Last Thursday was a special day for me. Not only did I turn 50 years of age (how did THAT happen btw??), but I got to spend the day at the annual Maryland Chapter Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)’s Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Conference…an opportunity to network, meet media and attend panel discussions and lectures on all sorts of PR topics, which nowadays, is heavily social-media-video focused.
Case in point, the “From the Corporate Media Trenches: 4 Things We Learned from Implementing a Centralized Social Media Strategy” with speakers including Rachel DiCaro Metscher, Director of Corporate Communications for Hobsons, a company that specializes in the development of educational software.
I found this talk particularly intriguing as while many PR people seem sure that they need to be involved in social media, they’re not exactly sure WHY or HOW…well, yes, you want to be “part of the conversation,” but how does that help achieve your client’s goals?
Ms. Metscher got right to the heart of the matter, emphasizing that before signing up for FACEBOOK or FOURSQUARE or TWITTER or LINKEDIN or PINTEREST or whatever, ask the question, “Why? Why this particular platform? How will having a FACEBOOK page for instance help the client achieve his or her objectives? And who is going to manage it?” If you can’t answer these questions, you’re better off staying out of the social media pool lest you wind up “all wet”!
She recommended performing an audit, what is your company already doing, does it have a facebook page that hasn’t been touched in six months, a blog that hasn’t seen a posting since President Obama’s 2008 inaugural?
Do the appropriate maintenance—update what needs updating, delete what needs deleting. Monitor the conversation, who is saying what? Who is posting what? Are the posts relevant to your target audience?
Other key questions include, who is going to manage your online presence? What are your specific, measurable objectives? “Avoid the rocking chair effect—that’s where you appear to be doing something, but you’re not really getting anywhere,” Metscher said.
One person can’t do it all. You want to have your corporate key players engaged. Everyone who is involved becomes an ambassador for the organization, so be mindful of what is posted.
Metscher also provided an interesting social media guidebook that she utilizes for her client, a “social media style guide,” that explains how to talk about the client and what NOT to say. This would include guidelines to successful blogging, tips on writing style, how to write well, and a “social media response procedure.”
Then, there’s MEASUREMENT. That is, determining whether your social media efforts are providing tangible results.
How to do that? Well, there’s EXPOSURE (how many fans do you have, how many followers), INFLUENCE (Clients talking about you? Media coverage?), ENGAGEMENT (online clicks, likes, shares, wall posts, comments, site visits) and ACTION/CONVERSION (did people buy your product?)
I also attended the “Navigating the Wild Rivers of Web Video” presentation where I learned about programs like FinalCut, iMovie (got to be a Mac lover), AVID, Windows Moviemaker, and Adobe Premiere.
Who will host your video? Well, we all know about YOUTUBE. But there are others as well, like DailyMotion and Vimeo, and what is referred to as “white label” companies like Brightcove. Unlike YOUTUBE where you can only link from one video to another, with a white label like Brightcove, you can provide a link to your website.
YOUTUBE is the host of choice when it comes to GOOGLE searches, but “white labels are getting more attention now on Google searches” according to speaker Barbara Haupt, president of MiniMatters, LLC.
Other fun facts…a human face is more likely to get a “click to view” versus merely words. And a SINGLE face, not a group shot. Why’s that? “You have to consider that more and more people are watching videos on their smartphones, so you’re dealing with tiny screens. The impact of a group image is lost on a small screen,” Haupt said.
The keynote speaker was Amy S. Mitchell, Deputy Director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. I’ll expand upon Ms. Mitchell’s very detailed presentation (today the challenge is creating news for the mobile, i.e. tablet or smartphone, user) and Baltimore Sun Director of Multi-Media, Steve Sullivan’s insights on what makes effective video in my next posting.
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