency and authenticity will automatically equate to sincerity, but this may not always be the case. The challenge that we have as marketers and PR practioners is how we are perceived by our target audiences – customers, analysts, media and bloggers.

With text based communications, sincerity is difficult to communicate. In fact, Fast Company had a tidbit about a how people interprete emails in their story about “There’s a Message in Every Email.”  Punctuation, emoticons and other factors impact how your email is received and perceived by the recipient.

You could be completely transparent and authentic, but not truly speaking sincerely. Or truly sincere but perceived otherwise. How can you differentiate one from the other? I think that social media, when used properly, provides us an opportunity to be sincere in a more “natural” environment.

Why? Because the formality of email pitching gives way to the profile, pictures and personality portrayed in our LinkedIn or Facebook pages. Woul there be value in including links to our profiles when contacting bloggers and media? Possibly because face-to-face contact was previously required to achieve a level of familiarity. Now social media is helping to shape how our target audiences perceive us. If those profiles were contrived for other purposes, it would be very obvious. The sincerity factor would disappear.

I caution that the issue isn’t to pitch or promote your product/service at every opportunity – though sincere, it lacks authenticity. I believe that along with participation, transparency, and authenticity, sincerity is an important element of marketing and PR.

What do you think? 

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